Apple’s iMessage is great. Sending messages without using up text plan messages or over wifi? Brilliant! Plus, typing out messages on the iPad or from a Mac is so much better. But there’s plenty of little settings that can modify your experience, or make it difficult if you ever switch phones. Here’s our guide to helping clear up how to use iMessage.
From your device, to enable or disable iMessage, go to Settings -> Messages. The very first switch will allow you to disable iMessage if you’d rather not deal with it altogether.
Send Read Receipts will send a mark that a message was read to your conversation partners after you read a new message. Don’t want others to know? Turn this off.
Send as SMS will allow you to send messages as standard messages over cellular if data is not available. This way you can seamlessly transition between iMessage and SMS without a beat. If a message fails to send over iMessage, tap and hold on it in the Messages app. That will pull up an option to resend it as a Text Message.
Now, it’s possible to send and receive iMessages from not just your phone number but your email address as well. To add a new email address, go to the Send & Receive section. Tap Add Another Email… and then type in the email address you want to add. Open the email in your account to confirm the email. A notification will be sent when it is added.
If you want to customize which address your iMessages are sent from, choose the phone number or email address from the Start new conversations from: section. Now, when you send a new message, your message will be identified as the email or phone number that you’ve chosen. If you’ve just switched phone numbers, this can prevent confusion.
If you have an iPad, you can set your messages to be sent from your phone number once it is added from an iPad.
Now, let’s say that you switch over to an Android, and you want to make sure that when iPhone users send you a message, it is sent as a text message and not as an iMessage that you wouldn’t get on your phone. The easiest way to handle this is to go to Apple’s My Support Profile page and delete your old device. Open your device’s page and Unregister the device. You can also reset the password of your Apple ID account from the web which should cause iMessage to log out on your old device, not allowing it to be used for your old phone number any more.
Of course, you’d never leave the iPhone, would you? Right? Don’t tell anyone, but I won’t judge you.
The Verge reported on how losing iMessage could mean losing your friends, after an article by The Huffington Post shared how life for a 14-year old girl, Casey Schwartz, revolved around the use of her iPhone. Though, I must ask, who’s life doesn’t revolve around their iPhone?
The article shares how a friend of Casey’s was cut out of the inner circle because she had yet to upgrade to an iPhone. Casey said it wasn’t because she didn’t like her, only that she couldn’t stay connected to her like she could with her other friends by using apps such as iMessage.
I think this pretty clearly shows that if you buy an iPhone, you get to hang out with the popular kids. Well, maybe not, though it will certainly keep you connected.
Why should we ever have to look up the number for our favorite contacts ever again? We shouldn’t ever have to, and thanks to the Favorites list and to some clever trickery with home screen shortcuts, it’s possible to never have to memorize a phone number ever again!
The way to access Favorites is through the Phone app on iPhone, or FaceTime app on iPad or iPod touch.even if trying to FaceTime them. So open up the Phone app or FaceTime app and go to the Favorites tab.
Tap the + icon in the upper right corner. Your contact list should now be displayed. Tap on a contact to access their page. Now tap on the phone number or email address you want to add to Favorites.
Phone numbers will add a shortcut to call the person; email addresses will go to FaceTime. Note that each phone number and email address will appear separately in the list, along with the description for the phone or email address, so you can easily call the different numbers for a person. You can rearrange and delete by tapping Edit in the upper-left corner.
Note that this brings easy access to people for phone calls and FaceTime, it may make access too easy! Tapping on the person’s name will start a phone or FaceTime phone call, so if you tap the button accidentally, be prepared to hit the “End Call” button immediately! It isn’t possible to add a person to the list as an SMS/iMessage contact, but tapping the blue arrow to the right of their name (carefully, lest it start a call!) will call up their full contact card, where you can send them a message or email from that page.
Now, an even quicker way to call people or to send them a message is through home screen shortcuts. See, it’s possible through URL shortcuts to call up different built-in apps: tel://1-800-692-7753 when pasted in to Safari would call up Apple’s support hotline, and there’s shortcuts for sms:// and facetime:// as well.
The easy way to set up a home screen shortcut for yourself is to do it through an App Store app – there are several, but OneTap does the job, with the ability to create shortcuts for calls, messages, FaceTime, and even Twitter. It can even set up custom user icons.
The shortcut, once on your home screen, briefly opens up Safari before completing the action you want.
Now, there are ways to do this yourself, but they’re more complicated and they require the iPhone Configuration Utility, or other methods with HTML pages and URL redirection that just aren’t worth your time.
Hopefully this guide helps you on your way to getting to contact the people you want to contact faster!
With text messages and iMessages being such an important form of communication between people, it doesn’t make much sense that there’s no easy way to store them and back them up. They’re backed up when making backups through iTunes or iCloud, but if you have to wipe your device clean, then they’re lost forever. And because of the personal and private nature of these messages, important ones can be lost, unlike email which exists on cloud servers. Now, there is a way to backup your SMS and iMessages manually. Note that this guide will require you to be at a computer with iTunes, and to poke around some hidden directories. If you’re comfortable with this, let’s begin.
Now then, the fun part. We need to go into where the backup is stored. On Windows PCs, this location has to be accessed by opening a local Explorer window, and typing in %APPDATA% (a shortcut to your Windows primary hard drive’s Users/[your username]/Application Data folder). On Mac, open up a Finder window. Hold down the Option key, click Go in the top bar, and select the Library folder that now appears. It only appears when you hold down the Option key. The necessary folder will not be visible if you just go to the Library folder from your Mac on the left sidebar in Finder. Open Application Support.
Now, on either OS, open up MobileSync -> Backup. Open up the most recent folder, as that should be your latest backup.
Look for a file called 3d0d7e5fb2ce288813306e4d4636395e047a3d28. It may or may not have a file extension on it. Copy this file to a safe place.
Now, if you just open it up in a text editor, the file will be full of gibberish but you can search for text strings and they will pop up. It’s largely unreadable, but it’s something.
Now, if you want them available in a readable format, this can be done. Go to http://iphone-sms.com. Upload that file you just saved, and choose an export format. Note that you are uploading your message data to a remote website, so if you’re concerned about the privacy of your data, you might want to be careful, though there’s no known risk factors with the site. Also, the file doesn’t include picture data, so you might want to save those to your Camera Roll manually.
So, that’s how you get your SMS and iMessages backed up. It’s not easy, but it’s a way to preserve your treasured messages. Or not-so-treasured ones. Such is the beauty of text messaging.
This week’s how to was inspired by a recent conversation I had with my family. My mom got an iPad, and she wanted to use it to keep in touch with the rest of her family, who all use iOS devices in some capacity. My dad set her up with a free texting app, but I wondered why not use iMessage? He didn’t even know what that was. It seems as if casual users are not entirely aware of what iMessage is and what it can do.
iMessages are messages similar to SMS that are sent through the Messages app on iOS 5 and later. They can be sent over wifi or a user’s data plan, instead of using up a messaging plan. iMessages can be sent to a person’s email address that they have registered with iMessage. iPhone users can register their phone number to receive iMessages, and the app can send out both traditional SMS messages and iMessages. SMS messages are represented by green bubbles, iMessage are blue bubbles.
iMessage makes it easy to to send photos and videos to friends. Also, there’s no character limit for iMessages, which is a blessing and a curse. iMessages carry across devices, so a conversation can be started on iPhone andreplied to on iPad and even on Macs with Mountain Lion. Messages can be sent while on wifi, if mobile data is unavailable on the iPhone.
To ensure iMessage is working, go to Settings, Messages, and ensure that it’s turned on. From this menu, it’s possible to enable different email addresses to receive iMessages at, and the default ID from which they will appear.
Don’t know if someone is an iMessage user? Create a new message, start typing in their phone number or email address, and the device will look up to see if they’re registered. Their name bubble will first be gray with a spinning circle. It turns blue if the user is registered, and red with an exclamation point if their email address is not registered.
A handy tip that many users don’t know about is to resend an iMessage as an SMS. Just tap and hold on the message bubble until a dialog to “Resend as SMS” appears. This is handy if the person being messaged is out of data range, or uses an Android phone along with their iPad or iPod touch. If iMessage becomes too complicated to use, it can also be disabled by turning it off from the iMessage settings menu. However, it’s worth leaving enabled for the benefits it provides.
Apple shocked the world today by announcing a brand-new operating system for desktop devices, less than a year after the launch of OS X Lion. Codenamed Mountain Lion, the latest update further blurs the line between home computers and tablets, bringing a host of features that make your MacBook or iMac run more like an iPad. Here’s a rundown of some of the major additions and how they work.
Messages – Built to replace the current iChat system, the Messages app seamlessly integrates with iMessage, allowing users to chat across platforms. If you’re at work but want to get a message out to a loved one’s iPhone all you have to do is pop into Messages and start typing. The service is free and supports text, photos and even high-def video sharing.
Reminders – Create and organize tasks and to-do lists on your computer, then push them out to all your devices via iCloud. Need to run a bunch of errands this weekend? Reminders has you covered.
Notification Center – Another iOS concept ported over to the Mac, Notification Center groups all your alerts in one place to easily view and/or dismiss at your convenience. No more alerts popping up all over the screen, now things are contained to one place off to the side, minimizing interruption.
Game Center – You know it, you love it, it’s here. Any questions?
For those who can’t get enough, Apple has also released the following video showcasing all the cool new features present in OS X Mountain Lion:
While no price has yet been announced Apple expects to launch Mountain Lion this summer. Furthermore, developers can sign up for access right now and begin tinkering with this new, iOS inspired operating system. Apple has long been the company most devoted to making the desktop and mobile experience as analogous as possible, and things seem to be going to a whole new level with Mountain Lion. In the immortal words of Philip J. Fry, “Shut up and take my money!”
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