If you have any Apple device, from an Apple Watch to a Mac, you probably use iMessage. Characterized by the iconic blue chat bubbles, you can customize many features of the service. But learning how to change these iMessage settings is the key to making the service work for you.
We’ll take a deep dive into iMessage settings below. You can change how you send messages, how you receive them, and everything in between on all your Apple devices. Stick around while we cover all of the ins and outs of iMessage settings.
Let’s get started!
iMessage Settings Explained
iMessage is a versatile messaging service that lets iPhone, iPad, and Mac users send internet-based messages rather than SMS-based communications. Whereas SMS-based communications transfer data through cell phone towers, iMessage can send messages to any iCloud-based device via Wi-Fi, Mobile Hotspot, or cellular data.
The service is free to anyone with an iCloud account and is available globally. In addition to iMessage’s user-friendly interface, you can tailor the service to match your needs. Here are some settings that you can tweak in iMessage:
- Read receipts
- Send/Receive address
- Text forwarding
- Send as SMS (when an internet signal isn’t available, try the cell phone towers)
- MMS messages (images, links, videos, etc.)
- Blocking senders
- Low-quality images to save space
- Keep all iMessages for a short time or forever
Clearly, there are a lot of settings. However, we’ve outlined all the options in helpful sections below. You can skip forward to the one you need right now or read them all and become an iMessage expert.
Where are the Message Settings?
Of course, before we can teach you how to change your iMessage settings, we need to help you locate all possible options. Believe it or not, not all iMessage settings are in the same place.
iMessage Settings on iOS
iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch users can change their iMessage or notifications settings. Of course, all of your iOS iMessage settings are in the Settings app on your device. But the option you choose depends on what you want to do.
For example, if you want to change how you receive alerts from every contact, you can go to the Notification option in the settings. If you want to change how you receive alerts or share your location with individual contacts, open the Messaging app.
If you want to change your MMS settings or Read receipts, open the iOS Settings app.
iMessage Settings on Mac
Mac users can enjoy the benefits of iMessage too. However, accessing the iMessage settings is quite different from iOS instructions.
If you want to change your notification settings for all your contacts, go to the Apple menu.
On the contrary, if you want to change iMessage settings for individual contacts, open the Message app and go to the specific conversation.
Finally, you’ll access your iMessage app settings by opening the Message app and going to the Message settings.
iMessage Settings on Apple Watch
The Apple Watch doesn’t give us as many settings as an iOS or macOS device because all of its functionality ties into its companion iPhone.
However, you can disable all notifications (not just iMessage) in the Apple Watch’s settings. You can also disable the Show message summary and Show full summary features from the watch itself.
Any other Apple Watch iMessage settings are on your iPhone’s Watch App.
How to Change iMessage Notification Settings on iOS
One of the first things you can change is your iMessage notification settings. We have a full article here on how to change iMessage notifications, but let’s take a moment to show you where to go:
Step 1: Open the Settings
To change iMessage notifications settings for all of your contacts, open the Settings app.
Step 2: Tap Notifications
Tap Notifications near the top of the menu.
Step 3: Tap Messages
You can change the notification settings for all your apps on this page. Tap Messages to change the iMessage notifications.
Step 4: Change the Settings
Scroll down the page changing the iMessage notifications settings that fit your needs.
How to Change iMessage Settings on iOS
If you want to change any iMessage settings like SMS or MMS settings, send and receive addresses, etc., follow the below steps:
Step 1: Open Settings
Similar to the steps above, open the Settings app.
Step 2: Tap Messages
Unlike the notifications section, stay on the Settings home page. Scroll down until you see Messages. Then, tap it.
Step 3: Change the iMessage Settings
Now you can enable Focus (Do not disturb), disable iMessage, disable read receipts, and change your iMessage send/receive settings.
How to Change Individual Contact iMessage Settings on iOS
Finally, if you want to tweak an individual contact’s iMessage settings, follow the below steps.
Step 1: Open the Conversation
Open the Message app on your iOS device and select a conversation between you and the contact with the settings you’d like to change.
Helpful hint: This works for group iMessages too.
Step 2: Tap Their Contact Card
There’s a contact card with the contact’s profile picture and name at the top of the conversation. Tap it.
Step 3: Change the iMessage Settings
Now you can hide alerts from that individual, disable or enable read receipts, and change your location sharing preferences.
Helpful hint: Tap the info option to change the Contacts information or block the individual.
How to Change iMessage Notification Settings on macOS
If you’re a Mac user, you probably want to change some of your iMessage notification settings. Perhaps you don’t want the constant dings of iMessages, or you don’t want your iMessage summaries appearing in the upper right corner of your Mac.
No matter the reason, you can tweak your iMessage notification settings on your Mac. Here’s what to do.
Step 1: Click the Apple Menu
Your Mac’s menu is the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen. Click the Apple icon.
Step 2: Click System Settings
A drop-down menu will appear, and you can click System Settings (System Settings for older macOS versions).
Step 3: Click Notifications
Now click the Notifications tab (Notifications icon for older macOS versions.
Step 4: Click Messages
Click Messages to access the Message settings.
Step 5: Change iMessage Settings
Change any settings on this new page that you’d like.
How to Change iMessage Settings on macOS
If you want to change more in-depth iMessage settings on a Mac, follow these steps.
Step 1: Open the Message App
Instead of the Mac settings, we’ll open the Message app first.
Step 2: Click the Messages
The menu at the top of your Mac will change after you open the app. Click Messages at the very top of your Mac’s screen.
Step 3: Click Settings
In the Messages drop-down menu, select Settings.
Step 4: Change the iMessage Settings
Now you can click through the three icons at the top to change your send/receive addresses, how long you keep messages, and more.
How to Change Individual Contact Settings on macOS
Similar to the instructions for iOS, you can also change individual contact iMessage settings. Here’s how:
Step 1: Open the Conversation
Open the Message app and click on the conversation.
Step 2: Click the i Icon
Click the i icon in the top right section of the conversation.
Step 3: Change the Settings
Now you can hide alerts, disable or enable read receipts, and change your location sharing settings.
How to Change iMessage Settings for watchOS
Apple’s Watch settings are much different than any other Apple device. First, there are far fewer controls for an Apple Watch than, say, an iPad or Mac. Second, your Apple Watch is technically a companion device. For the most part, it’s going to do whatever your iPhone does (and yes, you must pair it with an iPhone to change any iMessage settings).
However, you can use the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and tweak the notifications, default replies, read receipts, and sounds. If you have followed the steps above and perfected your iPhone’s iMessage settings, you can also mirror your iPhone settings on your Apple Watch to simplify things.
Here’s what to do.
Step 1: Open the Apple Watch App
Locate the Apple Watch App on your iPhone.
Step 2: Tap Messages
Scroll down the app’s home page and tap on Messages.
Step 3: Change Your Apple Watch Settings
Now you can tap Custom to enable or disable iMessage features on your Apple Watch. You can also tap Mirror to keep your Apple Watch iMessage settings the same as your iPhone. Or you can tap Default Replies to add replies and use the one-tap feature to respond to iMessages.
Helpful hint: Open the Settings App on your Apple Watch and tap Notifications to disable the notifications quickly. Then, toggle the features you want to enable or disable, so the switches turn green or grey, respectively.
iMessage Settings Changed
We’ve covered a lot of helpful information in this article. You can change your iMessage settings on any device. But knowing where to go and how to change the settings can become overwhelming quickly. However, once you know where to find what you’re looking for, you can create a sense of peace or ensure you receive the most urgent messages quickly.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©DenPhotos/Shutterstock.com.