How to Text to an iPhone From a Mac

By Aaron Parson

The Messages app, first included with OS X Mountain Lion, can send text messages between Mac and iOS platforms, connecting you to your friends and family whether they're at home or on the road. With Messages, you don't need to remember the correct email address format for texting each cell carrier brand -- just type a contact into the app to send a free iMessage to an iPhone.

Step 1

Open the Messages app on your Mac. The first time you use the program, it prompts you to sign in with your Apple ID -- the same email address and password you use when shopping on iTunes or the App Store. If you've never used any of these services, create a new free Apple ID.

Step 2

Type the Apple ID or iPhone cell number of the person you want to text into the "To" box. If you already have the person in your contacts list, you can also enter his name.

Step 3

Click in the text box at the bottom of the Messages window and type your message. Press "Enter" to send it. Sent messages and replies you receive appear above the text box.

Step 4

Press the "Add Message" button -- an icon of a paper and pencil -- to start a new text to a different person. Starting a new text won't erase an ongoing conversation, so you can chat with several people simultaneously.

Step 5

Pick a contact from the contacts to resume an existing conversation. If the list is too long to use easily, enter a name in the search bar to narrow the list. By using the conversation list, you avoid having to retype a contact's info in the "To" bar.

Tips & Warnings

  • To add people to your contacts list, open the Contacts application. You don't have to add contacts before sending texts but doing so makes each contact's name appear by his conversation in Messages.
  • Sending and receiving iMessages on an iPhone requires iOS 5 or later and a Wi-Fi or cellular connection.
  • Information in this article applies to OS X 10.9. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions.