How to Get and Use iMessage on Mac to Send Messages

Enjoy using iMessage on your iPhone or iPad, and want to begin using it on your Mac computer as well, but not sure how to set it up? Or do you have a Mac computer but you’ve never used it before? If you answered yes to either of those questions, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll be showing you how to set up and use iMessage on a Mac.

How to get iMessage on Mac:

1. Click Messages on the Launchpad.

From your app dock or program Launchpad, click on Messages to get started.

Mac Messages app icon

2. Sign in to your Apple ID.

Log in to your Apple ID account using your email address and password.

Apple ID sign in screen

3. In the top left corner, click Messages, then click Preferences.

At the top of your screen in the left corner, you’ll see a menu bar. Click Messages, and then click Preferences from the dropdown menu that appears.

Message Preferences menu

4. Customize your iMessage account settings however you’d like them.

Change up your settings according to your personal preferences.

Customize settings menu

5. Click Accounts to select the phone numbers/email addresses you’d like to use for iMessage.

Click Accounts to access your account settings, and customize them however you’d like.

Select Accounts menu

Those are all the steps to setting up iMessage on a Mac. Now, let’s get into how you can use the program to send messages to your family and friends.

How to use iMessage on Mac

1. Click Messages to launch the program.

Click on the Messages icon on your desktop to open the app.

Launch Messages app on Mac

2. Click the New Conversation icon to start a conversation.

On the left side of the Messages window, click on the New Conversation button to create a new message.

Create new message

3. Type in the contact information of the person you want to message.

Enter the contact information for the person you’d like to message. If you want to start a group message, you can enter more than one person’s information.

Enter contact information for recipient

4. Add a fun emoji if you’d like.

Click the Smiley Face in the bottom right corner to access these fun stickers called “emojis.” Click on one to add it to your message.

Add emoji to your message

5. Hit “Enter” on your keyboard to send it.

You won’t see a “send” button on your screen. To send the message, tap the “Enter” key on your computer keyboard. Once the message has been sent, you’ll see it appear in a blue bubble on the right side of your screen.

Send iMessage on Mac

6. View your conversations on the left.

You can browse through your conversations using the menu panel on the left side of the Messages window. Click on someone’s name to see your conversation with them.

View Messages conversations


That’s all there is to setting up and using iMessage on a Mac computer. We hope you found the information you were looking for! If you’d like to learn more, check out the other tutorials in our iMessage course.

How to Make a Group Chat with iMessage

Want to talk to multiple people at once using iMessage, but not sure how to set up a group coversation? We know that it can be frustrating and time-consuming having to send separate messages to different people, or conveying a message from one person to another. So today, we’ll show you how to make a group chat on your iPhone or iPad using iMessage.

Setting up an iMessage group chat

1. Open iMessage.

Tap the Messages icon to access your messages.

Messages icon on iPhone home screen

2. Tap the New Conversation icon in the top right corner to begin a new conversation.

In the top-right corner, tap the New Conversation button to open a new chat.

Compose new iMessage

3. Type in the phone numbers, email addresses, or names of the people you want to include in your group.

On the next screen, you’ll see a text box at the top. Here, type in the contact information for each person you want to add to your conversation. If you begin typing in the name of one of your saved contacts, you will see it appear below. Tap the contact’s name to add them to your messaging group.

Enter contact information

4. Type your message.

Now, tap the text box lower down on your screen (above your keyboard).

Message text box

5. Tap the blue arrow button to send your message.

When you’re done typing in your message, tap the blue arrow button to send it off to all of the people you included.

Send message to group

6. Set a name for your group.

Once you’ve started a group chat on iMessage, you can add a customized name for it. This name will be visible to all members of your converastion. To set it, tap the "i" button in the top right corner of your chat window.

Customize group by adding a name

Then tap Enter a Group Name, and type in what you’d like it to be. When you’re finished, tap Done.

Save group message name

That’s all you need to do to set up a group chat. There are a few things you should keep in mind when using the multi-person chat feature, so we’re going to cover those now.

Notes about iMessage group chats

1. Remember that all of the members of your group must have an Apple device with iMessage enabled in order for it to work properly.

iMessage comes pre-installed on Apple iOS devices and Mac computers, but is not available for other types of devices. In order for you to be able to include someone in your chat, they have to have an Apple device with iMessage activated. You can learn how to activate it with our tutorial here.

If you go through the process of creating a group message and accidentally include someone who does not have iMessage enabled, your message will be sent to each person individually. Your conversation will not appear as one cohesive chat, and if any of the people included respond to your message, only you will receive their responses – not everyone you tried to include.

2. Keep in mind that whatever you send in a chat will be visible to everyone. Only include people you trust.

Remember that anything you send in your conversation will be visible to all of the members, and once they’ve received it they have the ability to do whatever they like with what you’ve sent. Only engage in group chats with people you know and trust. The other people included in it could potentially screenshot your conversation and share it with others.

3. You can leave a group message at any time.

If you don’t want to be part of a group message anymore, you can leave it if you wish, at any time. Check out this article to learn how to leave one.


That’s everything you need to know about setting up iMessage group chats. There are other helpful tutorials in this course, so check out some others like how to remove yourself from a group message or how to delete messages if you want to learn more. Leave us a comment if you have any questions or suggestions.

How to Send a GIF with iMessage

Have you heard of GIFs? A GIF (graphics interchange format) is an animated image. They’re very popular online right now, and you may have seen them posted on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Recently, Apple introduced a new feature to iMessage that allows you to search for and send GIFs along with your messages from your iOS device (iPhone or iPad). In this tutorial, we’ll be showing you how to search for and send GIFS using iMessage.

To send a GIF with iMessage’s built-in GIF search:

1. Open the messages app on your device.

Tap the Messages icon to access all of your messages.

Apple Messages app icon

2. Start a new conversation.

Tap this icon in the top right corner of your screen to open a new conversation. Then type in the phone number, email address, or name of the person you want to send a message to.

Start a new conversation in Messages

3. Tap the Grey Arrow button to access attachment options.

You’ll see a grey button with an arrow on it above your keyboard. Tap this button to view attachment options.

Messages attachment options

4. Tap the Multimedia icon to access the GIF search feature.

Tap this icon to open the built-in GIF searching feature.

Open built-in GIF search

5. In the search bar, type in a keyword or theme of what you want to send.

Tap the search bar and type in something you’d like to find a GIF of.

GIF search bar

6. Choose a GIF and tap the blue arrow to send it.

Tap a GIF you like to attach it to your message. When you’re ready, tap the blue arrow button above your keyboard to send it.

Attachment send button

You can also find GIFs online on various websites that may not appear in iMessage’s built-in GIF feature. Now, we’ll show you how you can send GIFs from other websites to your friends.

To send a GIF from the Internet:

1. Open your device’s browser.

Tap the Safari icon to access your web browser.

Open Safari browser on iPhone

2. Browse the Internet for GIFs. You can use a search engine or browse a GIF site.

Use a search engine and type in what you’re looking for, or check out a GIF website to find a GIF you’d like to share with your friends. Check out our list of GIF websites below to find some ideas.

Search for GIFs on the Internet

3. Save one to your device.

Hold your finger over a GIF you find online to reveal a “Save” button. Tap Save to save the GIF to your device’s camera roll.

Save GIF file to iPhone camera roll

4. Open iMessage.

Tap the Messages icon to access your messages.

iPhone Messages icon

5. Open a conversation.

Tap the conversation with the person you’d like to send a GIF message to.

Start a new Messages conversation

6. Tap the right arrow to add an attachment.

Beside the text box, you’ll see this icon. Tap it to add an attachment to your message.

Add an attachment to your message

7. Tap the Camera button.

Tap the Camera button to access your device’s camera roll.

iPhone Camera button

8. Tap the GIF on your screen.

Select the GIF you’d like to send. Tap it to attach it to your message.

Select a GIF from your camera roll

9. Send it off.

Tap the blue arrow button to send the GIF to your friend.

Send attachment in Messages button

That’s all you need to do to send a GIF with iMessage. If you’re looking for GIF websites to browse online, here are 5 great GIF websites to check out.

5 great GIF websites:


GIPHY is a GIF database website where you can find tons of fun animated images. It has millions of users and allows you to search for, save, and share GIFs. It’s also free to use! is an awesome site because you can browse GIFS or make your own. You can upload an image or video, or import media from a website or YouTube video. Whether you create your own or find one created by someone else, you can then save it to your device or share them with your friends.


Reddit is a site that allows users to submit all kinds of content – news articles, images, videos, and more. As you can imagine, there is a TON of content to be found on Reddit. Their site has an awesome GIF section where you can find GIFs submitted by Reddit users. You can search for specific topics or themes, or browse the main GIF page to see popular ones.

Reaction GIFs

Reaction GIFs is a website that provides GIFs you can use to respond to something someone has said to you. If you’re looking for a site that will give you great GIFs to send in response to messages from your friends, this could be the one for you!

What Should We Call Me

This web page is actually a Tumblr feed that’s full of GIFs with funny captions. These GIFs frequently reference movies and TV shows, so if you’re into that kind of thing, you should definitely check out What Should We Call Me.


Those are all the steps to sending a GIF through iMessage. Check out our other iMessage tutorials to learn what else you can do with the app. 

How to Send iMessages on iPhone

Want to use iMessage to communicate with your friends and family, but not sure how to send one? In this tutorial, we’ll be showing you step-by-step how you can send text, picture, and video messages using iMessage.

To send an iMessage on your iOS device:

1. Tap the Messages icon.

To view and send messages, tap Messages.

Access Messages app

2. Tap the New Conversation icon in the top-right corner to send a new message.

This will open a new page where you can write and send a message to one of your contacts.

Compose a new message button

3. Type in the phone number, email address, or name of the person you want to message.

At the top of your screen, tap the text box and enter the contact information of the person you want to send a message to. If their contact information is saved in your device’s address book, you can simply type in their name, and then tap the result that matches the person you want to send a message to. Remember that the person has to have an Apple device with iMessage enabled in order for you to send a message to them.

Enter contact information of your recipient

4. Tap the text box that appears above your keyboard and type your message.

Type whatever you’d like your message to say in the text box.

Type your message

5. Tap the Blue Arrow to send.

Once you’re done typing in your message, tap the Blue Arrow button to the right of the text box to send it off.

Button to send your message

That’s all you need to do to send an iMessage. If you want to send a picture or video along with it, we’ll show you how to do that next.

To send a picture or video attachment through iMessage:

1. Open a new conversation with the person you want to send a message to.

Following the instructions above, open a new iMessage conversation to get started.

Start a new iMessage conversation

2. Tap the arrow button to reveal more options.

On the left side of your screen, you’ll see a grey arrow button. Tap the grey arrow to reveal options that will allow you to attach a photo or video to your message.

Options for additional attachments

3. Tap the camera button to take a new photo, or import a photo or video from your device’s camera roll.

When you tap the camera button, you’ll be given the option to take a new photo or video, or attach a photo or video stored in your device. Tap the photo or video you want to attach to select it.

Attach a photo or video to iMessage

4. Tap the blue arrow button to send your message.

Once you’ve attached the photo or video you want to send, tap the blue arrow to send it.

Send a photo or video in an iMessage


That’s it for this tutorial on how to send iMessages. Be sure to read through the rest of our iMessage course to learn more. If you have any questions or suggestions, leave us a comment  below.

How to Set Up and Activate iMessage on iOS

Want to begin using iMessage, but not sure how to set it up? If so, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll be showing you how to activate and set up iMessage on your iOS device. If you’re having trouble, we’ll also be going over some reasons why your messages might not be working properly, and suggest things you can do to fix them.

Let’s start by going over how to turn iMessage on.

To set up iMessage:

1. Open up the settings on your device.

Tap the Settings icon on your screen to launch the settings app.

Open iOS settings

2. Scroll down and tap Messages.

In the settings app, scroll down a little until you see Messages and tap on it to open your messaging settings.

Open Messages settings

3. At the top of the next screen, move the toggle over to the right to activate iMessage.

At the top of your screen, you’ll see a slider to the right of where it says “iMessage.” To enable the app, move the toggle over to the right. When the toggle is green, it has been activated.

Enable iMessage

4. Choose the addresses you’d like to use to send and receive messages.

If you tap Send & Receive, you can choose from the phone numbers and email addresses associated with your Apple ID to use for iMessage.

Choose addresses to send and receive iMessages

5. Customize your other iMessage settings to your personal preferences.

If you scroll down the page after activating, you’ll see other options and settings you can change. Customize these settings to your liking.

iMessage customizable settings

Some of these settings can help you increase your safety or save on data usage. We also have articles about the app’s data usage and its safety if you’d like to learn how you can configure these settings to your benefit.

One setting that you may not have remembered to configure is Read Receipts. These are indicators of whether you have read someone’s message or not. If you want to enable Read Receipts so that people know when you’ve read their message, slide the switch beside “Send Read Receipts” to the right until it turns green. If you don’t want people to know when you have read their messages, leave this feature disabled.

iMessage read receipts

There are other settings you can configure on your device that relate to iMessage, but that are not included in the iMessage settings menu. Next, we’ll show you how you can turn off message preview in your notifications.

To disable message preview:

1. Tap Settings on the home screen of your iPhone.

To access your device settings, tap the Settings icon.

Access iOS settings

2. Scroll down the settings menu, and tap Notifications.

From the list of options on the next page, select Notifications.

Notifications settings

3. On the next page, select Messages.

To configure how your notifications appear when you receive a message, tap Messages.

Messages settings menu

4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and tap Show Previews.

Tap Show Previews to customize your message notifications.

Show previews of messages setting

5. Finally, select Off to disable the function.

If you don’t want a sample of your messages to appear within your notifications, select Off to disable message previews.

Turn message previews off

That’s all you need to do to activate and set up iMessage. However, sometimes people run into problems with the app. Some of these issues are more common, so we want to give you a list of them and what you can do to solve the problem if it happens to you.

Reasons iMessage might not be working

1. You need to fix your Internet connection.

If you’re having problems with while connected to a Wi-Fi network, the issue could be rooted in your network connection, not your device itself. To fix it, try disconnecting from Wi-Fi to see if iMessage works when using mobile data. If you need to stay on Wi-Fi, ensure that you have entered the correct network password. You can try re-booting your Wi-Fi router as well.

2. You need to re-boot your device.

Sometimes, turning your device off and on again will solve small software issues. Try fully shutting down your device and turning it back on to see if that fixes your issue.

3. You need to update your device’s operating system.

If you haven’t updated your iOS in a while, the issue could be simply that your device needs an update. Go to Settings > General > Software Update and make sure that your device’s operating system has been updated to the newest available version.

4. You need to sign into your Apple ID

You may be having issues simply because you aren’t signed in to iCloud with your Apple ID. iMessage uses your Apple ID for you to send and receive messages, so you need to be signed in for it to work properly. To make sure you’re signed in, go to Settings > iCloud, and check that you’re properly logged into your Apple ID account.

5. You need to reset your network settings.

Sometimes, you can have issues because the device’s network settings need to be reset. You can reset yours by going to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. Try resetting them to see if it solves your issue.

6. You have to disable Portrait Orientation Lock.

A few of iMessage’s features can only be access with your device in landscape mode. If you have Portrait Orientation Lock enabled, you won’t be able to use these features. To disable it, slide your finger from the bottom of your screen upwards to reveal a control panel. The button in the top right corner controls Portrait Orientation Lock. If it’s red, it’s enabled, if it’s grey, it’s disabled. Tap the button once to enabled or disable the feature.

7. Your device may have a hardware issue.

If all of these troubleshooting methods don’t work for you, it’s possible that your device has a more serious issue rooted in the hardware of your device. We’d recommend going into an Apple Genius Bar location or calling Apple support for more help.

You can contact Apple at You can reserve an Apple Genius Bar appointment online at


That’s it for this article about how to activate and set up iMessage on your iPhone or iPad. We hope you found it helpful. Be sure to check out the rest of our iMessage course to learn more. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave us a comment below.