How to Set Up & Use iMessage on iPhone, iPad, & iPod touch
Want to use iMessage with iPhone or iPad? Of course you do! iMessage is the fantastic messaging service that is built directly into iOS from versions 5 onward, available for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac. iMessage is great because it allows you to send instant messages, text messages, pictures, video, contacts, and locations, across iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, even without an SMS or cellular plan, as long as the device has wi-fi or a mobile connection to the internet. Of course the other benefit is that even if you do have an SMS plan, sending iMessages can circumvent the SMS protocol, allowing you to send texts for free to other iPhone users.
Using iMessage is really easy, the only real requirement is that you have an Apple ID, and that the device is vaguely modern and running iOS 5 or later (which basically everything nowadays is far beyond that), so as long as your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or iPod touch are not ancient and you have an Apple ID / iCloud login, you’ll be able to use the iMessages feature.
If you haven’t already setup iMessage as part of iOS yet, often when first configuring an iPhone or iPad or Mac for the first time, you need to take a few minutes to do so. It’s really easy and well worth it, we’ll walk through the set up:
How to Enable iMessage in iOS for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
The set up process is quick and essentially the same on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch:
- Tap on “Settings” app to open it
- Scroll to find and tap on “Messages”
- Flip the ON/OFF switch next to ‘iMessage’ so that it’s ON position
This will activate iMessage and turn the feature ON with the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
iMessage will attempt to automatically pull your phone number or Apple ID (or both for iPhone users).
You can edit these if you wish, or if you’re on an iPad or iPod touch you may need to enter an Apple ID manually. Do so by tapping into the appropriate places, your Apple ID is the same account you use to login to iTunes and the App Store. If you don’t have an Apple ID yet, you can just tap on “Create New Account” to make one.
You can also add additional email addresses for you to be reached at via iMessage, just tap on “Add Another Email…” and add the address manually.
You are now free to send iMessages between equipped devices, meaning any other iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac user that also has the Messages app with iMessage enabled.
How do I use iMessage? Where do I send an iMessage from?
If you just set up iMessage, you’re ready to use it, just tap on the familiar green “Messages” app, yes the same one you use to send SMS and MMS on the iPhone.
Here’s the important thing to remember, iMessage is seamless within the Messages app and works automatically as long as you are messaging another iOS device, there isn’t a separate app or protocol to use, Apple figures it out for you.
How long has iMessage been around for iPhone and iPad?
iMessage debuted in iOS 5 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in 2011, so it has been around for quite some time. In earlier iOS versions it may have looked differently in settings.
For posterity sake, here are some older pictures of what iMessage and Messages app settings screens looked like when iMessages first debuted:
And turning on iMessage:
And iMessage settings for adding new contact information for yourself and additional setup:
And the original iMessage Messages icon: