The iMessage feature on the iPhone lets you send messages with blue bubbles to other iOS users.
This includes individuals who are using iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches, and MacBooks.
But it’s possible that messages that should be sent as iMessages are being sent as text messages, and it could be due to the iMessage setting being turned off on your device.
You can enable iMessage on an iPhone by going to Settings > Messages > then tapping the button to the right of iMessage.
How to Turn on iMessage on Your iPhone
- Tap Settings.
- Select Messages.
- Turn on iMessage.
Our guide continues below with additional information about how to enable iMessage on iPhone 13, including pictures of these steps.
Your iPhone can send two different types of messages in the Messages app.
One type of message, called a short message service (SMS) message, will have a green bubble.
The other type of message, called an iMessage, will have a blue bubble.
Typically iMessages will be sent to people that are using Apple devices, while text messages will be sent to people that are using other devices, such as Android smartphones.
But if you are sending messages to people that you know to have an iPhone, but the messages are green, then it could be due to the iMessage feature being turned off on your iPhone.
Luckily this is a setting that you can change quickly by adjusting an option found on the Messages menu.
Related: Our article on iMessages sent as text messages can help to explain why an iMessage may be sent as a text message instead.
How to Activate the iPhone’s iMessage Feature
The steps in this article were performed on an iPhone 13 in the iOS 16 operating system. These same steps will work on the iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, as well as most other iPhone models and iOS versions.
Step 1: Locate the Settings app icon on your Home screen and tap it to open the menu.
Step 2: Scroll down and choose the Messages option from this menu.
Step 3: Touch the button next to iMessage to turn it on.
The iPhone iMessage option is enabled when there is green shading around the button, like there is in the picture below.
How that you know how to enable iMessage on iPhone 13, you will be able to check that this setting is turned on any time your iPhone sends an iMessage as a text message.
More Information on iMessage
If you decide that you would like ot disable iMessage at any time, then you can do so in the same way.
To turn iMessage off on your iPhone, you need to open Settings, select Messages, then tap the button next to iMessage to disable it.
When you are in the Messages menu to enable the iMessage setting, you might notice that there is a Send & Receive button under it.
One useful component of the iMessage feature is the ability to send and receive iMessages not only just at your phone number, but to an email address instead.
You can open that menu and see sections labeled:
- You can receive iMessages to and reply from
- Start new conversations from
There will be checkmarks to the left of the different phone numbers or email addresses here that indicate whether or not that entity can be used.
One other setting worth noting on the Messages menu is an option called “Send as SMS.”
In some rare situations, your iPhone may not be able to send an iMessage. If you turn on this setting, then the iPhone will attempt to send the iMessages as an SMS instead. This is useful if you want to make sure that the recipient sees the message no matter what.
Video About How to Enable iMessage on an iPhone
Matthew Burleigh has been writing tech tutorials since 2008. His writing has appeared on dozens of different websites and been read over 50 million times.
After receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science he spent several years working in IT management for small businesses. However, he now works full time writing content online and creating websites.
His main writing topics include iPhones, Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Android, and Photoshop, but he has also written about many other tech topics as well.