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Me and a friend have Mountain Lion and iPhone with IOS 6. When I launch Messages on Mac, I have to select either his email or phone number to send a message. I don't get this. Why do I have to select one or another?

The worst thing is that both have different behaviors: selecting email will tend to deliver to his computer before the phone while selecting phone number will tend to deliver first on the phone and generally doesn't go to the computer.

I don't understand that if it shows him as able to iMessage on both iPhone and Mac, why do I have to select the destination source?

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This is a great question that I have wondered myself. Unfortunately, I think the answer is, "That's the way Apple made it." – woz Nov 12 '12 at 14:32
up vote 2 down vote accepted

First of all iOS 6 and Mountain Lion have the ability to combine phone number and Apple ID to use iMessage, but it seems like you haven't activated it.

Have it separated comes from older versions and also gives you kind of a fallback mode when there is no internet connection available. If you send an iMessage via Apple ID and your partner "on the other side of the conversation" had no connection, the message would not be send. Using the phone number you still have/had the ability to resend it as SMS.

Now, if you want to combine your Apple ID and your phone number, open the prefs on your iOS device, go to the messages section, choose "send & receive" and check both your Apple ID and the phone number. Also set the application to start all conversations from your phone number.

Now, do the same on your Mac. Open the prefs in iMessage on the Mac, go to accounts, choose your iMessage account and check both, your phone number and your Apple ID. Set the application to start new conversations from the phone number.

iMessage preferences

Now, your streams should be combined from now on (old conversation will stay separated).

Of course in case of connection problems sending a SMS from the Mac is not possible within iMessages.

To your question why you have different possibilities to send the message: Well, because he/she has different contacting possibilities (and technologies - you can sent SMS to the number instead of an iMessage). But they also have the ability to combine their number and ID what should also give them one single stream.

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Thank you cyphorious, I didn't have my phone number on this windows and the option "Neue Konversationen starten von" didn't appear. So I added my phone number using the "E-Mail hinzufügen" option (that's weird!). Now I think I'll start to receive messages sent to my phone more frequently (I only received sometimes). Why do you use your phone to start new conversations? To have the option to use SMS? I think everything could be integrated, if the person can't be accessed via internet and has a phone number, then it would give the option to send SMS. I don't want to chose how he will receive. – Roberto Nov 14 '12 at 12:46
Yes, I use the phone number option to able to resend as SMS if something goes wrong with the internet connection. Also if the person answers it will always at least reach my mobile phone. In sense of workflow I guess you are right: it would be more comfortable if one does not have to choose to which address/number you send your message. But if this person has also combined everything it doesn't matter. So I always send to the number so I don't have to know if the person has iMessage or not. – cyphorious Nov 15 '12 at 10:14

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