Sunday, December 2, 2012

iMessage (a wonderful life, when it works)

Last year, upon the release of iMessage, I described and suggested to friends a method wherein users of iPhone and iPad/Mac computers could receive messages on both their phone and other device, so long as they used their email address with iMessage, since sending an iMessage to a phone number only resulted in the iPhone getting the message. An iMessage email address could be tied to any number of devices, and messages would be synced across all of the devices.

And a year ago, iMessages that were sent using email addresses always seemed to be somewhat delayed in reaching the iPad as compared to the iPhone. While at the time it seemed like that was just a quirk with the iPad and iMessages not being configured quite well for them, I have to change my opinion on iMessages from my previous recommendation.

As of the most recent update to Mac OS X, you can receive iMessages on your Mac from a phone number as well, so long as that phone number is associated with an iPhone using the same Apple ID. The same is true of FaceTime, the Apple video chat application. Same thing goes for iPads as well, phone numbers can now be used to have messages sent to all of your devices.

Starting new conversations from your phone
number is asure way to ensure your
messages will sync across devices.
If you are like me, and think that having two devices at which you can be reached is silly, you should definitely use your phone number as the main hub for all of your messages. While there still seems to be a delay on iMessages to email addresses on iPad or Mac, no such delay is present for phone numbers. Now, I understand that for some people, having your text messages show up on your computer might be cause for concern, especially if you tend to leave your computer in places where other people might come across it. Text messages are generally considered to be one of the more private forms of virtual communication, but if you aren't concerned so much about getting outed by someone reading your conversations (most probably do tend to be fairly vanilla), I would seriously recommend doing this. Really, it is just bringing us one step closer to a universal messaging system.

Read receipts are
really handy!
Finally, there is an option in iOS messages wherein you can send read receipts to the people you iMessage with. This is a very nice option to offer to the people you talk to, and while I have spoken to people who really don't like it, if you think about how often you wonder with a text message whether or not your message has actually been read, you can understand how nice a feature this really is.