How to set up iMessage on Mac

MacBook Air 2022 lifestyle photos
(Image credit: Karen S. Freeman)

Messages let you communicate with friends, family, and coworkers across various platforms, including Apple's iMessage and SMS and services from Google, Yahoo, and AOL. But if you're new to the Mac or have never set up Messages, you might wonder how to get started with the app. Follow these simple steps and learn how to set up iMessage on Mac.

How to set up iMessage on Mac

  1. Launch Messages from your desktop, dock, or Applications folder. The Messages app will default use your Apple ID to log you in. Enter your Apple ID email address and password if that doesn't happen.
  2. Click on Messages in the Menu bar
  3. Click on Preferences.
  4. Click on the iMessage tab.

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  1. Select the phone number and email addresses you would like to be reached.
  2. Choose which phone number or email address people will see when you start a new conversation.

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How to set up Messages in iCloud in macOS

Messages in iCloud keep both your iMessages and standard SMS in sync between one of the best Macs and your iOS devices and lets you download your messages when you set up a new device.

  1. Open Messages from your desktop, dock, or Applications folder.
  2. Click on Messages in the Menu bar
  3. Click on Preferences.
  4. Click on the iMessage tab.

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  1. Click the checkbox next to Enable Messages on iCloud.
  2. Click the Sync Now button to sync immediately.

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Get chatting

And that's how you turn on iMessage sync and iMessage in general on Mac. Of course, to fully take advantage of Messages in iCloud, you'll also need to turn it on for any iOS or iPadOS devices you own. With iMessage, you can send regular messages back that include stickers, GIFs, and much more. Enjoy. 

Update July 2022: Updated for the latest version of macOS.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.