iMessage lets you send and receive SMS-like text messages, and MMS-style multimedia messages just like a phone through your iCloud account. Instead of a just a phone number, however, it can use your email address, and it only works with other iPads, iPhones, and Macs. Before you can start using iMessage, you'll need to set it up; here's how you do it!

How to activate iMessage for iPhone or iPad

If you set up your iPhone using iCloud, chances are iMessage was activated along with it. If not, or if you ever need to re-activate it, it's simple to do!

  1. Launch Settings From your home screen.
  2. Tap Messages.
  3. Tap the iMessage On/Off switch. The switch will be green when it's been turned on.

    Launch Settings, tap messages, turn iMessage on

You can repeat these steps at any time to turn off the ability to send and receive iMessages.

How to turn read receipts on or off in iMessage for iPhone or iPad

Read receipts let your contacts see whether or not you've viewed their iMessages. While some people may consider read receipts creepy, others may find them useful for work and business situations.

  1. Launch Settings from your home screen.
  2. Tap Messages.
  3. Tap the Send Read Receipts On/Off switch. The switch will be green when it's been turned on.

    launch app, then tap on messages, then turn on or off read receipts

How to turn message previews on or off in iMessage for iPhone and iPad

By default, iOS will show a short preview of your iMessage on both the Lock screen and Home screen. If you'd rather have your notification only show the sender's name, however, you can easily adjust the settings of the Messages app to do so.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Notifications.

    tap settings, then notifications

  3. Tap Messages.
  4. Tap Show Previews.
  5. Tap the option you'd like. Your options are as follows:

    • Always
    • When Unlocked (Default)
    • Never

      Tap Messages, tap Show Previews, tap Always, When Unlocked, or Never

Any questions?

Sound off in the comments below.

Updated July 2018: Updated for iOS 12!

iOS

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