Poll: How many of your friends and family use iMessage?

Apple shocked a lot of us back in 2010 when they announced iMessage, probably none more than the carriers who for years changed an absolutely obscene amount of money to send short text messages to and fro. When Apple made iMessage free (except for the data change, if you were on cellular) that carrier gouging was put to an end -- presuming everyone you texted used iOS. But is that the case? Do enough of your friends, family, colleagues, and contacts use iMessage to really put the kibosh on SMS?

For me it's still a very mixed bag. Some of my friends use iPhones, so iMessage is easy. Many of my family and the people I work with still don't even use smartphones, let alone iPhones, so iMessage is a non-starter. Also, with the just-released OS X Mountain Lion, Apple has brought iMessage back to the Mac, and you can quickly send and receive texts, pictures, locations, and contacts right on your computer. It's really fast, but it's also messy. Right now my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air are all in a constant race to see which can beep and buzz first and most often.

iOS 6 promises to make some things better, letting us combine our phone numbers and Apple IDs, so at least we won't have to wonder which message is going to which device any more.

But that still leaves us stuck on the old SMS system for all our Windows, Android, BlackBerry, and other non-iOS or OS X using friends and family, with no real future in sight. (Because the odds of Apple creating iMessage clients for those platforms are about the same as the odds of them putting a keyboard and kickstand on the next iPhone...)

So given all that, when you're typing away on Messages all day, are most of the ones you send and receive good old iMessage blue, or cold hard carrier cash green? Do most of the people you text with have iMessage, or do most of them not? Hit the poll up top and then give me the details in the comments below!

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Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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Reader comments

Poll: How many of your friends and family use iMessage?


I hardly use iMessage at all. But that doesn't mean that SMS is the norm. I almost exclusively use Whatsapp to communicate with my android or blackberry friends. I find whatsapp far more useful than iMessage and a lot like blackberry messenger (which, I must admit, is a really great messaging solution).
So that's a no vote for me since I practically don't use iMessage at all but I don't use SMS either.

Most of my family don't have an iPhone because either they can't afford one or they don't see the point in getting one.

This could be easily solved by Apple from an iPhone user's perspective.

Receive a regular SMS on your phone, phone then relays it over iMessage so the rest of your devices get it too. Reply to it on your Mac/iPad/iPodT, message is then sent over iMessage back to your phone, which then again relays it over the SMS network.

This is the single sanest thing I have read in a while. That is truly a wonderful idea I hope more people send to Apple as a suggestion. I know I've been doing just that for quite a while now. Glad to know I'm not the only one who likes that system.

In my case it's 80% iMessage, 10% WhatsApp, 10% SMS. I used to pay $15 for unlimited SMS, now I have a $5 package that gives me 500 sent/received text/picture/video messages per month and so far that has been more than enough. Take that Robellus!

I recently turned iMessage off. Kept missing messages that went to my iPad instead of my iPhone. Regardless, I feel that iMessage should a separate install, and work as the IM app that it is, rather than mixing it in with the Messages app.

Also, I discovered that when setting up a new iPhone or iPad, once-deleted historical iMessage conversations re-appear. When a SMS or MMS message is deleted, it's gone. iMessages apparently linger on a server somewhere and unexpectedly return.

As an example, almost a year ago my friend was having personal issues with their spouse. When things were at their worst, I was the recipient of a few texts, which I answered. That conversation thread was deleted, until months later when her iPhone broke, she got a replacement, and when her husband was helping her set it up, that conversation was resurrected from the grave.

I much prefer knowing that when I'm in Messages, I'm working with SMS and MMS only, and don't have to think about it. I do wish there were a separate IM app for iMessage as there are times when the 160 character limit is less than ideal.

1) You could just disable iMessage on your iPad to avoid missing messages on your phone while away from you iPad.

2) iMessage automatically detects whether the person ur sending the text to is using an iOS device an has iMessage turn on, if not then it'll automatically send a text if it's a non iOS phone. To be honest, I never had to think about it because iMessages are in blue and regular text messages are in green.

Well since my unlimited text/pictures/video add-on isn't serperate and is integrated into my voice plan (data is separate 6GB for $30), it really doesnt matter because I have a descent plan with Rogers and all their voice plans already include unlimited messaging. So in the end it doesn't really matter to me whether it's a text message or an iMessage as it won't make a difference. And to answer your other question Georgia, its a mix for me too. Some have blackberries and some have iPhones so I must have an SMS plan either way because not everyone is rocking an iPhone and I meet new people almost every day with different smartphones.

Only one person i know uses it. And we rarely text.

You're going to pay either way. If they need $X to make a profit, but lose text revenue they'll just raise rates. Your $80 bill will go to $90. I mean i'm only paying $5 extra for unlimited texting anyways. It's hasn't been a big deal to me since i first got text messaging and only had 500 a month for $3.

to be honest i don't care what service they use. "iMessage" isn't something overly special. I type a text and hit send. I don't care what pipe it goes through. I'm paying for texting either way. And that's not changing. Because If you don't want to pay to have messaging they simply won't offer a data package without it. But then they'll require a data package to have a phone forcing you to buy it. Or again they'll say fine don't pay for messaging but we're raising data fees across the board.

I used to keep iMessage off as I prefer at least using my unlimited texting that I pay for and I like to keep cell data off so I naturally gravitate to SMS and just leave iMessage off. Keeps things simple. This system worked flawlessly and kept me sane.

However, when I updated to iOS 6, Apple combined my phone number and email (as they said they would) and it was unimportant as iMessage was off. One thing led to another and I turned iMessage on to send an MMS (since it's still broken in iOS 6 on iPhone 4 on AT&T D:< ) and now if I turn iMessage off, I simply don't receive texts. Now, all texts sent to my phone number stay in iMessage and I am required to leave iMessage on, lest I not receive anything. I am really excited to see if Apple provides a way to disassociate the phone number and email as I am currently going a little crazy.

In addition, iMessage activation (for phone number, not email) fails every time in Beta 3. So ironically, if a text is sent to my phone number it will be received by every device but my phone. Just a little concerning ಠ_ಠ Ok. Just had to get that out there, sorry for the rant.

Just use Whatsapp to avoid SMS-or-IM-all-in-the-same-boat issues and not to worry about what kind of phone friends are using.

The poll totally omit the use of other non-sms chat apps such as Line or WhatsApp, which work almost every platforms. So although almost no one use iMessage, it doesn't mean carriers is still enjoying sms revenue. I rarely use iMessage but I can't remember the last time I paid for SMS, since nearly every friends and customers of me are using smartphones.

Half my friends use iPhone, half use Android.

So I use KakaoTalk. iMessage is worthless in the real world.

And so, unfortunately, is this poll.

I would need an additional Poll Choice: most of my friends do not have iDevices. But we also do not use SMS. We mostly use WhatsApp. Every Blackberry buddy (as a lot of friends are in Indonesia, where blackberry rules still) has Whatsapp. Every iphone friend has whatsapp. so it is the way for us to go: 99% WhatApp regardless of their phone. But for video, if we both have facetime, we use that, otherwise, skype.

The poll needs another option for "All my friends who have iPhones/iPads." All of those people use iMessage. Anytime I see the blue color in the text message screen I know it's an iMessage instead of an SMS message and I assume they're using an iPhone.

Georgia, you forgot an option for None. I don't use it and I don't know anyone who does. So I selected Almost None because it was the only option available.

I was never addicted to text messages, so it's not a huge impact for me. However, most of my friends have an iPhone or Mac, so I'll use Messages to send them notes. Right now, I'm on an island with horrible cell coverage. A friend tried to call me and it dropped. I have WiFi, so a quick note from Messages was a cheap & easy way to get in touch.

None for me - everyone I know still texts, but then in the UK, free texts are the norm. I don't think this will last though - as tech evolves and more people have multiple mobile devices, they don't want their communication to be tied to a single device or even a SIM card. I think the next few years will see the decline of SMS, being replaced with services like iMessage, that deliver your message to all your devices.

imessage is great and awesome between idevices, but unfortunately, doesn't do squat for communicating with android, windows phone, BB's or even dumbphones...