Messaging on iOS

Messages on iOSI love Messages on iOS. It is a quick and reliable way of texting my friends. It is integrated tightly into iOS, so it is super convenient to use. It allows me to contact all my friends, unlike 3rd party applications where I can only contact my friends on that platform. Best of all, it syncs across my iPhone, iPad and Mac, so I am not limited to texting on a single device.

However, despite all its virtues, one thing really irks me – that iMessages threads on iOS are not organized by contacts. As iMessage can use both phone numbers and email addresses as iMessage IDs, I end up with multiple conversation threads with the same contact when a change in iMessage ID occurs e.g. from the phone number to the iCloud email address (different iMessage IDs, but belonging to the same contact). This is confusing and disrupts the fluidity of the conversation, especially after a long conversation has already been established. (Of course, this does not happen when I use standard SMS to text my non-iPhone friends as SMSes can only be sent and received using phone numbers)

The same problem does not exist in the OS X version of Messages, which organizes conversation threads by contacts – messages sent by different iMessage IDs are grouped together under one thread as long as the IDs all belong to the same contact. I feel that this is a much more elegant solution.

So if there is one thing I wish for in future versions of iOS, it is for Messages on iOS to organize message threads by contacts rather than iMessage IDs (or at least give us the option to choose). In the meantime, I hope my friends will take the trouble to configure their iMessage settings correctly.

To configure your iMessages settings and save your OCD friends the annoyance of having multiple iMessage threads on their iOS devices:

  1. Open the Settings App
  2. Go to Messages → Send and Receive
  3. Take note of/change the iMessage ID under “Start New Conversations From”
  4. Review the iMessage ID every time you switch SIM cards, restore your device or migrate to a new device

Your friends will thank you for it.

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