Use Messages with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

Learn the difference between iMessage and SMS/MMS, and how to use the Messages app to send texts, photos, and videos.

About iMessage and SMS/MMS

You can use iMessage or SMS/MMS on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

iMessages are texts, photos, or videos that you send to iOS devices and Macs over Wi-Fi or cellular-data networks. These messages appear in blue text bubbles. To turn iMessage on or off, go to Settings > Messages.


If you aren’t using iMessage, you can use SMS. SMS/MMS messages are texts and photos that you send to other cell phones or iOS devices. These messages appear in green text bubbles on your device.

To use SMS/MMS, you need a text-messaging plan. Contact your carrier for more information.

If Wi-Fi is unavailable, iMessages will be sent over cellular data. Carrier cellular data fees might apply.

Send a message

  1. Open the Messages app and tap  Compose button.
  2. Enter a phone number or email address, or tap  Plus button and choose a contact.
  3. Type your message, then tap Send.

When sending a message, you can include photos, videos, or audio messages. You can also use emoji (emoticons).

Forward a message

Open Messages and follow these steps:

Touch and hold the message bubble you’d like to forward. Then tap More.

Tap   and enter a contact.

Delete a message or conversation

To delete a message, follow these steps:

  1. In Messages, touch and hold the message bubble you’d like to delete, then tap More.
  2. Tap  . If you’d like to delete all messages in the thread, tap Delete All.

To delete a conversation, open Messages and swipe right to left on the conversation. Then tap Delete. You can also open Messages and tap Edit. Then tap   next to the conversation and tap delete. 

Deleting messages and conversations is permanent.

Store messages

You can keep messages forever, for one year, or for 30 days. Pick a setting under Settings > Messages > Keep Messages. When messages are deleted after a set date, their attachments are also deleted.

Mute conversations

To stop receiving message notifications, you can mute conversations. In the Messages app, tap Details and turn on Do not Disturb.

Find attachments from a conversation

Open the conversation and tap Details in the upper-right corner. You'll see the attachments at the bottom of the screen, with the newest attachments at the top. 

You can tap the attachment to open it. Or you can touch and hold it to show options like Copy, Delete, and More.

Learn more

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