How to Fix iMessage Not Syncing Between a Mac & iPhone / iPad
As you probably noticed when configuring iMessage on a Mac, you use an Apple ID during the set up process. This allows iMessage to sync all messages between any Macs and any iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad you may have using that same Apple ID, allowing all Messages app conversations to sync and be the same across devices. But this doesn’t always work as intended, and sometimes messages sent to the iPhone won’t reach the Mac, and sometimes messages sent to the Mac won’t reach the iPhone, and a myriad of other similar situations that may cause iMessage to not sync as intended.
If you find Messages to not be syncing properly between an iOS device like iPhone or iPad, and a Mac running Mac OS X, the fix is usually straight forward. Read on to resolve your iMessage syncing problems on a Mac.
These tips should work to fix iMessage syncing issues on all versions of Mac OS and iOS.
iMessage Not Syncing with Mac and iPhone or iPad? Here’s the Fix
This is a multi stage process to fix iMessage not syncing properly between a Mac and iOS Device. Part of the resolution involves using your iPhone or iPad, and the other part involves the Mac. Finally, you can also confirm a phone number with iMessage and an Apple ID, which can sometimes be the source of trouble too. Let’s get started:
Fix iMessage Not Syncing, Part 1: On iPhone or iPad
From the iOS Device(s), first do the following:
- Open “Settings” on the iOS device and tap on “Messages”
- Make sure iMessage is enabled and ON
- Tap on “Send & Receive” (or “Receive At” on older devices)
- Tap to make surd you are using your Apple ID for iMessage, and that the numbers and email address(es) in use by iMessage are enabled
This insures your Apple ID is being used for iMessage, you’ll want to make sure the phone number and email address you intend to receive iMessages at are correct.
Exit out of Settings and return to the Mac briefly.
Fix iMessage Not Syncing, Part 2: On the Mac
From the Mac(s), now do the following:
- Open Messages on the Mac and go to the “Messages” menu, then choose “Preferences” and go to the “Accounts” section
- Confirm the Apple ID used in Messages for Mac is the same as the iMessage setup in iOS
- Confirm that “Enable this account” is checked for the Apple ID, and that you can be reached at the same phone number and emails that are setup on the iPhone or iPad
When finished, exit out of Account preferences in Messages app.
Now try to send a new message on the Mac, or the iPhone or iPad. It should sync correctly between
This problem seems to mostly effect users who set up iMessage on the iOS device a while back but based the delivery and caller ID on their phone number and not their Apple ID. Because Messages for Mac uses an Apple ID and not a phone number, the messages won’t sync. Simple cause, simple solution.
Similarly, if you discover that iMessages aren’t syncing between multiple iOS devices, be sure to use your email address and Apple ID as caller ID and all should be working as intended.
iMessage Still Not Syncing? Confirm the Apple ID Phone Number
If you walked through the above steps and find that iMessage is still not syncing properly, you can login to Apple ID and confirm that the proper phone number is tied to the Apple ID in use.
How to Confirm Your Apple ID Mobile Phone Number
Another possible solution is to confirm your mobile phone number with your Apple ID. This has been reported to be a fix for some users who have persistent issues after the above sequences turn up blank.
- Go to https://appleid.apple.com and log in with your Apple ID
- Under “Phone Numbers” make sure you have the proper cell phone set under “Mobile Phone”, if not enter it and choose “Save Changes”
Try sending a new iMessage, it should now sync flawlessly between all iOS devices, whether it’s sent to or from an iPhone, Mac, iPad.
Note on some iOS versions there is also an option to “Use Apple ID as iMessage” which helps to allow syncing of iMessage between Mac and iPhone, but this setting is not the same in the latest iOS releases.
Thanks to Taylor for leaving this last tip in our comments, it does seem to resolve some stubborn problems so give it a try!