Friday, October 14, 2011

iMessage: Good And Could Get Better; How To Set Up

I've been using iMessage to communicate with my brother and a few friends as far as India.  What is iMessage and why you really want it if you are surrounded by other people who use iOS devices like the iPad or iPhone?

iMessage is Apple's newest iOS feature: an integrated messaging system for its iOS devices and, in the future, the Macs.  It allows the user to send messages from one device to another.  And again, it's only within Apple's software and hardware ecosystem.  What's cool about it is that it's free to use like most of Apple's online services.

Okay, now you're exicted.  You've got iOS 5 (oh, yeah, it only works with the latest iOS).  How do you get started?  Apple's website doesn't exactly give you the info straight up.  

  • Is there a separate iMessage app?  No.  It's the same Messages app that you find on the iPhone.  For the iPad and iPod touch, it's a new app that will appear after you upgrade to iOS 5.
  • Next go into Settings.  Under Settings, you might have to scroll down a bit and you'll find "Messages".
  • Enable iMessages to "on".
  • Then scroll down a bit.  If you're on the iPhone, your number will appear automatically.  You can also add an e-mail, kinda like what you do for FaceTime, to be used to send and receive messages.
  • You're set.
Now, let's test it.  Open up the Messages app.  If you're on a non-iPhone device, you're fine.  All your messages will be sent via iMessage.  However, if you're on the iPhone, you need to make sure that if you want to send a message via iMessage, you want to make sure that is the case.

To send an iMessage, you need someone who has already gone through the above process and enable iMessage.  Let's assume you have someone to write to.  You'll see this.

See how it says "New iMessage at the top and "iMessage" in light gray in the dialog box?  That's how you'll know you're sending an iMessage instead of a SMS (texting) that'll cost you money.

And money is the reason why you'll want to use iMessage as much as you possibly can.  I have been encourage people to use Google Voice for their texting needs because, frankly, it's free awesome service that Google is offering.  

And now with iMessage, Apple is getting into the game and making it even more easier and free way to communicate, albeit, with other iOS users only.  Let me know if you've got questions.  I'll be happy to help if I can.

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