iMessages come in from email address instead of phone number
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: Why is it that when a previous contact in my address book updates their iPhone and then text me they show up as an iMessage under an email address they have instead of their phone number?
A: This actually has nothing to do with your own address book, but is instead a problem on the other person’s iPhone. iMessage can be used with a phone number or an email address, and iPhone users who have signed in with an Apple ID generally have both options available and can choose which one is used as their “From” address by going into Settings, Messages.
While the phone number is normally used by default, it needs to be registered with Apple’s servers when initially configuring or updating an iPhone. In some cases, if this registration doesn’t occur right away, the Messages app may default to using the person’s email address instead, in which case all of their messages will start appearing to come from that address.
To make matters even more confusing, unlike Messages on the Mac, the iOS Messages app doesn’t consolidate iMessage conversations from different addresses, even if they’re assigned to the same contact record. Further, once a conversation has been started from an email address, that conversation will continue to use that address, even if the user changes their default sender address in their iOS Messages settings. In short, much like many email clients, Messages always sends replies from the address the the original message was sent to, regardless of your default address settings.
This means you may actually see a new, separate conversation thread when the other person starts doing this, even if they are in your contacts under the same name. If you reply in that new separate conversation thread, you’ll continue using the email address to communicate with the person rather than their phone number. To force it to go back to their phone number, you either need to send a new message to their phone number, or switch back to an older conversation that is using the phone number.
That said, continuing the conversation with an email address instead of a phone number will work just fine, but you will lose the ability to fall back to traditional SMS messages should the other person be unreachable via iMessage.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Apple’s plan to open stores in India hits a snag
- iOS Spotlight search now offers relevant results for some emoji
- Cook discusses ambitious plan to beef up Apple Watch’s health monitoring
- New leak shows dual camera exclusive to ‘iPhone 7 Plus,’ but no Smart Connector
- Apple releases first developer betas for iOS 9.3.3, tvOS 9.2.2
- More iPhone 7 leaks surface, protruding camera seen
- Apple pulls iOS 9.3.2 update for 9.7” iPad Pro due to ‘bricking’ issues
- Report: CarPlay coming to BMW vehicles later this year
- Report: One iPhone model to use a glass casing next year
- Apple opening Maps development office in India
- OtterBox Symmetry Series Hybrid Case for 12.9” iPad Pro
- Logitech Logi BASE Charging Stand for iPad Pro
- Twelve South TimePorter for Apple Watch
- August Doorbell Cam
- August Smart Lock HomeKit enabled + Smart Keypad
- ecobee3 HomeKit-enabled smart Wi-Fi thermostat
- Zagg Now Cam
- Yantouch EyE Portable Wireless Speaker
- Netatmo Wind Gauge
- Incipio Stashback for iPhone 6/6s
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app
- Inside the betas: What’s new in iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 (Updated)
- Life with HomeKit: Our experiences with Apple’s home automation system
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)