With the cool updates to iMessage in iOS 10, many iPhone and other iDevice users want access to iMessage on their personal computers, so chatting with friends and family continues on all types of devices–at home and at work. Many of us iFolks have Apple computers so keeping up with iMessage is really easy. But there are also quite a few of us who have Windows PCs, at home and especially at work. So how do we get iMessage talking on ALL our machines?
- 0.1 What About a Browser Based iMessage?
- 0.2 A Quick Word for Mac Personal Computer Users
- 1 How to Access iMessage and Messages With Your Windows PC
- 1.1 iMessage Through Remote Access to Mac
- 1.2 How to Access iMessage and Messages By Jailbreaking
- 1.3 How to Jailbreak your iPhone or other iDevice
- 1.4 iMessage for Android Users
- 1.5 Summary
What About a Browser Based iMessage?
You’d think Apple would have an online browser based service for iMessage, so checking in no matter where we are is easily. But alas, there currently is no online service for getting iMessages online! The standard thought is that Apple wants to keep its services limited to its own iDevices and mac computers. That leaves millions of us, maybe even billions of us in the dark, unable to access iMessage when we are at work or using our home Windows PC.
But today, I have good news. There are some options available for all of us Windows users (and Linux/UNIX too) so we too send and receive iMessages, no matter where we are.
Following these relatively simple steps makes it easier than ever to stay in contact with the people that matter most across your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and even your own Windows PC.
So without further ado, here’s how we do it.
A Quick Word for Mac Personal Computer Users
Back in 2012, Apple released iMessage as a stock application in Mountain Lion (10.8.) From that OS onwards, your Mac’s Messages application lets you pick up conversations on your computer right where you left off on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Messages for Mac is completely free and works with anyone who has iMessage activated on their iOS, OS X, and macOS devices.
To get iMessage on your mac computer
First, verify that the application is on your machine. Look for “Messages” in Spotlight Search or via your Applications folder. In case you do not have Messages installed, verify that you are running OS Mountain Lion (10.8) or higher. If not, download the latest OS that your mac computer allows.
Supposing your OS is up-to-date and you still do not have Messages, visit the mac app store and download the Messages application from there.
Once Messages is on your computer, open the application and sign in with your apple ID and password. Messages only works with your apple ID and password, so you must have an account to use iMessage on any device, including iPhones, iDevices, and computers.
After signing in with your apple ID and password, Messages automatically downloads and syncs any previous conversations used with that apple ID. So you pick up right where you left off and that new conversation syncs to all your iDevices and computers associated with that same apple ID.
Once Messages is set-up, you’re free to send text messages, voice messages, pictures and videos all through internet.
What about multiple Apple IDs and iMessage
You cannot log into multiple accounts at once. You are able to use more than one Apple ID with Messages and iMessage. But you must switch between those Apple IDs and passwords manually each and every time you want to use a different Apple ID.
How to Access iMessage and Messages With Your Windows PC
iMessage Through Remote Access to Mac
One workaround for getting iMessage on your PC is to utilize Chrome’s great Remote Desktop feature. To get this going, you do need a mac computer to set things up. What Chrome Remote Desktop provides is access to iMessages by connecting your Windows PC to your mac computer remotely. The major downside is that you are only able to access iMessages when the mac computer is turned on. And you need your Apple ID.
With Chrome Remote Desktop, all connections are fully secured. Access other computers or even allow another user to access your computer securely over the Internet. Everything is done via Chrome browser.
Using Chrome Remote Desktop
- Download and install Chrome Remote Desktop on both the Windows and Mac PCs
- On the Mac go to Remote Desktop extension and note the access code.
- You need this code to create the connection
- Now open the Chrome Remote Desktop app on your PC
- Provide the access code by opening Remote Desktop extension
- Once connected, you see a screen that shows your Mac desktop
- Now use iMessage remotely from this PC
As a reminder, you need access to a Mac computer when implementing this method. And that mac must be turned ON. Otherwise, this tip won’t work.
Chrome Remote Desktop is also fully cross-platform, providing remote assistance to Windows, Mac, and Linux users and access to your Windows (XP+) and Mac (OS X 10.6+) desktops at any time, all from the Chrome browser.
How to Access iMessage and Messages By Jailbreaking
Currently, the only other way to access iMessage on a browser is to jailbreak your iPhone. Jailbreaking is basically replacing the actual iOS with a new operating system that provides more flexibility. You change the way your iDevice looks and feels and get to choose a ton of custom apps, tweaks, and add-ons that aren’t available in Apple’s official App store. Jailbreaking gives you the type of customization Android users are accustomed to. And among these many tweaks is the ability to use iMessages from anywhere on the internet. You even get your iPhone restored to factory settings afterwards.
A Word of Caution
We do NOT recommend most users jailbreak their iPhones or other iDevices. Jailbreaking automatically voids your warranty and any additionally purchased AppleCare+. You also run the risk of “bricking” your iDevice, encountering a lot of bugs, and a higher risk of security breaches and planted malware. So jailbreaking your iPhone is really for iFolks who feel very comfortable working and troubleshooting their iPhones and other iDevices.
Going for it
For the brave of heart, ready to make the jailbreaking leap there are also a lot of pluses. Jailbroken iPhones have access to Cydia, an alternative to Apple’s App Store for “jailbroken” iDevices. Cydia is not available in the app store. Rather, it’s installed on your iPhone using a “jailbreaking” tool, such as Pangu, TaiG, and others.
Jailbreaking allows you to fully customize your iPhone to your liking and even download apps that Apple currently prohibits. This includes things like customizing your lock screen, setting your own default apps, customizing control center, adding Touch ID or 3D Touch even for older devices, and creating shortcuts and other adjustments to the User Interface. And of course, jailbreaking your iPhone or other iDevice gives you access to iMessage across all types of devices.
How to Jailbreak your iPhone or other iDevice
Before you even consider jailbreaking your iPhone, make sure you perform backups of your current iDevice preferably in at least 2 locations (cloud-based and local). Check out our article on backing up following our 2X2 rule.
Once you have your backups, best practice is to restore your iDevice using iTunes. Having your iDevice clean yields to better results with the jailbreak.
The next step is downloading the jailbreak software onto your computer, Windows or Mac. Run the software and follow the steps to move through the jailbreak process. Once the jailbreak OS is installed, look for an icon called Cydia. If it’s not there, download it. Cydia is basically your jailbroken app store.
Next, you need to purchase an App called Remote Messages. With this app iMessages is available to you online for all types of devices and computers, including Windows. All you need to do is provide authentication credentials and then use your iPhone’s IP address on the browser followed by :333. You are required to login to have full access to iMessages.
iMessage for Android Users
We were really hoping that iOS 10 included a release of iMessage for Android users. But alas, no! So for those folks using Android phones there are some options for you, including apps like iMessage Android and others available from the Google Play Store Using these apps allows you to iMessage between iPhones, other iDevices, Mac computers, and your Android phones. This means you send texts to iDevice users all from your Android phone–a truly cross-device chat experience.
We hope that someday soon, Apple releases a cross-platform version of iMessage for all types of devices and operating systems. An online messaging service is ideal, so we are able to access our iMessages and conversations anytime, from anywhere including work. Unfortunately, that day is not here yet so we have to use workarounds like Chrome Remote Desktop.
However, there are a ton of non-Apple message apps that cross all platforms already and include support for PCs. Whatsapp, Viber, Kik, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, and even Skype are some of the most popular iMessage alternatives. Facebook Messenger and Telegram are particularly robust, pretty much working on anything via a web browser. We love that! Let us know in the comments if you have a favorite messaging app that works across all your devices and PCs–we love to hear from all of you.
Happy iMessaging and messaging (if using iMessage alternatives)!