With iOS 8.1 out, you can now send and receive text messages(SMS) and MMS on your Mac. The feature, called SMS Relay, was available since iOS 8.1 betas and has been working good for most folks.

Setting up SMS Relay between your Mac and iPhone can take a little time but once you’re setup, you will be able to seamlessly send/receive text messages from your Mac, without having to touch your iPhone. So far, you enjoyed seamless iMessages. Now, time for SMS to join the club.

How to Send and Receive Text Messages on OS X Yosemite via iPhone

How to Setup SMS Relay to Send/receive Text Messages Right on your Mac

Compatibility and Basic Setup

SMS Relay is an exclusive feature for iOS 8.1 and OS X Yosemite. It’s supposed to work on any device that runs iOS 8.1 and any Mac that is capable of running OS X Yosemite but right this moment, support is kind of sketchy. The best compatibility is as follows:

  • iPhone 5 and later (preferably iPhone 6/6+) running iOS 8.1
  • Mac running OS X Yosemite

SMS Relay worked good with betas but if it stops working, you better upgrade to the final release of iOS 8.1 and OS X.

Other things that you should check:

  • Connect your iPhone and Mac to the same Wi-Fi network. This is important.
  • Make sure Handoff is enabled on your Mac and on your iPhone. This is not part of the specifications (many users have got SMS Relay working without using Handoff) but enable it just in case this has an effect.
  • Although not part of specifications, make sure iMessage is switched ON and active on both Mac and iPhone.

Also Read: How to Fix SMS Relay Not Working: “No Activation Code on Mac”


Make Sure there’s an Email

Before you begin setting up SMS relay between your iPhone and Mac, you need to make sure there’s an email address associated with your Message app. It has been found that the activation code shows up only when there’s an email ticked/selected in the Send & Receive option on your iPhone.

To do this:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap on Messages
  • Make sure iMessage is enabled
  • Tap on Send & Receive
  • Make sure there is an email ID (most likely your iCloud ID).
  • And make sure there’s a tick-mark next to it. If not, tap on the email ID to checkmark it.

Setup SMS Relay to Send and Receive SMS on Mac

If there is no email ID, but you see an Add email.. option, tap on it and add your iCloud ID.

Important note: This should be the same email ID as the one that is used for iCloud on your Mac.

You should proceed to the next steps only after you’re done with the email ID procedure. We’ve learnt that without an email ID selected in Send & Receive, Mac will not show the activate code in the next few steps.

Text Message Forwarding

Next, we enable SMS Relay on the iPhone:

  • Launch Settings
  • Tap on Messages
  • Tap on Text Message Forwarding (under iMessage switch)

Text Message Forwarding on iPhone

  • Select the Mac you want to send/receive SMS on. (if you don’t see your Mac listed here, there’s something wrong with Handoff/network/compatibility). Turn on the switch.

Check Your Mac for the Code

Once you select the Mac, two things will happen on your Mac.

  1. The Messages app will open up on the Mac.
  2. A code will be shown on your Mac.

Check Message Code on Mac

Note this code.

Enter Code on iPhone

Once you switch the toggle under Text Message Forwarding, you will be prompted to enter a code on the iPhone. You noted this code in the previous step. Enter that here.

How to Send and Receive SMS on your Mac OS X Yosemite via SMS Relay

Send texts from Mac

That is it. Once you’ve entered the code, your Mac and iPhone should now be connected via SMS Relay. When you get a text message on your iPhone, you will get the notification on your Mac too. And you can send SMS/MMS from your Mac via the Messages app. You should notice green bubbles for SMSes.

You might also want to check out how Phone Relay works. Here’s a complete tutorial on setting up your Mac to make and receive calls via your iPhone.