iMessages not syncing on Mac: 8 quick fixes

Apple’s iMessage system is a great way to send and receive messages as well as hold group conversations. It’s not tied to any one device, and you can use it on a Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, or Apple Watch, as long as you are signed in with your Apple ID. 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. But sometimes, everything doesn’t work as it should, and messages don’t sync. We’ll show you what to do with iMessages not syncing on MacBook.

What is iMessage

Before we start, a word on iMessage and the difference between iMessages and Messages. Simply put, Messages is the name of the app on iOS, WatchOS, iPadOS, and macOS that you use to send and receive messages. iMessage, on the other hand, is Apple’s proprietary system for sending and receiving messages. It’s a bit like Apple’s version of SMS/MMS. To complicate things even more, you can use the Messages app to send both iMessages and SMS/MMS messages. iMessages are shown in blue when you send them, and SMS/MMS messages are in green.

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How to fix iMessages on Mac not syncing

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.

1. Check you are signed in

  • Open Messages on your Mac.
  • Click the Messages menu and go to Settings.
  • Select the iMessage tab.
  • 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, launch the Settings app.
  • Tap your name at the top of the screen.
  • Tap Name, Phone Numbers, Email.
  • Check that the email address above ‘Apple ID’ is the same as the Apple ID in Messages.

2. Check that Messages in iCloud is enabled

  • Click on the Messages menu on your Mac and choose Settings.
  • Navigate to the iMessage tab.
  • Make sure ‘Enable Messages in iCloud’ is selected.
  • On your iPhone, tap the Settings app.
  • Choose Messages.
  • Make sure iMessage is toggled on.
  • Tap Send & Receive and make sure the address and phone number listed there match those in the iMessage tab in Messages Settings.

3. Check Apple’s servers

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

  • In a web browser, go to Apple’s status page here.
  • Look for ‘iMessage’ in the middle column.
  • 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:

  • Open Messages on your Mac.
  • Choose a recipient with whom you can have an iMessage conversation (that is, someone who also has an Apple device).
  • 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. Check your details on Apple’s website

  • In a web browser, navigate to appleid.apple.com and log in.
  • Click ‘Sign-in and Security’ in the menu on the left.
  • Click ‘Email & Phone Numbers.’
  • Review the email address and phone number. These should match those on your iPhone and your Mac.

7. 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:

  • Disable iMessage by deselecting ‘Enable Messages in iCloud,’ waiting for a few seconds, and then re-enabling it.
  • Do the same on all your devices that use Messages.
  • 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.

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