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Message Settings

iPhone & iPad Settings for optimal messaging

These notes were prepared using an iPhone 13 Pro running iOS 16.6.1.
iPad Messages settings are similar but not identical.

Messages on Apple devices offer unique features for communicating between your iPhone and other Apple devices using iMessaging — a messaging network run by Apple. iMessages are indicated by blue bubbles in the text thread. They are end-to-end encrypted, and can handle more attachment types than other messaging services.

Apple's Messages app also has a fall-back to send texts and photos to non-Apple devices, but these messages do not use the Apple network. They use your cell carrier's text messaging service, and are not encrypted. In fact, many cell carriers archive texts on their own servers for law enforcement or their own data uses.

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Settings can optimize compatibility among the various messaging systems currently in use, while allowing syncing among multiple Apple devices.

Now let's move in Settings from Messages to your Apple ID. Go to:
Settings > Apple ID (your name, very top) > iCloud > Apps Using iCloud > Show All (right under the 4 default apps)

That's it! You've now prepared your Settings for messaging via the Messages app with Apple's iMessaging network while maintaining basic compatibility with non-Apple systems which use your cell carrier's text messaging for contacts who don't have an iPhone or Apple ID.

Syncing Messages Among Devices

You will want to set up the Settings or System Settings for Messages on all of your Apple devices basically the same if you want them to all sync messages. You may want to turn notifications for Messages Off on some of your devices so that only your iPhone gets the notifications so they aren't a nuisance when they arrive.

* Recovering a Recently Deleted Message thread is also now available in iPadOS 16.x in the Messages sidebar, and on macOS 13 Ventura in the Messages main pull-down menus under the View menu.

Updated September 9 2023

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