One feature introduced in Mac OS X Mountain Lion when it launched in the summer was the ability to use iMessage to send and receive messages with iOS users. If you haven’t tried it or haven’t found a use for it, it can come in real handy at opportune times.
The Messages app on the dock on the bottom (look for the icon like the one to the left) acts a lot like the FaceTime app whereby you can connect with iOS users on your contact list by making and taking calls through the email address that makes up your Apple ID (the email address you use to download apps from the App Store). In other words, you can iMessage with someone using just your email address while you’re on your Mac. You can also send messages to Google Talk and Yahoo! users as well.
This is particularly useful if you’re in a hotel that offers free wired Internet, but charges for Wi-Fi (yes, they exist), or if you’re travelling and can only access a Wi-Fi network with one device. There are even cases where you would have to pay twice to log in to a Wi-Fi network with both your Mac and iPhone or iPad. Whatever the situation you’re in, you can benefit from this feature when needed.
To set this up, just open up the Messages app, and type in your Apple ID and password. Note that if you’re already logged into your iCloud, it should skip the login step and go straight to the user interface. When you see the main box, look to the top and type in any contact you want to touch base with (they’ll pop up based on whose name you type). If it’s someone new, just type in their phone number, and then add them to your contacts right after, if you wish.
From there, it’s just a matter of typing out your message and sending. Recipients will respond back in the same manner as you’re used to seeing on iOS, with blue and grey bubbles in a threaded conversation format.
In case you’re trying to reach out to someone who doesn’t have a Mac, iOS device or Apple ID, go to Preferences and Accounts, and click the + button. Add your Google Talk, Jabber or Yahoo! account and then use those to send messages, if you need to.
And that’s it, you should be all set and ready to use iMessage on your Mac when there’s a need or the mood strikes you.
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