Why Are iMessages Being Sent to Multiple Devices?

Messages App IconI published an article describing the difference between a text message and an iMessage, which has been quite popular and has generated some additional questions related to iMessage. This article will address one of the common issues, in which iMessages are being sent to multiple devices or to other family members.

The iMessages are related to your Apple ID. Therefore, any device that is setup to use your Apple ID is capable of receiving your iMessages. If you have an iPhone, the phone number is also associated with your Apple ID and all devices using the Apple ID can receive iMessages sent to your phone number. This is why iMessages sent to an iPhone number can be received on an iPad.

Setup iMessage

To setup iMessage on your device, open the Settings app and select Messages.

Messages Settings


Make sure the iMessage slider at the top of the screen is set to ON.

iMessage Slider


Next, select Send & Receive.

Send & Receive


In the window that appears, enter your Apple ID at the top of the screen. Below the Apple ID is a section titled “You Can Be Reached by iMessage at.” This section contains your iPhone number and the email addresses associated with your Apple ID. Make sure a check mark is beside each email address you want to use with iMessage. In the section titled “Start New Conversations From”, most people elect to use their phone number for sending and receiving iMessages.

Send & Receive Settings


Common Issues

iMessages Are Sent to Other Family Members

Many families share an Apple ID between family members. While this is helpful when it comes to sharing iTunes or App Store purchases, it can result in iMessages being shared between family members if things are not setup correctly. In addition to the shared Apple ID, each family member should have their own individual Apple ID for use with iMessage and iCloud. Make sure the individual Apple IDs are used in the iMessage and iCloud setup pages for each device. This will allow the sharing of purchases while keeping personal information, such as iMessages, Contacts, and Calendars, independent to each family member. Please see my article about managing multiple devices with a common Apple ID for additional information.


Receive iMessages on iPhone and Not an iPad

Occasionally, someone has both an iPhone and an iPad and doesn’t want iMessages delivered to both devices. In this situation, make sure the iPhone is correctly setup to receive iMessages (as described above). Then, if you don’t want to receive iMessages on your iPad, open the Settings app on the iPad, select Messages, select Send & Receive, tap your Apple ID, and select Sign Out. After you are signed out, set the iMessage slider to the OFF position.


If you have additional questions about the Messages app, please see my other articles about text messages and iMessages.