How to set up your Mac and iPhone for texts and calls

If, like me, you prefer to type on your laptop keyboard rather than the tiny iPhone keypad, or you just don’t want to switch devices to answer a text or call, you can set up your Mac to receive calls and texts from your iPhone. . With an Apple ID, you can text and make calls over the internet using the Messages and FaceTime apps on your Mac.

To make calls using cellular service or send SMS messages through your carrier (not the internet), your iPhone must be running iOS 8.1 or later and your Mac must be running OS X Yosemite or later.

Note: Following these instructions will not transfer your contacts between your Mac and iPhone. To do this, you need to set up or sync iCloud contacts.

Sign in to Messages with your Apple ID

First, make sure you’re signed in to Messages with the same Apple ID on your Mac and iPhone. Here’s how:

  • Go to “Settings” > “Messages” > “Send & Receive” to check your Apple ID on your iPhone.
  • On your Mac, open the Messages app to check your Apple ID. Click on “Messages” in the menu bar and then select “Preferences” from the drop-down menu. Click on the “iMessage” option at the top of the window.

iMessage preferences

Make sure you’re signed in to the correct Apple account.

Set up text message forwarding

To set up your Mac to receive SMS messages sent to your phone:

  • Open Settings on your iPhone
  • Scroll down and go to “Messages”
  • Tap “Forward Text Message”
  • Turn on the switch next to your laptop’s name

iPhone Messages settings

Here you can find various settings for Messages.

Text Message Forwarding options

Make sure your Mac is turned on to receive text messages.

Set up FaceTime and iCloud

Make sure both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network and are signed in to FaceTime and iCloud on both your Mac and iPhone using the same Apple ID. Here’s how:

  • Open “Settings” on your iPhone. You should see your Apple ID at the top of the Settings screen. Scroll down and click on “FaceTime” to see which account has been activated.
  • On your Mac, click the Apple icon in the upper left corner of your screen and select “System Preferences.” Make sure you’re signed in to the correct Apple account. Then open your FaceTime app, click “FaceTime” in the menu bar at the top of the screen and select “Preferences” from the drop-down menu. At the top of the window, you’ll see which account you’re signed into.

Allow calls on other devices

Now you will need to toggle a few settings on your iPhone:

  • Open Settings on your iPhone, then tap “Phone”.
  • Tap on “Calls on Other Devices”
  • Turn on “Allow Calls on Other Devices”
  • While in “Calls on Other Devices”, make sure your Mac is turned on.

Phone settings

You will use this menu to enable both Calls on Other Devices and Wi-Fi Calling.

  • Open the FaceTime app on your Mac
  • Click “FaceTime” in the menu bar at the top of the screen and select “Preferences” from the drop-down options
  • Select “Settings” in the popup window
  • Check the box next to “Calls from iPhone”

FaceTime preferences on Mac

Make sure you select the box next to Calls from iPhone.

Note that your devices must be close together and connected to the same Wi-Fi network to receive calls from your phone. Use Wi-Fi calling to receive calls when your Mac is connected to a different Wi-Fi network.

Set up Wi-Fi Calling

your Mac, your phone (iPhone 5S / 5C or later) and if your carrier supports it, you can turn on Wi-Fi Calling, which makes calls over the internet instead of the cellular service. It also lets you make calls from devices that are not on the same Wi-Fi networks as your phone (depending on your carrier) and make calls when your phone is turned off.

  • On your iPhone, go to “Settings” > “Phone” and select “Wi-Fi Calling”
  • Turn on “Wi-Fi Calling on This iPhone”. A popup will tell you how it has transmitted the location data to your carrier. Tap “Enable”.

Wi-Fi Search menu

Enable Wi-Fi Calling by toggling the switch at the top of this screen.

Message that appears after enabling Wi-Fi Calling

You will get this message after turning on Wi-Fi Calling.

  • Turn on the “Add Wi-Fi Calling for Other Devices” option. You may receive a message from your carrier with information about Wi-Fi Calling, billing and 911 calls; If you call 911 with Wi-Fi Calling, your carrier can use your automatic location information or the emergency address stored in your settings. To divert the call to an emergency response centre. Click the “Continue” button below the notification.
  • If location data is not available, you must specify an address for emergency calls. Your carrier may already store an address for you (such as your billing address), but you can change this address by clicking the blue “Update Emergency Address” option in the middle of the screen and following the on-screen instructions.

You will now need to set up your Mac.

  • You can get a notification on your Mac after you enable Wi-Fi calling on your phone. In this case, clicking “Open” will take you to either the Preferences window or the main FaceTime menu. You will see a smaller window informing you that your location will be shared for emergency calls. Click “OK” to allow this.

Pop-up for location sharing during emergency calls

You will be notified that your location will be shared for emergency calls.

  • If you don’t see the notification, open FaceTime on your Mac, click FaceTime in the menu bar, and select “Preferences” from the pop-up menu.
  • Make sure “Settings” is selected at the top of the window.
  • If your device supports Wi-Fi Calling, under “Calls from iPhone” you’ll see a button that says “Elevate to Wi-Fi Calling.” Click on it.
  • You will see a popup stating that your location can be shared with your carrier. Click “Activate” to continue.

Upgrade to Wi-Fi Calling popup

As with your iPhone, you’ll see a popup telling you how to use your carrier’s location data.

  • You will also need to provide an emergency address here. After clicking “Update Wi-Fi Calling”, this button will be replaced with a button that says “Update Emergency Address”. Click on it to view it and change your address if necessary.

And you’re done!

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