Text people from your Mac, even if they use Android

One of the greatest functions of iMessage is that you can easily text from a device other than your iPhone. It’s great to be able to type on a regular keyboard. But unless you go through some extra steps, you can only text other Apple users from your Mac.

First, make sure you have iMessage fully configured.

  1. On your iPhone go to Settings > Messages. If you are offered to sign into your Apple ID go ahead and do so. Make sure that the iMessage switch is “on”.
  2. Tap “Send and Receive”. The first group is the numbers and email addresses that people can reach you on. Feel free to turn all of these on. This doesn’t connect to your email account, it’s simply that if someone tries sending an iMessage to one of those email addresses it will come through to your Message app. In other words, there are no actual email messages involved, they are just used to identify who you are.
  3. From the second group choose one address, which will be the source, or “caller ID” on your outgoing messages. For most people I recommend choosing your phone number.
  4. If you have other iOS devices that you want to receive texts on (iPads, iPod Touch) go through steps 1 to 3 on each of these devices as well. Step 3 is the key.
  5. On any Macs that you want to get texts we go through a similar process. But instead you will open the Messages app (in your Applications folder or use Spotlight or Siri to launch it).
  6. Click the Messages menu > Preferences. Switch to the “Accounts” tab. Select iMessage on the left column.
  7. Sign in if needed.
  8. In the first group “You can be reached for messages at”, I recommend selecting all the options. At the very least select your phone number.
  9. Below that, under “Start new conversations from” choose your phone number

Now that iMessage is configured across your devices you can connect regular text messaging so that you can message people on Android, Blackberry, etc. For this to work you must:

  • Have an iPhone (your iPhone is used as the relay to send texts)
  • Your iOS devices must be at least iOS 8.1
  • Your Macs must be at least 10.10 Yosemite
  1. On your iPhone go to Settings > Messages > Text Message Forwarding
  2. Slide the switch on for any device you want to enable for plain text messaging. It doesn’t matter which one you start with.
  3. If prompted for a code, go to the device you just enabled for Text Message Forwarding and it should be displayed on the screen. Enter this 6 digit code on your iPhone to link them together. If you are not prompted for a code that’s fine, sometimes it’s not necessary.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each device.

Troubleshooting

  • If you don’t get the code to connect your devices: sometimes it’s not required. If the switch turns green you’re good to go. If you are prompted for a code but you don’t get one then make sure your other device is awake and connected to a live internet connection. And make sure that your phone number is enabled in Settings > Messages > Send & Receive on your other device.
  • If you are stuck on “waiting for activation”: Try signing out of iMessage on ALL of your devices. Reboot all of your devices. Sign in on your iPhone and wait. You do not need to stay on this screen while you wait. Go do something else and come back. It normally takes only seconds but when Apple’s servers are overloaded (such as on an iPhone launch day) it can take hours.
  • Why am I getting all of these pop-up notices that iMessage has been enabled on a new device? Apple just wants to be sure that if someone stole your password you are alerted. Otherwise they could be intercepting your text messages. Since you know this is being set up you can just tap “OK”.