iMessage not syncing on Mac

iMessage not syncing on Mac can be quite a frustrating issue where your iMessage conversations aren’t synced between your Mac and your other Apple devices. The good news is that the potential causes of this problem are typically easy to deal with. For instance, it’s possible that the iMessage app isn’t set up properly or that a recent software update has triggered the issue. Conversely, it’s also possible that you are missing an important update on your Mac or iPhone and that’s causing the syncing problem. Whatever the cause, we believe we can help you take care of it and bring things back to normal, so stay with us as we show you the different fixes that you can try.

iMessage not syncing on Mac fix

Here are the main iMessage not syncing on Mac fix methods:

  1. See if the user details between your Apple devices match and then sign out and then back in.
  2. Force Restart both your Mac and your iPhone/iPad.
  3. Restart the iMessage app on your Mac and your other Apple device.
  4. Try to Force Sync the iMessage app on your Mac.

Below, we’ll give you detailed instructions about each iMessage not syncing on Mac fix, so be sure to carefully read the next lines and perform the steps on your devices to resolve the problem. In case you run into any difficulty while following our instructions, don’t hesitate to request our assistance through the comments section.

iMessage not syncing on Mac: Check the app settings

A possible reason for iMessage not syncing on Mac is if the user details used in the app do not match those used in your iPhone/iPad. If, for instance, the phone number or email in the iMessage app on your Mac isn’t the same as the number/email on your iOS device, this would explain why your conversations aren’t getting synced. Here’s how to quickly check if this is the case and resolve the issue:

  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.

How to Update iMessage on Mac: Force Restart the devices

It’s recommended to update iMessage on Mac if the app isn’t syncing, but before you do that, we advise you to Force Restart the devices. Apple devices should generally update themselves automatically, but sometimes they may require a little nudge to start the process, and a restart is likely to help with that. Additionally, in many cases, if the syncing issue is caused by a bug, restarting your Mac or iOS device may take care of it and allow your iMessage apps to get synced again. Here is how you can force restart your Mac and iOS 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.

How to Update iMessage on Mac: Turn the apps off and then back on again

You can also try to Update iMessage on Mac by turning the apps off and then back on again – this, too, is likely to trigger the automatic updating process:

  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

How to Update iMessage on Mac: Sign out and then back in

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.

How to refresh iMessage on Mac

To refresh iMessage on Mac and get your conversations synced between devices, you can also try to Force Sync the iMessage app on your Mac with the conversation data stored in your Apple ID. In most cases, this should allow the conversations to get updated. Normally, syncing should occur automatically, but if your iMessage app is still out of sync, here’s what you should try:

How to refresh iMessage on Mac: Force sync the iMessage app

  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.

Update your software

As mentioned at the start, outdated software could be a possible cause for any syncing issues that you may be experiencing. Therefore, we recommend updating your macOS, iOS, and your iMessage app.

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.

Update iMessage

  1. Go to Finder > Application and launch the App Store.
  2. Select the Updates section from the left panel of the App Store window.
  3. See if there are any pending updates relating to the iMessage app and if there are, install them.

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.