How to set up Messages on your Mac

Messages on macOS lets you communicate with friends, family, and coworkers across a variety of different platforms, including Apple's own iMessage, along with SMS and services from Google, Yahoo, and AOL. But if you're new to the Mac or have just never set up Messages, you might be wondering how to get started with the app.

Follow these simple steps, and you'll be chatting with your friends in no time at all.

How to set up Messages on the Mac

  1. Launch Messages from your desktop, dock, or Applications folder.
  2. Enter your Apple ID email address and password. If you have two-step or two-factor authentication turned on for your Apple ID, enter your verification code.
  3. Click on Messages in the Menu bar and select Preferences.

    Enter your ID, open Preferences

  4. Select the Accounts tab.

  5. Select the phone number and email addresses at which you would like to be reached.

    Click Accounts, pick your reachable numbers/addresses

  6. Choose which phone number or email address people will see when you start a new conversation.

    Pick which number/email address will display when you message someone

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac (sadly, no public beta for the Apple Watch). While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That's why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.

How to set up Messages in iCloud in macOS High Sierra

Messages in iCloud keeps your messages in sync between your Mac and your iOS devices, and also lets you download your messages when you set up a brand new device.

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac (sadly, no public beta for the Apple Watch). While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That's why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.

  1. Open Messages.
  2. Click Messages in the Menu bar.

    Open Messages, click Messages

  3. Click Preferences.

  4. Click the Accounts tab.

    Click Preferences, click Accounts

  5. Click on your iMessage account.

  6. Click the check box next to Enable Messages on iCloud.

    Click on iCloud account, click Enable Messages on iCloud

  7. Click the Sync Now button to sync immediately.

    Click Sync Now

And that's how you turn on iMessage sync. Of course, to use it properly, you'll also need to turn it on on an iPhone or iPad running iOS 11.

How to set up Messages in iCloud in iOS 11

You'll need to make sure Messages in iCloud is enabled in iOS 11 so it can sync messages between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap the Apple ID banner.
  3. Tap iCloud.

    Tap Settings, tap Apple ID banner, tap iCloud

  4. Make sure the switch next to Messages is flipped to the green 'On' position.

  5. Tap Apple ID.
  6. Tap Settings.

    Switch on Messages, tap Apple ID, tap Settings

  7. Tap Messages.

  8. Tap Sync Now to immediately sync your message with iCloud.

    Tap Messages, tap Sync Now

Questions?

Let us know in the comments below!

Update August, 2017: Added sections for activating Messages in iCloud in macOS High Sierra and iOS 11.

macOS High Sierra

Main

macOS Sierra