If you can't get iMessages to work consistently or just want to activate the new SMS Relay feature then you may need this short guide -- if you want to learn more about what it can do, read this guide also.
iMessage is fantastic -- the ability to send free messages to all your chums, with or without a data connection using your Apple device, even if your contact doesn't use an Apple product. It's great.
Except when it's not.
iMessage offers a wide range of useful features but it is sometimes a little unpredictable. I've assembled this selection of handy tips to help you get things working a little better.
How to activate SMS relay
Let's begin with the new iThing, SMS Relay, which lets you access messages sent across your cellular/mobile network in iMessages on your iPhone, iPad and your Mac.
To activate this you must open Settings>Messages and choose the "Text Message Forwarding" option you'll find beneath the iMessage switch. "Allow your iPhone text messages to also be sent and received on other devices signed in to your iMessage account."
Now you get to choose those devices you wish to enable for the feature. You will be asked to validate these requests on each device.
- When iMessage seems to be misbehaving check these things first:
- Ensure you are running the latest OS and that you have data connectivity.
- If iMessage isn't sending your messages then please check Settings>Messages "Send as SMS" is enabled.
- To make sure you are correctly identified by others when sending messages then do make sure you have your phone number set up properly in the Send & Receive settings: Settings>Messages>Send & Receive. At the bottom of this pane there's an option that says "Start New Conversations From", choose your number.
- At least one online report claims some iMessage problems can be resolved by ensuring the data and time are correct. Achieve this in Settings>General>Date & Time and toggle Set Automatically to On.
- Some cellular networks can't handle iMessage traffic while you are on a call, turn Wi-Fi on to handle iMessage while you are on a call in Settings>Wi-Fi.
- Always ensure you are signed in with the same Apple ID on each device. (Settings>Messages>Send & Receive).
Three troubleshooting steps