iMessage not delivering

Introduced along iOS 5, iMessage is a messaging service developed by Apple that allows users to communicate between each other. One of the main benefits of iMessage is that it syncs your communications between any device that you have enabled. For instance, you can receive an iMessage on your iPhone, and theoretically, the same message should be on your Mac.

But that is all theory, because in practice, it doesn’t always works the way it should. In some cases, iMessages won’t sync between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, leaving you to wonder what is going on. If the cause of the problem often is a human error, it appears that sometimes a slight technical glitch can be at the root of the issue.

In this post, I will show you several ways to fix your iMessages not syncing between your devices…

Check where you can be reached at

Depending on your devices, you can be reached on iMessage via your phone number, and/or email addresses. In most cases, you can be reached at the phone number linked to your iPhone, and your Apple ID email addresses. On top of that, you can add additional email addresses from where you can send and receive iMessages.

Adding an email address to iMessage doesn’t necessarily mean this iMessage ID is active though. I recently found that out the hard way. For a few days, I complained that not all the iMessages I received were making their way to my Mac. Some of them did, but some of them didn’t.

After tinkering in the Messages preferences on my Mac, I quickly realized that one of my iMessage email addresses for iMessage was there, but it wasn’t active, thus me not receiving messages sent to this address.

To make sure you have activated all email addresses you want to use with iMessage, check out both your Mac and iPhone or iPad settings.

On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive > and look under “you can be reached by iMessage at.” There you should make sure all the email addresses you use for iMessage on your other devices are active on this device as well.

imessage not syncing

On your Mac, you can check the same details by going to Messages > Preferences > Accounts, and check the boxes for the email addresses and/or phone number you want to be reached at.

iMessage can be reach at on Mac

In order to receive the same messages on all your devices, you have to make sure the same number and email addresses are active on each device.

Send a message from the device that is not receiving messages

For some reason, my iPhone always seems to get iMessages on time, with my iMac lagging behind. I’m not sure what the reason is but I sometimes imagine that iMessages are pushed in priority to the device you are currently using or that you have recently used to send or receive a message. This is all me making this up but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some truth to it though.

With that being said, it sometimes seems my iMac just won’t receive any message, while my iPhone, sitting right next to my iMac, gets all the messages. An unorthodox fix I have come to figure out is to simply send a message from the iMac (or the device that is not receiving messages).

As soon as I send a message from my iMac, all past messages that didn’t make their way to me are suddenly all coming in, as if they were waiting for me to show any sign of activity from my Mac.

This usually fixes my syncing problems.

Sign off and on of iMessage

Filed under the technical glitch label, this solution also seems to work more often than not when the solution offered above doesn’t work.

On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Messages > and toggle off iMessage at the top. Wait a few seconds and turn it back on.

On your Mac, go to Messages > Preferences… > Accounts. Make sure iMessage is selected in the left column, then click Sign Out. Once signed out, wait a few seconds then sign back in.

Hopefully one of these solutions will fix issues that prevent iMessages from showing on all your devices.

  • veda99

    need tutorial for itunes sync 🙁 Not able to sync songs to iphone since iOS 8 Beta 1

    • Could be a bug with iOS 8. I never have problems syncing music though as I’m an iTunes Match subscriber so I just download everything onto my device as and when I feel like it from within the Music app…

    • John Wickham

      No, you need to wait for iOS 8 to be finished. Of course there will be bugs in an unfinished, pre–release software build.

  • PamsPoshPretties

    Thank you so much!! I figured it out thanks to you 😀

  • Anni Bricca

    Thank you!

  • kotis

    my iPhone seems up to date, but my osx mac misses some of the messages in the stream. Is it possible to cause missing messages to update (fill in missing messages in the sequence).

  • Evelyn

    Thanks for this! #3 did the trick for me

  • mahadragon

    This worked for me, 7 blessings to you! 🙂

  • Ashley bury

    Is there any fix for them not syncing read messages. For example: If I don’t turn on my Mac for a few days I will get all the messages Iv received during that time coming through as unread.

  • Lance Olenik

    Many thanks! I did not have my Apple ID active under the Send/Receive settings on my iPhone. Once I added that, it worked perfect.

    • Deepesh Chetariyil

      Thank you so much…if you hadn’t mentioned this, I’d have gone mad!

  • Ritesh Malik

    it cost 5 inr each time you toggle on or off imessage in settings

  • Matthew Davies

    Thank you. This worked perfectly for me. Appreciate it being so well written too.

  • Photoretouchpro

    Thanks, just going to settings, messages on my iPhone and signing in to iCloud there fixed it. Not sure why it disconnected in the first place though.

  • Chase Lord

    Thank you! Super helpful!!

  • being mikel

    I had this problem and I had to do this to solve the issue: Go to Settings, Messages, and toggle iMessage off and then back on. This will reset the text message forwarding feature on your iPhone so the messages get sent to your laptop or other apple device. 🙂

  • Marcus Robinette

    Take this shit down! you’re cluttering the search results with your 3 year old bullshit.

  • Alma Miranda

    Finally! Thank you so much. Sending form one of the devices to the non receiving one, did the trick.