iMessages is an awesome free texting service from Apple that lets you send unlimited messages back and forth with anyone on iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, or a Mac running Mountain Lion. It even lets you send photos, videos, contacts, and locations.

Now lets say you have a Mac with Mountain Lion, an iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch and you set up iMessages on all 4 of those devices. When you receive a text message from someone who is also using an iOS device, you’ll get that text on all of your devices at once (maybe a 1 or 2 second delay). iMessages also keep your messages synchronized across all your device, which I think is a pretty cool feature, especially since I seem to constantly loose my iPhone to some crater in the couch.

iMessages vs Regular

iMessages vs Regular

So what happens if your friend doesn’t have an Apple device, what if they use an Android? iMessages will automatically figure out if the person you are trying to text has either a Mac or an iOS device, or, if the device is not iMessage compatible. If it is not compatible the message will be sent via your cellphone carriers text messaging service, and you will only be able to text that person on a device that has a carrier single. You’ll be able to tell the difference between sending an iMessage and sending a message over your carrier service very easily. When sending an iMessage the text bubble is blue, when sending a text over your carrier to someone without an iOS device the text bubble will be green.  Remember with iMessages you can send unlimited free texts even with multimedia attachments on all your iOS devices, while your carrier will charge you, whether it be a charge per text or a flat monthly fee.

As I’m sure you’ve experienced, when your friend doesn’t respond within 5 seconds you start wondering if they got the message or if the text got lost somewhere. iMessages will let you know when your text has been delivered by simply writing a little message under your text saying “Delivered”. Another cool little feature, is when your friend starts responding you will see a little bubble with 3 little “…” letting you know that he or she is typing a response.

The steps necessary to enable iMessages are very simple, and are the same for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. The steps are a bit different on a Mac. We’ll go through the steps necessary for your iOS devices first.

iOS Devices

  1. Go the the Settings app
  2. Tap Messages
  3. Enter your Apple ID and password and tap Sign In

Any phone number and all email addresses associated with your Apple ID will be displayed. Be sure to note however a phone number will be displayed only if you are setting up your iPhone, or if you are setting up another iOS device after you’ve set up your iPhone. Next you simply choose which email addresses and phone numbers you want people to use to send you messages, and which email address or phone number you’d like to use to send outgoing messages.

Mac

  1. Open Messages on your Mac
  2. Go to the menu bar and select “Preferences”
  3. Sign in with your Apple ID

That’s all there is besides, again deciding which email addresses and phone numbers you want people to use to send you messages, and which email address of phone number you’d like to use to send outgoing messages.


While we are on the subject of sending iMessages, if you interested in getting the emoticons in your texts check this other post out: enable-emoticons-in-ipad-iphone-and-ipod