Text messages & phone calls on Mac

Modern OS X and iOS make your Mac and iPhone & iPad work better together. You can start an email on the iPhone and finish it on the computer, view a web page in Safari or a location in Apple Maps on the Mac and hand off to the iPhone, or use the iPhone’s internet on your laptop when you’re in a place without wi-fi. Learn more about the new features here.

Your Mac can send and receive texts from any mobile phone (even non-iPhones). Even better,  it can make phone calls as well. When your iPhone rings you can see who’s calling on your Mac, and answer the call using the Mac as a speakerphone. Even transfer the call to the iPhone as you head out the door.  You’ll need the latest OS X on your Mac and iOS on iPhone. Here’s how to customize the behavior. 

Using text messaging on your Mac

If your Mac isn’t set up for text messaging, see Configuring texts (below) first.

  1. Open the Messages app in the dock or Launchpad.
  2. Scroll through the list of recent correspondents and select one to see the conversation. To delete a conversation, select it and press the delete key.
  3. To find a conversation, type a name or other text in the search box. Messages finds all matching conversations.
  4. Select the name of a recent person.
  5. Or click the new message button to the right of the search box. Address it by email address, number or name (if the person is in your Contacts app). You can send to several people at once.
  6. Type your message in the box in the lower right. Or drag a photo or other file here. Press return to send.
  7. To send a short audio clip, click the microphone button in the lower right. Click the stop button and Send or Cancel.

Using FaceTime & phone calls on your Mac

If your Mac isn’t set up for phone calls, see Configuring FaceTime & iPhone calls (below) first.

  1. Open the FaceTime app in the dock or Launchpad.
  2. Scroll through the list of recent calls. To delete one, select it and press the delete key. Click Video or Audio at the top to filter the list.
  3. Or click the box at the top left and type an email address, number or name (if the person is in your Contacts app).
  4. Click the video or phone icon to the right of the name, number or email address to make a call. Video calls can only be placed to other Apple users.
  5. Click the green zoom icon to take video calls full-screen.
  6. When you’re finished talking, click the red phone icon to disconnect.

Configuring texts on your Mac

Not set up for texting from your Mac? Or want to turn this feature off?

  1. On your iPhone, tap Settings and then Messages. Tap Send & Receive to see which Apple ID you’re using, or sign in here.
  2. On your Mac, open the Messages app in the dock or Launchpad.
  3. Click the Messages menu and choose Preferences.
  4. Click Accounts and select your iMessage account.
  5. Sign in with your Apple ID. It must match the one used on your iPhone. Sign out if its incorrect and sign in, or leave it signed out if you never want to see texts on your Mac.
  6. Choose Start New Conversations From and set it to the same as it is on your iPhone. We recommend starting converstations from your mobile phone number.
  7. You can also control the devices receiving texts from your iPhone. On the phone, tap Settings then Messages and Text Message Forwarding.

Configuring FaceTime & iPhone calls on your Mac

Not set up for calls from your Mac? Or want to turn this feature off?

  1. On your iPhone, tap Settings and iCloud. Tap Send & Receive to see which Apple ID you’re using, or sign in here.
  2. Go back to Settings and tap FaceTime. Sign in with your Apple ID if you haven’t already done so.
  3. On your Mac, open System Preferences and click iCloud.
  4. Sign in with your Apple ID. You can select items to sync with your iPhone but even with everything turned off you’ll be able to receive phone calls on your Mac.
  5. Open the FaceTime app in the dock or Launchpad.
  6. Click the FaceTime menu and choose Preferences, then click Settings.
  7. Sign in with your Apple ID or sign out if you never want to use FaceTime on your Mac.
  8. If you’re signed into FaceTime, you can check or uncheck iPhone Cellular Calls or change the ringtone here. When iPhone Cellular calls is unchecked, only video FaceTime calls go through to the Mac.
  9. Having trouble making phone calls on the Mac? On the phone, tap Settings then FaceTime and turn on iPhone Cellular Calls.

Getting too many texts or calls while you work? Click the Notification icon (three bars) in the upper-right corner of the Mac menu bar. Click Today, point to today’s date and swipe down to reveal the Do Not Disturb option.

Or change the way your Mac notifies you of an incoming text or call. You’ll find these options in System Preferences – Notifications. You can set times or situations when you don’t want to be disturbed.

Learn more Mac basics.

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