One of the new features of Mountain Lion is the fact that one can sync iMessages across iOS and OSX devices.

I would really like to have a thread that I start on my iPhone automatically sync to my Mac and iPad so I can reply easily from either device. I do understand that SMS text messages will not sync, and only iMessages.

This question applies to iOS 6 and Mountain Lion devices as I am running an iPhone 4S and 3rd Gen iPad with iOS 6 and a Macbook Pro with Mountain Lion (OSX 10.8).

How can I enable this feature so that my iMessages stay in sync across all my devices?


iOS 6 combines your phone number with your Apple ID email address, which makes it possible for others to iMessage your phone number and have those Messages sync across your devices. Whereas, previously, with iOS 5, one had to use Apple ID email addresses only in order for it to sync across devices.

First, you need to make sure all your devices are on the same Apple ID.

On each iOS device (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, iPad Mini):

  1. Open Settings.app
  2. Go to "Messages" and make sure iMessage is On.
  3. If iMessage is on, "Send & Receive" will appear below it. Tap on it.
  4. Make note of the Apple ID at the top of the page.
  5. Select your phone number and email address(es) that you want to sync to that device.

On each Mountain Lion Mac:

  1. Open Messages
  2. Click Messages -> Preferences
  3. Click the "Accounts" tab in the top.
  4. Select your iMessage/Apple ID account, and make sure "Enable this account" is checked.
  5. Select your phone number and any email address(es) that you would like synced.

The most important part is that everything is consistent across all devices that are necessary.

Note that only new iMessages will sync - history will not.

If you are still having trouble getting new iMessages to sync across the devices try:

  1. Disabling then re-enabling iMessage on each device that isn't being synced to.
  2. Delete all your previous conversations: Some people have reported that they had to delete all of their conversations before things would sync up.
  3. Make sure you have your phone number added to your Apple ID account online.
  • 3
    this is just way to complicated for a simple task like this… Are less steps possible for setting up new devices? – user58036 Sep 25 '13 at 1:50
  • 2
    Yep, it's actually all very easy and simple. The answer above is comprehensive, therefore it looks harder/longer. Just sign into your Apple ID on your iOS/OSX device and make sure iMessage is on. The rest just happens. – bassplayer7 Sep 25 '13 at 13:33
  • 3
    Except when it doesn't. – daniels Dec 9 '16 at 10:45
  • 1
    And, FYI, history will sync in iOS 11/macOS High Sierra, IIRC. – Harv Aug 8 '17 at 19:08

I am on iOS 10.3.1 and macOS Sierra 10.12.3. I need to setup Messages in macOS using https://support.apple.com/kb/HT202549. In iPhone, the settings that allowed me to sync is in Settings > Messages > Send & Receive. I have to login my Apple ID here.

  • 2
    thanks great answer! is it possible to sync history too? – Tamas Kalman Apr 25 '17 at 19:27
  • 2
    I was replacing an old phone with a new one. iMessage didn't work until I disabled and then reenabled "iMessage" switch in Settings > Messages - for some reason, this forced it to reconnect to the mac. – Kristen Waite May 16 '17 at 21:48

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protected by Community Sep 25 '13 at 1:51

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