How to stop your personal iMessages from going to a shared iPad

Personal iMessages going to a shared iPad? Here's how to fix it!

Shared iPads are commonplace in many households. While the kids use it to play games, the adults may use it to store recipes, check sports scores, and more. Depending on whose Apple ID was used to set up the iPad initially, you may find that someone's iMessages are showing up on the shared iPad, which may not be desirable for many. Depending on your particular situation, there are a few ways to solve this problem. So you can choose what's best for you and your family, we'll walk you through each one!

Option 1: Deactivate iMessage on the iPad

The easiest solution to stopping private iMessages from showing up on a shared iPad is to completely deactivate iMessage. This means messages will stop altogether and none of the addresses you use for iMessage will be able to be used. The down side to this is that you won't be able to send messages at all from the shared iPad. If that's okay with you, complete the steps below and you're done. If you'd rather be able to send messages, just not intertwine them with someone else's personal account, continue on for more options.

  1. Launch the Settings app on the shared iPad.
  2. Tap on Messages.
  3. Turn Off iMessage.

Option 2: Exclude your phone number from iMessage

If you want to be able to send and receive iMessages on the iPad, you can always choose to exclude messages that are specifically sent to someone's phone number, presumably their iPhone. You'll need to complete two steps in order to do this, and also consider that if someone sends that person an iMessage to their email, it will show up on the shared iPad too. This is something you can't currently stop from happening. But you can help prevent it with the following steps:

  1. Launch the Settings app on the shared iPad.
  2. Tap on Messages.
  3. Tap on Send & Receive.
  4. Uncheck the person's phone number under the first section.
  5. Now be sure that under the Start New Conversations From section, one of the email addresses listed are selected, not the phone number associated with that Apple ID.
  6. Launch the Settings app on that particular person's iPhone now.
  7. Tap on Messages.
  8. Tap on Send & Receive.
  9. Make sure only the phone number is selected in both sections.

While the above method isn't completely foolproof, it should result in you only creating and receiving iMessages associated with your actual phone number. It should work for most folks but for those who want an even more foolproof method, check out option 3.

Option 3: Add an email alias for iMessage use

If you want to be sure that the shared iPad only receives messages that are specifically intended for it, you can always add an email alias to your existing Apple ID that you'll only use specifically for the shared iPad. This is a good option if you want to be able to send messages inside your family and don't mind using someone's existing ID to make that possible without too much effort.

In order to add another email to your Apple ID, you can follow our guide on adding additional email addresses.

Just like other methods, if someone outside your family knows that particular email, it won't keep them from sending messages to it. If you want a completely foolproof way to be able to send messages on the shared iPad without invading anyone's privacy, continue on to option 4.

4. Create a new Apple ID

The only way to be sure that no one's privacy is invaded on a shared iPad is to create an Apple ID just for that iPad that everyone has access to. Only share that Apple ID with the people that you want to be able to send messages with from the shared iPad. It's also a good idea to make sure that they know it's on a shared device.

There are also other benefits of creating an Apple ID for use on a shared device. One of the biggest ones is that if you use iCloud to back up your shared iPad, you won't be eating into anyone's storage plan and the iPad will get its own. For some folks, that may be reason enough to create a new Apple ID.

How do you message on a shared iPad?

If you have a shared iPad in your home, how do you handle iMessage? Do you use any of the solutions outlined above or something else? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

Personal iMessages going to a shared iPad? Here's how to fix it!


Only some flavors of Android do.. and it's not all the great.. flaky, and many apps end up sharing the same data anyway and don't support multiple profiles.. If Apple does it, I'd certainly would hope it works better than it does on Android.

If I delete all messages on the phone, they are still on the iPad, iPad mini, and MacBook. You would think that cleaning out conversations on the phone, would be easy to auto clear on all your devices. If you have not done it in a wile, it eats up memory. Yes, if a family member is using the iPad, they could clean out my messages. Another fix would be a password to enter iMessage. A simple 4 digit code like your lock screen, or you have to use Touch ID to open the program. That really would be nice. These features would be nice, and could be done.

Sent from the iMore App

Doesn't #4 mean that shared iPad won't have access to iTunes purchases (music, movs, apps)? That's why we use same Apple ID on all I-devices (except my wife's phone).

Presumably family sharing might solve this issue, but we haven't set it up yet. Is it worth it?

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