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iMessage question


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 28, 2010
I'm going to be getting my mum an iPad 2 for her birthday. I have an iPhone so obviously we'll be using iMessage, but she doesn't have an iPhone, the iPad will be her only iOS device.

My question is, how will iMessage work for me, because i'll have both her iPad email address and her mobile number in my phone and because the iPad will always be on, but the iPad won't always be with her, how will i send a message so that it goes to her phone rather than the iPad?

Will the only way to do it be to have two separate contacts for her, one with email address for iMessage and one with the phone number for standard texting?


macrumors regular
Dec 10, 2009
You can have one contact her, but you'll have two different text conversations in you message app (one for her phone and one for her email). When you send the first iMessage to start a new conversation you will have to specifically select her email address, not just her contact name, in order for the message to be sent as an iMessage.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 6, 2011
CA Central Coast
Your message to your mum should automatically shift between iMessage and SMS (to a non-iDevice). Green bubbles for SMS, blue for iMessage tell you which one is being used. iMessage uses the internet connection (wifi if your mum doesn't have a 3G capability on her iPhone.) SMS uses the 3G connection and the wifi (to non-iDevice).

If her iPad is off, the message should shift to the phone number on its own - at least that's what I understand.


macrumors 65816
Sep 19, 2007
left coast, US
Just to make things clearer:

  • Yes, you'll need to send messages to two different places. The only way to solve that is to get her an iPhone. :p
  • iMessages sent to a phone number go only to the phone. In your mum's case, since she doesn't have an iPhone, it'll get sent via SMS. Keep in mind that, if she ever gets an iPhone, this rule still holds: iMessages sent to a phone number go only to the phone (the iPhone), but the message will be sent, if possible, via the iMessage system and not SMS.
  • iMessages sent to a registered iMessage email address get sent to all iOS devices that are registered with that address (iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches). Since the only iOS device your mum will have is the iPad, the message will go to the iPad. If the iPad is off or is not accessible (no wifi or cell service available), the message should be held until the iPad gets access to wifi or cell service, or it might get sent as SMS after a few minutes, as Arelunde points out (sorry, I'm not sure). However, if the iPad is accessible, the message will go to the iPad and will definitely not get sent as SMS.
  • If your mum eventually gets an iPhone, you should send her messages to her registered email address (she can register more than one), and not her phone number. If properly set up, the message will go to both her iPad and iPhone.
Side note: Apple arguably borked the default iMessage settings on the iPhone. If you have both and iPad and iPhone, messages sent from them will be displayed as two separate threads (one for the iPhone and one for everything else). I don't feel like rehashing this, so go here:
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