I recently updated to iOS5, One of my friends messaged me through iMessage, the sender name was his @gmail.com address.

The message appeared in a seperated thread to the existing SMS messages I had with him previously.

I added his mail address to the contact I already had with him, however I cannot get the iMessage thread to merge with the SMS thread.

I have tried deleting the iMessage thread with no result.

If I open the SMS thread, it will only send SMS. If I open the iMessage thread, it will only send iMessages.

Is there a solution to let me merge these two conversations?

Phone is an iPhone 4G 16GB.

  • Do you have his phone number and his GMail address in the same contact card in your addressbook?
    – johnsyweb
    Commented Oct 14, 2011 at 2:55

5 Answers 5


iMessage threading is a total mess. I have an iPhone 4 and an iPad 2, both with iOS5. So does my brother. Not including regular SMS messages sent/received with iOS4, I now have three different threads of messages from him on my iPhone, seemingly depending on which device the message was sent/received on. I have two on the iPad, but these don't correspond exactly to any two from the iPhone.

I understand that iMessage (like FaceTime) can only address contacts by email address on a WiFi-only iPad, and can address by both email and phone number from an iPhone, but these all resolve to the same Apple ID on the server, and to the same contact on the device. Surely it should be possible to merge these conversations, either on the server (by Apple ID) or on the device (by contact).

Perhaps a fix will appear in a future iOS update but for now this rather takes the edge off an otherwise cool new feature.

  • This is part of the feature, iMessage knows which device has sent the message so will reply to that device, however it would be better if messages were just sent to he could and sent to all devices. Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 8:01

I can imagine this might happen if he doesn't have an iPhone but does have an iPod Touch or an iPad.

So when you send him an SMS it goes to his non-Apple phone (or non-iOS5 Apple phone) and when you send him an iMessage he receives it on an iPad or iPod Touch which is running iOS5

iMessage is associated with an Apple ID. So if your friend has several iOS5 devices, his iMessages from you will be received on each device, however regular SMS will only go to his phone. If his phone is running a version of iOS preceding iOS5 (or isn't an iPhone) he won't receive iMessages on it and the threads will never merge on your phone because they're sent on two separate devices by your friend.

  • 2
    Message threads are split based on where they were sent, ie. email or number. There is no currently no way to merge them. Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 19:22
  • He has an iPhone 4 with iOS5. I have conversations with OTHER people where SMS and iMessage are merged, it's just this conversation. Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 20:49
  • If you're both on iOS5 and you both have the correct phone numbers stored for one another then the only explanation is that it's a bug. There's no way to manually merge the conversations because as far as your phone is concerned, they are from two different people. Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 21:01
  • Are all your outgoing SMS messages to your friend green in color? Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 21:30
  • Yep, if I reply to the iMessage thread though, they are blue! Weird! Commented Oct 14, 2011 at 16:23

My girlfried had a similar issue, when I checked the iMessage settings page the 'receive as' setting showed an error for her number and was defaulting to her gmail (I assume this occurred when the gmail address was added when she used facetime on her iMac). I simply turned iMessage off and back on again and it seems to have resolved the problem.


I had this exact problem. I would attempt to iMessage someone and he got my iMessages just fine in our usual text thread. But when he would iMessage me back, I would get them in a brand new, separate thread. Finally what I did was just DELETE his email from my Contacts that was associated with his new iMessage thread, and viola. All of his messages, texts and otherwise, came to his old thread from then on.

I haven't re-added his email yet.. I'm frankly a little nervous to do so. Hope this helps.

  • 1
    That seems quite illogical, well done Apple!
    – Jonathan.
    Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 8:05
  • @ Andrew: I tried your suggestion, but it didn't work: even after deleting the email address I had two separate threads. After adding the email address again, still the same.
    – user12401
    Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 7:17

An iPhone keeps a record of the phone number of the SIM card inside it. However it isn't very reliable. Things like changing your phone number but keeping the same SIM can mess it up - for example when you get a new contract and SIM but then get your old phone number pOrted across.

FaceTime and iMessage both use this record of your phone number. You can check the number by: - opening the Phone app - clicking the Contact tab at the bottom - scrolling UP the list of contacts (not DOWN) - it'll reveal a line of text that says "My Number:" and shows the phone number the iPhone THINKS you have.

If the iPhone has the wrong number you can fix it by turning both iMessage and FaceTime off at the same time in Settings and them turning them both on. The My Number should then magically update with the correct number.

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