Find iMessage Users & Contacts Easily from iOS or Mac OS X

Feb 25, 2012 - 14 Comments

iMessage iMessage is a great addition to iOS and OS X that lets you send unlimited text messages, pictures, videos, documents, and even files, between other iMessage users. Though you probably know at least a few people who are using iMessages, chances are good that more of your contacts have set it up and you just didn’t know about it yet. The good news is that iMessage users are easy to find, and as long as they have it configured properly on their iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Mac, you’ll be able to find who is using the service and who can receive things sent through the iMessage protocol.

Here’s how to find out who can receive iMessages easily in both iOS and on a Mac with OS X.

Find Other iMessage Users on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

You’ll need iOS 5 or later to do this:

  • Launch the Messages app in iOS (set up iMessage if you haven’t yet)
  • Tap the Compose button in the upper right corner to start a new message
  • Type the contacts name, or just put the first letter of their name and have a list populate
  • iMessage users will show a blue iMessage icon alongside their name

Find iMessage Users

Now that Apple has brought iMessage compatibility to the Mac, the same functionality is provided but in a slightly different way.

Find iMessage Contacts with Messages for Mac

Messages for Mac is available to OS X 10.7 and OS X 10.8 users only:

  • Open Messages for Mac (download the beta for free if you haven’t already)
  • Hit Command+N or click the “Compose” button in the upper left corner of the iMessage window
  • Start typing a name to see the contacts list populate
  • Look for the blue iMessage badge next to names of users who can receive iMessages

Discover iMessage Users in Mac OS X

One thing missing is that you won’t know what device they’re using, so whether or not you’re sending a message to a Mac, iPhone, iPad, or all of the above, you just won’t know. With how iMessages sync between devices, that doesn’t really matter much, but it would be a nice bonus to be able to find out what hardware they are using at the moment.

Thanks for the tip idea Dave

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

14 Comments

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  1. T@Fremont says:

    I found this to be more reliable on my iPhone than Mac, but we shouldn’t judge too much because of the beta

  2. Barney Miller says:

    doesn’t work for me on the iphone. Simply typing a letter shows no blue icon next to anyone’s name…and I know a few people in my contacts have iMessage enabled.

  3. Taylor says:

    All my contacts are set up on gmail. I’m seeing nothing when type in a letter, is that the reason why?

  4. Jermaine says:

    “doesn’t work for me on the iphone. Simply typing a letter shows no blue icon next to anyone’s name…and I know a few people in my contacts have iMessage enabled.”

    –same here

  5. Rick says:

    Doesn’t work for me on the iPhone. Like everyone else, I know people with iPhones and I know they use the messaging app.

  6. Vesey says:

    Ditto – doesn’t work on either Mac or iPhone for people who I know to have iMessage enabled. Will be useful when consistent, but must be random at the moment.

  7. Éamonn says:

    Works perfectly for me on all my devices -however, I think the article is not quite accurate. I think you have to have sent a message to the contact at least once before the blue message bubble appears.

    Aside from that, iMessage for Mac is also working perfectly.

  8. Anderson says:

    Works fine for me on Mac, iPad, and iPhone. I can see people who I haven’t corresponded with too, but I think if you disable “Read Receipts” than you will NOT show up to others.

  9. Jonathan says:

    Is there a way to get this to work on the Mac when my contacts are all within the Exchange/activesync environment. Obviously because my iPhone is set up to be connected to that activesync environment it has my exchange address book, but the messages app on my mac does not have access to that address book…Any ideas how to solve this?

    • wally1963 says:

      I had the same problem. I was able to export my contacts from Outlook to a text file (.CSV) and then import them into the native Mac “Contacts” app. After that my iMessage was populated with all my contacts. Obviously, new additions to my Outlook/Exchange account won’t be available in iMessage until I add them to my Contacts app.

  10. JB says:

    This isn’t working for me either – not even for the people I’ve already texted via iMessage. The only way iMessage is used on my phone is if I label the contact’s number as an iPhone.

  11. Michael says:

    My partner and i are both trying to get this to work on our iphones with no luck

  12. [...] you’re not sure who on your contacts list has iMessages or not, you can use a nice trick to find which contacts are iMessage users, and that technique works on both OS X and [...]

  13. Bruce Lustig says:

    As Éamonn said, you must access the contact at least once by typing the first character and then selecting that contact, instead of tapping the plus sign to bring up your contact list. Once you have done this, the next time you access the contact the blue “bubble” will appear next to that contact. Kind of a pain…. It would be nice if there was some refresh that would automatically scan your contact list instead of having to access each one.

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