I have an iPhone with an eSim and physical SIM and therefore 2 different phone numbers.

There is a message thread in Messages that contains messages sent to both of these numbers.

I want to know, when replying to the last message, how do I choose the phone number I am sending from?

The Apple documentation explains how to do this when starting a new message thread for a contact with no chat history:

You can use iMessage or SMS/MMS to send messages with either phone number.* You can switch phone numbers before you send an iMessage or SMS/MMS message. Here’s how:

Open Messages.
Tap the New button, in the top right-hand corner of the screen.
Enter your contact's name.
Tap the current phone number.
Tap the number that you want to use.

However, it is conspicuously quiet about my query. I want to choose the number for sending to a contact with an existing chat history, without deleting prior messages and/or removing SIM phone numbers.


2 Answers 2

  1. Tap on the name in the SMS conversation view.

  2. Tap on the icon Conversation line and change the number

New messages will go from the switched number.

  • Interesting, looks like this is a new feature.
    – alstr
    Commented Nov 2, 2021 at 8:48
  • Is there a way to look at a given message in the chat history to determine what communication channel the exchange happened over? I can pull to the right and see the time the message was sent, how about the email/mobile number? Is that possible?
    – jxramos
    Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 20:51

I’ve been exploring this and it seems its still not possible.

A few possibly helpful notes/workarounds:

  • Clicking on the number at the top, and selecting “info,” text will be displayed that says “Using Primary/Secondary for this conversation.” That at least tells you which number is being used, but its not clickable or changeable.
  • There is a workaround for changing which number you iMessage from (does not apply to SMS/MMS texts): Go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive. Uncheck the number you are currently iMessaging from to disable it in the “You can receive iMessages and reply from” list, and check the number you would like to iMessage from under “Start new conversations from.” Go back to Messages, and send a message to the contact/conversation you would like to switch numbers on. The first may go through as an SMS from your switched number, but after that iMessage should be re-enabled. After you’ve sent one iMessage on a thread from the correct number you would like to use, go back to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive and re-enable all lines as you would like them. Conversations will continue to use the last number you set. Repeat this unfriendly process whenever you need.
  • I don’t know of any workaround for SMS/MMS other than deleting the entire conversation history. If you delete the entire history with that contact, it will show up as a new conversation, and you can choose which number to initiate that conversation from.
  • Hopefully Apple makes this easier soon
  • 1
    Confirms what I was thinking. I need this to work for SMS more than iMessage, and deleting the entire message thread just to change number seems unappealing when there is potentially important information in that thread. I could screenshot or back up the messages on a computer, but at the same time, Apple could just implement what really should be standard functionality.
    – alstr
    Commented Apr 2, 2021 at 14:53

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