Messages & Privacy

You can register your phone number or Apple ID to send iMessages.

Messages is designed to protect your information and enable you to choose what you share.

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  • Messages are backed up in iCloud and encrypted if you enable iCloud Backup or Messages in iCloud.
  • iMessage is end-to-end encrypted. The phone number or email address you use is shown to the people you contact, and you can choose to share your name and photo.
  • Apple retains limited information about the use of iMessage, such as whether your device is eligible to use iMessage, for up to 30 days.

Messages is an app that allows users to communicate via SMS, iMessage, and Apple Messages for Business. iMessage is an Apple service that sends messages to other iOS devices (with iOS 5 or later), iPadOS devices, Macs (with OS X 10.8 or later), and Apple Watches. These messages don’t count against your messaging plan. Messages sent via iMessage can include photos, videos, and other information.

We designed iMessage to use end-to-end encryption, so there’s no way for Apple to decrypt the content of your conversations when they are in transit between devices. Attachments you send over iMessage (such as photos or videos) are encrypted so that no one but the sender and receiver(s) can access them. These encrypted attachments may be uploaded to Apple. To improve performance, your device may automatically upload attachments to Apple while you are composing an iMessage. If your message isn’t sent, the attachments are deleted from the server after 30 days. When a passcode or password is set on your iOS, iPadOS, or watchOS device, stored messages are encrypted on your device so that they can’t be accessed unless the device has been unlocked.

You can choose to automatically delete your iMessages from your device after 30 days or a year, or to keep them on your device forever. For your convenience, iMessages are backed up in iCloud and encrypted if you have enabled either iCloud Backup or Messages in iCloud. You can turn off both iCloud Backup and Messages in iCloud whenever you want. On your iOS or iPadOS device, go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud. On Mac, go to Messages > Settings > iMessage, and deselect Enable Messages in iCloud.

You can sign in to iMessage using your Apple ID, or just your phone number. If you sign in with your Apple ID on your device, you will be signed in to iMessage automatically. Your Apple ID or phone numbers will be shown to the people you contact, and people can reach you using your Apple ID and email addresses or phone numbers on your account. You can select which phone numbers or email addresses you’d like to start new conversations from, and which phone numbers or email addresses you can receive messages and reply from, in iMessage settings. You can add and verify additional Reachable At information from your Apple ID account page at

Shared with You works across the system to find the articles, music, TV shows, photos, and more that are shared in Messages conversations, and conveniently surfaces them in apps like Photos, Safari, Apple News, Apple Music, and Apple Podcasts, making it easy to quickly access the information in context. Apple does not have access to marked content without your permission. You can disable Shared with You at any time on your iOS or iPadOS device by going to Settings > Messages > Shared with You, then tapping to turn off Shared with You. On Mac, go to Messages > Settings > Shared with You. You can also control whether each app participates in Shared with You by tapping or selecting it in the Shared with You section.

Share Name and Photo allows you to share a name and photo with people you iMessage. You can choose to automatically share with just your contacts, or to be prompted each time. Your shared name and photo will be sent with your next iMessage to the people you share with, and stored on their devices. If you share your name and photo with an iMessage conversation with multiple people, your name and photo will be sent to all the people in the conversation. You can update your name and photo at any time. If you automatically share, updates will be sent when you next send an iMessage to each person you share with. If you have shared your name and photo and later turn off sharing, others who previously received your name and photo may still have your information on their devices. The name and photo you select for messages will be sent to Apple, and stored on Apple’s servers encrypted in a way that Apple cannot see.

Apple may record and store some information related to your use of the Messages app and the iMessage service to operate and improve Apple’s products and services:

  • Apple may store information about your use of iMessage in a way that doesn’t identify you.
  • iMessages that can’t be delivered may be held by Apple for up to 30 days for redelivery.
  • Some apps on your device (including Messages) may communicate with Apple’s servers to determine whether other people can be reached by iMessage. When this happens, Apple may store these phone numbers and email addresses associated with your account, for up to 30 days.

By using these features, you agree and consent to Apple’s and its subsidiaries’ and agents’ transmission, collection, maintenance, processing, and use of this information as described above.

At all times, information collected by Apple will be treated in accordance with Apple’s Privacy Policy, which can be found at

Published Date: December 12, 2022