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If a person adds a new e-mail account to imessage would it then come up as a different thread or contact in my iPhone?

I received a message today from somebody I imessage and text daily, today when they imessaged it came up as a completely new text and an email address instead of a continuation of old conversation as it normally does, does this mean it is coming from a new phone number using e-mail account for messaging?

are there any other possibilities as to why this would occur?

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You're most likely correct - they're sending from a different address/number than before. I've had this happen with friends who got a new iPhone and set up their iCloud account for iMessage, but the phone number didn't activate properly (which happens at times).

It's not obvious, but you can check which address a contact is sending from by scrolling to the top of a thread in Messages, and clicking the Contact > button. The contact card will display with the sending address in blue. (*edit: the "Contact" button is only available when that particular contact is using a phone number, not an email address, for iMessage.)

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Thanks for the answer, would the same happen if I was previously just using a number for imessaging and then added an e-mail address to the iPhone and started using that instead of the number for imessaging with no changes to number or phone. anybody know? – hmmm Dec 2 '12 at 23:21

Please, check if that new phone number is in your address book. I found that having all iMessage numbers and emails in the same contact card solves this issue.

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