Messages shows the email of the person I am sending to instead of their phone number on some contacts. Why is it picking the email up for some contacts and the number for others

  • 1
    Could you provide a few more details? Is this on your phone or your Mac. Apr 29, 2018 at 12:55
  • 1
    How do you have Settings > messages > send & receive > “start new messages from” set? Is it your phone number? Or email? If it’s not your phone number change it to that. Some people’s messaging apps may be carrying on email conversations instead of text.
    – Tyson
    Apr 30, 2018 at 1:14

1 Answer 1


A single contact entry in your iPhone may have one or more email address, phone number or both listed.

People using iPhone are logged in with their Apple ID which requires an email address to create. The phone number of the iPhone gets linked to the Apple ID. However, Apple ID can be used to login into Mac or an iPad as well. It's also possible that a person is using a Mac or iPad and not having an iPhone, in which case the phone number doesn't get linked with Apple ID.

Messages app on iPhone gives priority to iMessage over SMS (if the recipient's email/phone number is registered with Messages). The Messages app displays the email address of the recipient if it's an Apple ID. The message can be sent as an iMessage.

In your case, its possible that the contact has only email address available and it's an Apple ID registered with Messages. If the contact also has a phone number saved, it will be listed and SMS can be sent to it.

  • Thanks. The people I am trying to message are android users so, from your answer, I don’t understand why messages is picking up their email rather than phone numbers.
    – Nigel T
    Apr 29, 2018 at 11:32
  • Is the email address shown in blue?
    – Nimesh Neema
    Apr 29, 2018 at 11:39
  • 2
    If it is blue, it means it is using Apple's iMessage. Green means it's using standard SMS or MMS from your mobile network. Apr 29, 2018 at 12:48

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