iMessages not syncing on Mac: 8 quick fixes

Apple’s iMessage is a great way to send and receive messages and hold group conversations. When everything is working as it should, messages sync across all your devices, so you can easily switch from one device to another during a conversation, as long as you are signed in with the same Apple ID. But sometimes, messages don’t sync. If that is the case, keep on reading to learn what to do with iMessages not syncing on MacBook.

What is iMessage

iMessage is Apple’s proprietary system for sending and receiving messages. iMessages are messages you send to and receive from another iPhone, Mac, iPad, or iPod touch over cellular data or Wi-Fi networks. They are with a blue background in the Messages app.


How to fix lots of problems on your Mac

iMessages not syncing on your Mac is one of many problems that can crop up from time to time. These include your Mac slowing down or behaving erratically, running out of disk space, apps and services misbehaving, and your Mac being infected by malware. There’s one very easy way to protect your Mac, keep it running at optimum speed, and ensure it’s free from junk files that build up over time. CleanMyMac X has a Smart Scan module that, at the click of a button, will scan your Mac for junk files, check for malware, and look for opportunities to speed up your Mac. It takes just a few seconds, and when it’s done, you can choose to implement all of its recommendations or decide for yourself which tasks to run.

CleanMyMac X - System Junk

CleanMyMac X also has a privacy module that helps you keep your personal data private and makes it easy to manage which apps have access to your camera, microphone, desktop, and documents folders. You can download it for free here.

Why is iMessage not working on Mac

If you find that messages you send and receive on your iPhone don’t appear on your Mac or the other way around, there are a few possible reasons:

  • You’re not signed in with your Apple ID on either your Mac or your iPhone.
  • You haven’t enabled Messages in iCloud on either your Mac or your iPhone.
  • There’s a problem with your internet connection.
  • There’s a problem with Apple’s servers.

How to fix iMessages on Mac not syncing

Now that you know why iMessage is not working on your Mac, let’s proceed with the fixes.

1. Check you are signed in

First, check if you are signed in with the same Apple ID. You’ll have to do it on your Mac, iPhone, and any other devices you use.

On your Mac:

  1. Open Messages on your Mac.
  2. Click the Messages menu and go to Settings.
  3. Select the iMessage tab.
  4. Look at the top of the window — it should display your Apple ID and have a Sign Out button next to it. That means you are signed in.

On your iPhone:

  1. On your iPhone, open the Settings app.
  2. Tap your name at the top of the screen.
  3. Check that the email address under ‘Apple ID’ is the same as the Apple ID in Messages.

You can also check it in a web browser.

  1. Navigate to and log in.
  2. Click ‘Sign-in and Security’ in the menu on the left.
  3. Click ‘Email & Phone Numbers.’
  4. Review the email address and phone number. These should match those on your iPhone and your Mac.

If you use iPad or iPod touch to send and receive iMessages, and they won’t sync, follow the steps we outline for iPhone.

2. Check that Messages in iCloud is enabled

iMessages won’t sync if iCloud is disabled. Like before, you’ll have to check it on all your devices. 

On your Mac:

  1. Click on the Messages menu on your Mac and choose Settings.
  2. Navigate to the iMessage tab.
  3. Make sure ‘Enable Messages in iCloud’ is selected.

On your iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Choose Messages.
  3. Make sure iMessage is toggled on.
  4. Tap ‘Send & Receive’ and make sure the address and phone number listed there match those in the iMessage tab in Messages Settings on your Mac.

3. Check Apple’s servers

Apple has a status page on its website where it details the current status of all of its services.

  1. In a web browser, go to Apple’s status page here.
  2. Look for ‘iMessage’ in the middle column.
  3. If it’s green, that means it’s working normally. If it’s not, there’s a problem, and all you can do is wait.

4. Check your internet connection

If you can’t access Apple’s status page, there is probably a problem with your internet connection. It could be either your Wi-Fi or broadband connection. Here are some easy fixes:

  • Turn Wi-Fi on your Mac off and then on again.
  • Try moving your Mac closer to your router.
  • Restart your router.
  • If your internet connection still isn’t working, check with your broadband provider.

5. Use your Mac to send a message

If your Mac isn’t syncing with messages on your iPhone and doesn’t display the latest conversations from your phone, try sending a message from your Mac:

  1. Open Messages on your Mac.
  2. Choose a recipient with whom you can have an iMessage conversation (that is, someone who also has an Apple device).
  3. Type the message and send it.

In the process of connecting to iMessage to send the message, your Mac should sync with the other messages in your iCloud account.

6. Update your devices

Sometimes, iMessages won’t sync because of a software glitch. Apple may have fixed it in a recent update, so it’s worth checking if you have installed it. Generally, running the most up-to-date version of OS is a good way to prevent a variety of glitches. 

On your Mac: 

  1. Go to System Settings > General > Software Update. 
  2. Click Update Now or Restart Now and wait for the update to install.
System Preferences - Software Update

On your iPhone: 

  1. Open Settings > General > Software Update. 
  2. Tap Update Now. 

Also, enable automatic updates on both devices. 

    Bonus tips

    If your internet connection is working as it should, Apple’s status page says iMessage is working properly, and iMessage is enabled on all your devices, there are still a few things you can try to fix iMessages not syncing across devices:

    • On your Mac, disable iMessage by deselecting ‘Enable Messages in iCloud’ in iMessage settings, waiting for a few seconds, and then re-enabling it. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Messages and toggle off iMessage. Then, toggle it back on.
    • If that doesn’t work, sign out of your Apple ID on all your devices and sign back in again. That will force iCloud to resync everything and should bring your Mac iMessages into sync with your other devices.

    One of the great things about iMessage is that you can send and receive them on your Mac, as well as iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. However, you might find that sometimes iMessages are not syncing on your Mac, and so the Messages app on your Mac doesn’t update when you send and receive messages on another device. If that happens to you, follow the steps above to fix it and get iMessages syncing again.

    Laptop with CleanMyMac
    CleanMyMac X

    Your Mac. As good as new.