Send messages with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

With the Messages app, you can send messages to anyone using SMS/MMS or iMessage. Here are answers to frequently asked questions about sending, deleting, and using Messages.

What's the difference between SMS/MMS and iMessage?

SMS/MMS lets you send text messages and photos to other cell phones or devices. iMessage lets you send text messages, photos, and videos to other iOS devices or Macs over Wi-Fi, without worrying about text-messaging charges (cellular data charges might apply).

What do I need to use SMS/MMS and iMessage?

Here's what you need to use SMS/MMS and iMessage:

  • SMS/MMS: A text-messaging plan. Contact your carrier for more information.
  • iMessage: An iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with a Wi-Fi or cellular data network connection.

How do I turn on iMessage?

Go to Settings > Messages and turn on iMessage.

 iMessage setting

Get help if you can't use your telephone number or Apple ID with iMessage.

How do I send a message?

  1. In Messages, tap  Compose button.
     Messages app
  2. Then enter a phone number or email address, or tap  Plus button and choose a contact.
     New Message
  3. Type in your message, or tap the camera icon to attach a photo or video, or tap  Microphone to send an audio message. Tap Send to finish.

You can send photos, videos, or links directly from many apps by tapping  Share button.

 Safari with Share button

How can I send a message to a group?

To send a message to more than one person at a time, send a group message.

How do I know if my message used SMS/MMS or iMessage?

You can tell which type of message you're sending by the color of the Send button and text bubble.

  • SMS/MMS: Send button and text bubbles are green.
     Green text
  • iMessage: Send button and text bubbles are blue.
     Blue text

Why does my message have a red exclamation mark next to it?

A red exclamation mark appears if your recipient didn't get the message.

 Not delivered message

Tap the exclamation mark to try to send the message again.

How do I forward a message?

  1. To forward a message, tap and hold the message bubble, then tap More.
  2. Tap to select the message you want to forward, then tap  Action arrow and select the person to send it to.

How do I delete a message?

  1. To delete a message, tap and hold the message bubble, then tap More.
  2. Tap Delete All to delete all the messages. Or tap to select the messages you want to delete, then tap  Delete button.

After you delete a message, you can recover it only by restoring from a backup.

How do I delete an entire conversation?

Open the list of conversations. Then swipe from right to left on the conversation you want to delete.

 Delete conversation

You can also tap Edit and then tap  Blue check mark:

 Check marks

After you delete a conversation, you can recover it only by restoring from a backup.

How can I back up my messages?

iOS automatically saves your messages when you back up with iTunes or iCloud. If you ever lose your messages or switch to a new phone, your messages will be restored along with your other information.

What options do I have for keeping messages?

You can keep messages forever, for one year, or for 30 days. Go to Settings > Messages > Keep Messages to make your choice.

Can I email or print my messages instead of forwarding them?

While you can't email or print directly from the Messages app, you can do any of these:

  • Copy and paste the message text into an email and send it.
  • Copy and paste the message text into a note in the Notes app and print it.
  • For long message threads, take a screenshot and then email or print the screenshot from the Photos app.

How do I save a photo from a message?

Tap the photo, then tap  Share button.

How do I send an audio or video message?

Learn how to send an audio or video message with iOS 8 or later.

What can I do about spam or unwanted messages?

If you're getting messages that you don't want, you can block them. You can also report spam.

How can I link my iPhone number with Messages on my iPad, iPod touch, or Messages for Mac?

When you sign in to Messages with your Apple ID on your iPhone, you link your phone number to your Apple ID. If you then sign in to Messages with the same Apple ID on your iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, Messages will link that device to your phone number as well.

Can I turn off notifications for a single conversation?

Yes. To mute notifications for a conversation in iOS 8, tap the conversation, tap Details, and turn on Do Not Disturb.

How do I share my location with someone else?

In iOS 8, tap Details > Share My Location and add a specific length of time. The person you’re messaging with can see where you are by tapping Details. You can also send them a map of your current location—just go to Details > Send My Current Location.

To turn Share My Location on or off, or to select the device that determines your location, go to Settings > iCloud > Advanced > Share My Location.

How can I see all of the attachments for a conversation?

Open the conversation and tap Details. You'll see the attachments at the bottom of the screen, with the newest attachments at the top of the list. Tap the attachment to open it. Tap and hold to bring up additional options, including Copy and Delete.

How do I turn off iMessage?

Go to Settings > Messages and turn off iMessage.

Last Modified:
48% of people found this helpful.

Additional Product Support Information

Start a Discussion

in Apple Support Communities
See all questions on this article See all questions I have asked
United States (English)