Sync iMessage Across All iOS Devices: iPhone, iPad, & iPod touch
Now that you’ve set up iMessage, if you use multiple iOS devices you’ll want to be sure to sync your conversations across them all. For example, if you use an iPhone and have an iPad, you may want to have iMessage sync between the iPhone and iPad seamlessly. This is supposed to happen automatically as long as the iMessage account on each iOS device is set to the same Apple ID, and the services is enabled, but it doesn’t always do so.
If your iMessages aren’t syncing, there’s a quick fix to have them reliably sync across all your devices.
How to Sync iMessages Between All Devices; iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
Do the following steps from each of the individual iOS devices to make sure iMessage is enabled and working as expected:
- Open the “Settings” app
- Select “Messages”
- Make sure iMessage is turned ON
- Choose “Send & Receive” (or “Receive At” for older iOS versions)
- Make sure the same Apple ID / phone number is in use on all devices you wish to sync iMessage between
- Next, at the bottom of the iMessage settings account screen, tap on “Caller ID”
- Tap on the Apple ID as your caller ID (yes, even on the iPhone)
- Close out Settings and repeat on your other iOS hardware
- Send a new iMessage and check your iOS devices, they should now all be synced
You’ll want to verify this process on each iOS and iPadOS device you intend to sync the iMessages to.
It’s obviously necessary for you to be using the same Apple ID or iMessage account here, and this also requires a modern version of iOS on every device since iMessage is not available on the super old versions, but nearly any vaguely modern device will have this feature.
Why Don’t iMessages Sync Automatically Between DevicesUntil I Do This?
They’re supposed to, and some do and some don’t. The sporadic or occasionally unreliable syncing behavior seems to be most problematic when using iMessage between an iPhone and another iOS device like an iPod touch or iPad, and presumably that is due to the Caller ID associating with a phone number rather than an Apple ID.
While verifying this to be the case, I discovered that MacGasm came upon the same solution when syncing messages with an iPhone 4S, further implicating the iPhone’s phone number as the cause of the problem. I’ll bet a future iOS update will fix this, but in the meantime it’s easy enough to do manually.
If you’re experiencing issues with Mac OS too, then check out fixing iMessage syncing between Mac and iPhone or iPad here for more tips on troubleshooting.
This post is in response to an excellent question submitted to us by Jeremy L, who wrote in asking:
Hi! I had a question about using iMessage across multiple devices. How can iMessage be made to push and sync more efficiently across multiple devices? Most of the time (read: almost every time) I must begin sending messages from iPad before incoming messages will begin getting pushed to that device. I just want it to be the case that whenever I participate in a text conversation between other iMessage users, that all my non-deleted conversations will appear on all my devices exactly as they were; regardless of which device I used previously.
We hope this answers your question Jeremy, enjoy iMessage!
Prior versions of iOS Settings looked a bit different, but the idea is the same: confirm that iMessage is enabled, that Apple ID and email addresses are accurate for iMessage, and that this applies to every device using iMessage.
For posterity sake, here’s what the settings looked like in older releases of system software:
Regardless of what the settings screen looks like however, the troubleshooting techniques are the same.
Did you get iMessage syncing across devices with these tips? Did something else work for you? Share your experiences in the comments.