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In Messages.app, if a user sends you an iMessage from their phone number, it'll start a thread that's tied to their phone number, and not their identity as a contact. Subsequently, if you start an iMessage through a share sheet to their e-mail address, it'll start a new thread that's tracked as a separate conversation in Messages. It results in a discordant and confusing experience as you see multiple instances of the same person in your Messages list, but with each major iOS version, figuring out which e-mail/phone that thread is tied to has become more obscure (and sometimes not discoverable at all in iOS 10).

Is there any trick to merging/combining/unifying iMessage threads with different e-mail addresses or phone numbers for a single contact? This bites my contacts all the time because I travel internationally and change SIM cards a lot, so I have to switch back and forth between messaging from my main phone number and my e-mail address.

Separately, has anyone speculated on why Apple has stuck with this shoddy UX for so many years now? It seems to me that it's a security measure, in case a single contact card erroneously had an incorrect e-mail address or phone number, two different people could contribute to the same message thread. I understand that'd be bad, but that's such an extreme edge case compared to the norm of seeing my spouse or brother show up twice in my message list that I'd gladly make the trade-off.

  • I am seeing this lately too... I have two threads of one person on my iPhone / Messages. Very confusing. I have no idea how to solve it. But I have seen some people who suggest that it's not related to the receipt address being two different ones, it's them sending to two different of your addresses. But I have no way of confirming in the Messages app what of my addresses (yes I have several connected to my iCloud account, including my cell phone number) that other person sent to. – Jonny Jan 16 '18 at 2:08
  • And oh by the way I am very sure that the other person in my case only has one device with which to send me messages. My wife only has an iPhone these days. No computer :-P Which means we both only have single iPhone to iPhone communication. And still, at least I, have two different threads for one contact. – Jonny Jan 16 '18 at 2:13

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