When it comes to instant messaging, top contenders that are often brought up include WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Signal, and Telegram. These apps are accessible to both iOS and Android users and are available on Windows desktop (or through the web). However, one app that gets left out of the conversation is Apple’s iMessage, simply because there is no official way to access iMessage on PC or non-Apple devices. So, what do you do if you want to use iMessage on Windows as an iPhone, iPad, or Mac user? Let’s dive in and cover some commonly asked questions that come up about iMessage and Windows, as well as what the best methods are to access your iOS messages on Windows-based computers.
Can you use iMessage on a Windows PC?
The simple and straight answer to this question is no; you cannot use iMessage on a Windows PC. There is no official iMessage app for Windows that would allow you to access your messages on a Windows-based desktop computer.
Why iMessage is not available on a PC
The reason why you can’t use iMessage on a PC is that Apple has a closed ecosystem for its devices and applications – the iOS platform. This means that Apple has complete control over the software being used, including the operating system and what applications can be installed and the hardware being used (your iPhone/iPad/Mac). As such, there is no official iMessage app for Windows, and Apple has never made it available for non-Apple devices because of the closed ecosystem.
In addition to this, all of Apple’s messaging apps (including iMessage) use end-to-end encryption. If an iMessage app for Windows were to be created, it wouldn’t fit into Apple’s closed ecosystem – Windows being a different platform. Thus, the security of the messaging service would be compromised as end-to-end encryption wouldn’t work between the iOS iMessage version and the Windows version.
So, while there is no official way to use iMessage on a PC, there are some workaround methods you can use to access your messages when using a Windows computer.
Use Chrome Remote Desktop with your Mac to access iMessage on PC
One way that you can access your iMessages on a PC is by using the Chrome Remote Desktop app. This method requires you to have a Mac with iMessage and the Chrome browser installed, and it will allow you to access your Mac from your Windows or Linux computer remotely. To do this, you will need to toggle messages on your iPhone or Macbook first and then use the Chrome Remote Desktop app to access these messages remotely.
Toggling messaging on iPhone
On your iPhone, open up your settings application, tap onto your Apple ID, and then tap into iCloud. Once you’re in the iCloud menu, simply toggle on the messages so that it shows green under the toggled slider.
Toggling messaging on Macbook
On your Macbook, you will need to launch the messages application either from the desktop, from your dock, or from your launchpad. From here, you will need to sign in with your Apple ID and password and verify the login if you have two-factor authentication enabled. Now, do the following:
- Head into messages – preferences, and open iMessage.
- Enable your account (if it isn’t already), and then enable messages in the iCloud.
- Input your phone number and email addresses where your contacts can reach you and choose whether to allow the “send read receipts” option.
- Choose where you want the conversations to go to – a phone number or email.
- Finally, sync it all.
Once you’ve done the above, you must install Chrome Remote Desktop onto both your Mac and your Windows computer. Here is how to do this:
- In Google Chrome, head to the extensions store and search for the Chrome Remote Desktop app.
- Click the Add to Chrome button on the webpage.
- A prompt will come up, hit add extension.
- Wait for the extension to install to your Chrome browser.
- Do this for Mac and Windows via Google Chrome.
- Once installed, launch the Chrome Remote Desktop app on your Macbook and hit set up remote access in the Remote Access tab.
- This will prompt you to download & install the remote access files. Do this for both your Mac and Windows computers.
- Once installed on both machines, return to the Chrome Remote Desktop app on your Mac and choose to turn on remote access.
- On your Mac, click on remote support, and then generate code. This will give you a unique code that you use on the Chrome Remote Desktop app on your Windows computer.
- On your Windows PC, head to the remote access support tab, choose to give support and type in the generated code from the previous step and click connect.
- Now on your Mac, launch iMessage and watch it pop up and be usable on your Windows computer.
The above steps allow you to stream your iMessage app to your Windows PC unofficially by giving your Windows computer remote access.
Note: if you’re running into messages not coming through or getting cut off, make sure that your Macbook isn’t going into sleep mode when idle. To prevent the computer from sleeping automatically when the display goes off, select this option in the system preferences – energy saver menu. Also, toggle on the wake for WiFi network option to make sure that the computer is staying on when WiFi is engaged.
Use an iOS emulator to get iMessage on Windows 10 without a Mac
If you do a quick search online for a list of iOS emulators, the most popular one that comes up is iPadian. And while other online tech articles will recommend this as a viable method, we do not.
This is because iPadian is an iOS simulator – not an emulator. An iOS simulator is a program that imitates the design, appearance, or basic features of an Apple device, while an emulator actually reproduces the actions of Apple’s system (plays apps). iPadian notes on their website that they do not support iMessage. While you can definitely download iPadian to your Windows computer and simulate other apps, iMessage likely will not work. Since iPadian has a cost associated with it, we don’t recommend this option for a chance that it “may” work.
Instead, we recommend that you download any of the developer-based iOS emulators such as QEMU, Electric Mobile Studio, or the Delta Emulator App. To install any of these emulators, simply head to their websites, and choose to download it for your Windows computer. Once it is downloaded, launch the emulator and install the iOS App Store. From here, you can download and install iMessage on Windows PC without Mac.
We highly recommend that you do your due diligence and heavily research any iOS emulator that you’re considering using before downloading iMessage on Windows through it. Make sure that what you’re using is secure, as you don’t want to be giving away your Apple ID and password. In addition to this, note that running an emulator is not incredibly reliable compared to running iMessage natively on iOS/Mac, so some of the features of iMessage may not work at all.
Use transfer methods to get iPhone text messages on Windows 10
If you’re looking for a way to get your iPhone text messages onto your Windows 10 computer, you can do it by transferring them either via email or through Apple’s iCloud. However, we’d like to stress that this workaround is a passive one, and doesn’t actually allow you to send iMessages from your PC or allow you to actively accept iPhone texts on your Windows 10 PC. This means that you will need to manually transfer them over, and you will not be able to respond to them actively on your computer.
Transfer iPhone texts or messages via email
To transfer your iPhone texts or iMessages to your Windows PC, jump into the messaging app, open up the conversation you want to transfer, and long press it to get an options menu to pop up. In this menu, click on more and select all messages in the conversation, and then forward it to your email address.
Transfer iPhone texts via Apple’s iCloud
This method requires you to create an iCloud backup, and use that to download the data to your Windows PC. The steps are as follows:
- On your iPhone, go into Settings.
- Find iCloud and click on it and choose Backup.
- Enable the iCloud backup.
- Use the sync now option to sync your phone to iCloud.
- Go to the Apple iCloud website and sign in.
- Choose which SMS conversation you would like.
- In the upper right-hand corner, choose to download, and from the list of data options, choose messages.
- Finally, hit the Recover button and your messages will download to your computer.
If you routinely use iCloud to make backups, you can also get your messages by transferring the iCloud backup to your computer from iTunes.
Can you send iMessage from Windows PC?
Downloading your iPhone messages to your Windows PC is one thing, but sending iMessages from your PC is another story. That being said, there are a few third-party methods that you can use to bridge the gap between your Windows PC and Apple’s iMessage system. We cannot attest to their validity, or more importantly, the security of these programs, but they do exist.
Beeper is an all-in-one chat messaging app that pulls in 15 chat networks into a single application. Essentially, you get one unified inbox for 15 chat networks, including Apple’s iMessage, which allows you to send iMessages from PC if you download Beeper onto your Windows machine.
- WhatsApp. WhatsApp has been working on making its platform more universally accessible and has managed to allow the interlinking of devices. The advantage is that you can access WhatsApp messages on all linked devices, regardless if other devices are turned on or not. The disadvantage is that not all of the features are functional yet.
- Spike. Rather than acting as a multi-platform messaging service, Spike instead modifies your email to act more like iMessage. This allows you to get the convenience of iMessage while still being able to do anything you can do with your email. Again, it’s similar but has no access to the iMessage servers.
Even though Apple has made a closed environment, there are still various ways to access iMessage with your other devices as noted in the list above. Whatever your reason for needing to access your iMessages from your Windows PC, please make sure that you’re taking the necessary precautions to protect your Apple ID and password. If any of these solutions worked for you, please let us know in the comments below!