Why is iMessages not syncing on Mac?

iMessage not syncing on Mac is usually caused when the app isn’t set up properly, is missing an update, or when a recent update has introduced a bug. All of these are easily fixed, and we’ll now show possible ways to resolve this issue.

Messages not syncing between iPhone and Mac: specific causes and possible fixes

A likely reason why your messages are not syncing between iPhone and Mac is if you are using a different email on each device. The emails must match or else the syncing process won’t begin. Another possibility is if either the apps or the operating systems of either device needs an update. Finally, even Apple products aren’t immune to bugs, so this could be another possible reason why your messages between your MacBook and iPhone are not syncing. The good news is that it’s often enough to simply refresh and/or update iMessage and the bug will go away. Additionally, there are several other things you can try to fix the problem, and they’ve all been explained in the next lines:

How to refresh Messages on MacBook

  1. To refresh iMessage on Mac and Force sync the iMessage app, first, start iMessage and go to the Messages menu, 
  2. Click Preferences, and open the iMessage section.
  3. Click on the Sync Now option and wait for the syncing process to complete. If the option is grayed-out, then first check Enable Messages in iCloud.
    iMessage Sync Now
  4. See if the conversations are now updated. Something that may trigger the syncing process for a given conversation is if you send a message in it, so we recommend trying that as well.

How to update iMessage on Mac

  1. To update iMessage on Mac, first go to Finder > Application.
  2. The find and launch the App Store.
  3. Select the Updates section from the left panel of the App Store window.
  4. See if there are any pending updates relating to the iMessage app and if there are, install them.

Updating the app can also help resolve any issues with the syncing process, so we advise you to do this if your iMessage is currently out of date.

If refreshing and updating the iMessage app did little to fix the issue, here are several other fix suggestions:

Check the iMessage settings

  1. Go to the Settings app on your iOS device, and navigate to Messages > Send & Receive.
  2. See what information is entered in the “You can receive iMessages to and reply from” section. You must make sure that the phone number and email address entered there are the ones at which you want to be reached. Also, there needs to be a checkmark in front of both.
  3. After that, launch the iMessage app on your Mac, click the Messages menu from the menu bar, and open Preferences.
  4. Select the Account (or iMessage) tab, and check the number and email shown below “You can be reached for messages at” – both of them must match the phone number and email in the iMessage app on your iOS device and must have a checkmark in front of them.
    iMessage email
  5. In case the email doesn’t match with the one used on your iOS device, use the Add Email button and add the email from your iOS device to the iMessage app on your Mac.
  6. If there’s a mismatch in the phone numbers, this most likely means that you are using different Apple ID accounts on your Mac and your iOS device, in which case you must click Sign Out and then use the phone number from your iOS device to sign in to the same Apple ID on your Mac.

Force Restart both devices

  1. To restart your iPhone or iPad, press and hold both the side button and either the volume button until the power off slider appears.
  2. Swipe the slider towards the middle of your screen to turn off the device.
  3. Wait for about ten seconds and then turn back on your iPhone or iPad.
  4. Then, on your Mac, click the Apple Logo menu from the top-left, click Restart, and wait for the computer to turn off, and then back on.
  5. Open iMessage on both devices and see if your conversations are now synced.

Turn iMessage off and then back on

  1. On the iOS device, go to Settings and select the Messages section.
  2. Toggle off the button next to iMessage, wait for several seconds, and toggle it back on.
    iMessage iOS Toggle on/off
  3.  Start the iMessage app on your Mac, go to the Messages menu, open Preferences, and click on the iMessage tab.
  4. Remove the tick from the Enable Messages in iCloud option, wait for a moment, and then re-enable it.
    iMessage Enable Messages in iCloud

Sign out and then back into iMessage

Another possible fix for iMessage not syncing on Mac is to simply sign out of your Apple ID account on your Mac and then sign back in:

  1. Open the iMessage app, click its Messages menu, and go to Preferences > Accounts/iMessage once again.
  2. Click on the Sign Out button and wait for several seconds.
    iMessage Sign Out
  3. Next, click Sign In and enter iMessage with your Apple ID account – remember to use the same Apple ID as the one that’s used on your iOS device.

Update macOS

  1. Open the Apple Logo menu from the top-left corner. 
  2. Go to System Preferences, and select Software Update.
  3. Wait for a moment to see if there is an available update and if anything shows up, click Update Now to install the update.

Update iOS

  1. Plug your device into a power outlet to ensure it doesn’t run out of battery.
  2. Open the Settings app, and go to General.
  3. Select the Software Update section and see if there are any pending updates.
  4. Tap Install or Download and Install and provide your passcode if it’s required and then tap Install Now.

Final Notes

And so this concludes our guide on how to fix the iMessage not syncing on Mac problem. We hope that one of our suggested fix methods has helped you solve this issue on your Mac. As we said above, you are always welcome to leave us a comment and request our assistance in case you haven’t managed to perform any of the instructions.