iMessage won’t sync on Mac and iPad? Troubleshooting guide

Connecting Apple devices with one Apple ID and syncing iMessages is one of the best features of Apple devices. Unfortunately, there’re times when the system malfunctions, and for some reason, iMessage won’t sync on Mac and iPad. Therefore, you risk missing some messages if your iPhone is not close by.

We want to discuss the causes for iMessages not syncing on iPad and Mac and the best troubleshooting solutions to help you out. Read on for more information.

How to sync messages from iPhone to Mac

To receive and send messages on your Mac, you must set up the syncing from iPhone to Mac. But, to achieve that, your device should meet the following requirements:

  • iPhone must have iOS 8.1 or a later version.
  • You must sign in to iMessage on both devices using the same Apple ID.

Next, follow the steps below:

  • Open Settings on your iPhone.
  • Go to Messages.
  • Tap on Text Message Forwarding.
  • Check the list of devices and turn on your Mac.
  • If you’re not using two-factor authentication for your Apple ID, a six-digit activation code will be sent to your Mac and other connected iDevices.
  • Enter the code in your iPhone.
  • Tap on Allow.

READ: How to fix the activation could not be found error on iPhone

Why your iMessages don’t sync on Mac and iPad

After the set-up is complete, incoming messages will appear on your iPhone and Mac. Messages sent to non-iPhone users will be sent as SMS messages, while those going to iPhone users will be sent as iMessage when you activate the feature in Settings > Messages > iMessage. So, why won’t iMesages sync on Mac and iPad?

  • iMessage is disabled.
  • Network issues.
  • The servers are down.
  • You’re not logged in to the same Apple ID.
  • Outdated OS.

How to fix iMessage not syncing on Mac and iPad

Here are the troubleshooting solutions for iMessage not syncing on Mac BigSur:

1. Activate iMessage

On iPhone:

  • Go to Settings > Messages > Toggle On iMessage.
  • Next, tap on Send and Receive.
  • Tap on Use your Apple ID for iMessage.
  • Sign in to the Apple ID you use on devices you want to sync.
  • Under You can receive iMessage to and reply from, confirm your phone number, Apple ID, and other emails you added for iMessage are checked.
  • Under Start New conversation from, select your phone number. However, you can select any emails if you prefer using them.
  • Go back to Settings > Facetime.
  • Under You can be reached by Facetime at, check your phone number and Apple ID.

On Mac:

  • Go to your Application Folder and open the Message app.
  • Log in with your Apple ID.
  • Click on Messages, followed by Preferences.
  • Check the top of the pop-up menu and click on iMessages.
  • Confirm the Apple ID at the top is the same one logged in to your iPhone.
  • Under You can be reached on iMessage at, check your Apple ID, phone number, and all emails added for iMessage.
  • Under Start New conversation from, select whatever you selected on iPhone.

On iPad

  • Go to Settings > Messages.
  • Sign in with your Apple ID when prompted to.
  • Tap on Send & Receive.
  • Check the Apple ID at the top if it’s the same one in your iPhone and Mac.
  • Under You can receive iMessages to and reply from, check your phone number and all the emails for your iMessage.
  • Under Start new conversation from, select from the options on iPhone and iPad.

2. Switch on Messages in iCloud

Ensure you’re using messages in iCloud. Here is how to turn on the feature in Settings:


  • Open Settings on your iPhone.
  • Tap on your name at the top.
  • Tap on iCloud.
  • Scroll down and toggle On Messages.


  • Launch Messages on your Mac.
  • Go to the Menu bar and select Messages, then Preferences.
  • Click on iMessage.
  • Click on the checkbox next to Enable Messages in iCloud.


  • Open Settings on your iPad.
  • Tap on your name at the top.
  • Tap on iCloud.
  • Scroll down and toggle On Messages.

Confirm you’re signed in to iMessage with the same Apple ID on your iPhone, Mac, and iPad. If the Apple ID doesn’t match the one on your iPhone, tap on it, then follows the prompts to Sign out and Sign in with the right Apple ID.

READ: How to leave a group text on iPhone

3. Turn iMessage Off, then back On

Reboot your iMessage feature on iPhone and Mac to see if it’ll start syncing.

On iPhone:

  • Go to Settings > Messages > Toggle Off iMessage.
  • Wait for a minute or two, then toggle On iMessage.


  • Open the iMessages app.
  • Go to Messages > Preferences > Account.
  • Under Apple ID, uncheck Enable Account.
  • Wait for a minute or two, then check the feature to activate it.

On iPad

  • Open Settings > Messages > Toggle Off iMessage.
  • Wait for a few minutes to toggle On iMessage.

4. Check the servers

Still, text messages are not showing on a MacBook pro? Check the iMessage system status.

If iMessage or iCloud servers are down, the messages won’t sync across your devices. You’ll have to wait until Apple fixes the issue.

5. Use the device to send a message

When you discover that only one device is not syncing messages, use it to send a message to trigger an update of the system. It could help to update and sync your messages across the different iDevices.

Additionally, you can delete previous iMessage conversations and see if the messages will start to sync.

6. Reset network settings

iMessage requires your internet network to work. So, if the network settings are messed up, you might experience delayed messages or won’t receive iMessages at all on certain devices. To fix this, try and reset your network settings on your iPhone using the guide below:

  • Open Settings on iPhone.
  • Go to General.
  • Scroll down and select Transfer/Reset.
  • Tap on Reset Network Settings.
  • After the reset is complete, check if your iMessage syncing works on Mac and iPad.

Also, you can troubleshoot your internet network and confirm all your devices are connected.

  • If you’re using Wi-Fi, switch it off and then back On.
  • Switch to cellular data on your iPhone.
  • Connect your iPad and Mac to a different ISP or Hotspot with your iPhone.
  • If the Network is okay and still iMessage won’t sync on Mac and iPad, move to the next solution.

7. Update your OS

Running outdated software on your device could also prevent iMessage from syncing on Mac and iPad. Update your device’s OS immediately to clear bugs, glitches, and viruses.

  • How to Update your iPhone and iPad: Go to Settings > General > Software Update.
  • How to update Mac: Go to the Apple Menu > Click System Preferences > Software Update.

These tips should help you sync iMessages on Mac and iPad seamlessly. Let us know if you encounter other iMessage issues on your device. Our team will research and get you the right answers.

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