How to Set up Text Message Forwarding on your iPhone

With the new set of Continuity features, Apple gives you the ability to receive text messages and reply quickly from your iPad and your Mac. And not just that, you can also make a cellular call from your Mac, use Universal Clipboard through all of your Apple devices… That’s very handy, right?

I’ll cover them all in the next articles. And today, we’ll talk about Text Message Forwarding (also known as SMS/MMS Relay), which is one of Continuity features that allows you to send and receive text messages – the “green bubble” kind – through the Messages app on your iPad or your Mac.

By using Text Message Forwarding, you can manage all your text messages/conversations entirely through your Mac and iPad. So, that’s no need to live with the iPhone side by side all the time anymore!

Before we start, here are the requirements

  • To get Text Message Forwarding to work, your Mac must be using OS X Yosemite or later, your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch must be using iOS 8.1 or later.
  • Each device is signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID.
  • Your devices need to be connected to the internet. They just need to be online to be able to connect to Apple servers and sync contents. You don’t have to connect them to the same Wi-Fi network.

How to enable Text Message Forwarding

1. On your iPhone, go to Settings > iCloud and check the email address listed there (your Apple ID). Do the same on your iPad. If you want to use your Mac, click Apple > System Preferences. Then click on iCloud and check the email address listed under your name on the left.

Make sure all of these email addresses are the same. If not, sign out of iCloud on one of your devices and sign in using the correct Apple ID.

2. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Messages > Text Message Forwarding and turn it on. You’ll see a list of all the devices linked to your Apple ID. Toggle the one you want to send and receive messages to On.

3. A prompt will show up on your iPhone asking you to enter an activation code. Wait for your iPad/Mac to pop up an authorization code. Now head over to your iPhone, type that code into the prompt and hit Allow.

If the activation code is not showing up on your iPad/Mac, on your iPhone, go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive and check if the email address is activated for iMessage.

Other issues that cause Text Message Forwarding not to work properly can be fixed by

  • rebooting both devices
  • logging out and back into iCloud on the devices
  • turning iMessage off and back on in the Settings app
  • enabling and disabling AirPlane Mode
  • resetting Network settings.

Receiving/Sending/Replying text messages on the iPad is also identical to Receiving/Sending/Replying an iMessage.

If you forward messages to your Mac, messages sent to your iPhone will automatically appear as a notification on your Mac in the upper-right corner. You can answer it quickly by clicking on the Reply button.

Whenever you want to turn off text message forwarding, simply return to the Message settings on your iPhone and disable each or all the devices you previously allowed.

Check out other articles about the Messages app on iPhone:

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