The oldest parts of the cellular phone system are metaphorically put together with chicken wire and chewing gum, and wireless carriers have little incentive to change it because it works and netens them into billions of dollars. Apple has created iMessage for an advanced (and secure) messaging ecosystem and married the iPhone to “traditional” SMS (text) and MMS (multimedia) cellular messaging systems.
On your iPhone, you can send and receive cellular texts and iMessages. Apple expanded the iPhone’s phone network capabilities to your other iCloud-connected devices many years ago to provide the same access to the non-Apple world of texting.
To make sure it works the way you like, you may need to check and change settings in multiple places
First on your iPhone Settings > Message:
- iMessage needs to be enabled.
- Tap Send and receive You can get messages on this iPhone to select the phone number and iCloud-connected address.
- Also under Send & Receive, check Start a new conversation under it. You may want to choose the iPhone number instead of an email address to ensure that people outside of Apple’s iMessage ecosystem receive your messages correctly.
- Inside Text message forwarding Enable all your devices that can send and receive cellular text
On your other devices, make sure the iPhone’s phone number is selected as a valid way to receive messages:
- Go to iOS / iPadOS Settings > Message > Send and receive And select the iPhone number below You can get iMessages and reply from ৷. (Although it says iMessage, it seems to apply to text messages.)
- On MacOS, open Message and select Message> Preferences> iMessage. Inside Settings, check the box next to the iPhone number. (Note that Apple states here that not only iMessages but also “you can be reached for messages”.)
This Mac 911 article answers a question posed by MacWorld reader Olive.
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