How do I get a phone number on iMessage?

Q: How do I create my own phone number or at least get a new number on iMessage? It’s kind of hard using my e-mail as a phone number.

A: The short answer is that there isn’t any way to assign a phone number to iMessage manually. In other words, you can’t actually punch a number in anywhere on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or even Apple’s website.

How do I get a phone number on iMessage?

If you have an active iPhone, that device’s phone number automatically gets used for iMessage, and if you don’t have an iPhone, the only way to get a phone number into iMessage for your other devices is to get an iPhone.

The process of associating your iPhone number to your iMessage account is actually almost completely transparent: Once you sign into iMessage with your Apple ID, your phone number should automatically get associated with your Apple ID and appear on your other iMessage devices — any Macs, iPads, and iPods signed in with the same account.

Note that if you’re using an iPhone there’s technically no need to sign in with your Apple ID simply to use iMessage — your phone number will work out of the box without any Apple ID requirement — but signing in allows you to send and receive iMessages on your iPhone using your e-mail address.

It will also allow you to transfer your phone number to your Apple ID so that it can be used on other devices.

Keep in mind as well that even if you have a phone number configured for iMessage on a non-iPhone device like an iPad, you can still only exchange messages with other users who are using iMessage — you won’t be able to send actual SMS messages to non-Apple devices from your iPad, as these still must be sent out directly via the cellular network, which can only be accessed through an iPhone. For more information, check out our Guide to FaceTime + iMessage Setup, Use, and Troubleshooting.