Use Messages with your Mac

Messages is the text-messaging software included with your Mac. Use it to send messages from iMessage or other messaging services.



With Messages for Mac, you can send unlimited messages to any Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that uses iMessage, Apple's secure-messaging service. It also supports several other messaging services that work with Apple and non-Apple devices. iPhone owners can use it for SMS and MMS messages, too.

Set up iMessage

iMessage is the Apple messaging service you get automatically with your Apple ID. If it's not already set up, you're asked to sign in when you first open the Messages app. Sign in with same Apple ID that you use with Messages on your iPhone and other devices. It's usually the same Apple ID that you use for iCloud, the iTunes Store, the App Store, and the account you created when you first set up your Mac.

To add a third-party messaging service, choose Add Account from the Message menu. Then choose an account provider and follow the onscreen instructions from that provider.

To disable a messaging service or change its settings, choose Preferences from the Messages menu, then click Accounts.

Have a conversation

  1. Click  at the top of the Messages window.

  2. Address your message by typing the recipient's name, email address, or phone number. Or click plus sign and choose a recipient. If they're in your Contacts app, Messages finds them as you type. To start a group conversation, just add more recipients.

  3. Type your message in the field at the bottom of the window, then press Return to send it.
    • To include emoji, click.
    • To include an image or other file, just drag or paste it into the message field.
    • To include an audio recording, clickand record your message.
  4. After starting a conversation, click Details in the corner of the window to take other actions, including:
    • Choose not to be disturbed by notifications about this conversation.
    • Use FaceTime to start an audio call  or video call  .
    • Share a screen  .
    • See the recipient's location—if they're sharing their location with you.
    • Review all of the photos and files that were exchanged in the conversation.
    • Add a group name, add members to a group, or leave a group. If the group has four or more members, you can remove members: Control-click the member's name, then choose Remove from Conversation.

With macOS Sierra, you can also use Siri to send, read, and reply to Messages. For example, you can tell Siri:

  • ”Send a message to Susan and Johnny saying I'll be late," or ”Tell Johnny Appleseed the show is about to start,” or ”Text a message to 408 555 1212.”
  • ”Read the last message from Brian Park,” or ”Read my new messages.”
  • ”Reply that's great news,” or ”Tell him I'll be there in 10 minutes.”

Add a Tapback to a message

macOS Sierra introduces Tapback to the Mac. A Tapback is a quick response that expresses what you think about a message, such as that you like it or think it's funny. In the image above, the heart next to ”See you then!" is a Tapback. Here's how to do it: 

  1. Control-click a message bubble to open a shortcut menu.
  2. Choose Tapback from the menu.
  3. Click a Tapback to add it to the message bubble. 

Your Tapback is visible to everyone in the conversation who is using iMessage with macOS Sierra or iOS 10. Other iMessage users see "Liked" or "Laughed at" or "Emphasized," for example, followed by the text of that message. 

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch also have Tapback, as well as other message effects that are available only on those devices. Most such affects look the same on your Mac when you receive them. Others appear as a description of the effect, such as ”(sent with Loud Effect).”

Send text messages to anyone from your Mac

If you have an iPhone with an active celluar plan, you can set up Messages to send and receive SMS and MMS messages from your Mac. Such messages don't require the recipient to be using iMessage or an Apple device.

  1. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive. Add a check to your phone number and email address.
  2. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Messages > Text Message Forwarding, then choose to allow your Mac to send and receive text messages from this iPhone. 
  3. Check your Mac for a verification code, then enter that code on your iPhone.

To get all of your iMessage and SMS/MMS messages on all of your Apple devices, you can set up the SMS and MMS feature of Continuity.

Learn more

  • To learn more about Messages, choose Messages Help from the Help menu in Messages.
  • If you get an error when trying to activate or sign in to iMessage, learn what to do.

FaceTime is not available in all countries or regions.


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