Many Apple users use the “Messages” app to send messages. But the text displayed in the chat history is sometimes blue and sometimes green. We'll explain what the colors mean and what the difference is between SMS and iMessage.

iPhone users who use the internal “Messages” app to send messages will probably be familiar with it: sometimes the speech bubbles displayed in the chat history are blue – and sometimes green. But the coloring is no coincidence. Because Apple has programmed the app so that it shows whether the respective messages were sent as SMS or via iMessages.

Green vs. Blue: The difference between SMS and iMessage

Text messages, photos or videos can be sent to other Apple devices via iMessages. These can be iPhones, iPads, iPods or Mac computers. The app uses the WLAN or the mobile data network. The messages are also encrypted.

They are displayed in a blue speech bubble. However, users also have the option to deactivate iMessage. Anyone who does this will automatically send messages via SMS or MMS. However, this is only possible if a mobile phone tariff is available.

Even if there is no access to the WiFi, your Apple device will try to use your mobile data as an alternative. If that doesn't work either, the message cannot be sent.

How to add your phone number to messages

You can set up Apple devices so you can send and receive messages on them. You can do this by using your iPhone's phone number with the Messages app or FaceTime on your Mac, iPad, or iPod Touch.

To do this, go to the “Settings“ and then click “News“. First check whether iMessage is switched on. Then you select “Send receive“. If “Use Apple ID for iMessage” appears, you can tap it and sign in with your Apple ID.

You should also check that you are under “Receive and send iMessages via“Selected your phone number and Apple ID. The same is about “Settings” also for “FaceTime” possible. About the tab “Reachable via FaceTime at“ you should select your phone number and your Apple ID.

iMessage vs. SMS: Which is worth more?

For users who mainly communicate with other Apple users, iMessage can be worthwhile. Because the blue messages are free. However, they only work between Apple devices. This means that Android users are automatically excluded.

If you have not taken out an SMS flat rate, you may have to pay for each green message. However, there are now options from third-party providers that allow you to send iMessages via the app. However, if that's too complicated for you, you'll probably want to use another messenger like WhatsApp or Signal.

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