iMessage is the wonderful messaging platform for iPhone, iPad, and Mac users that allows for free and easy messaging between other iMessage users. One common question regarding iMessage is if there is a way to run iMessage on a Windows PC or in Linux.
The answer is a big complicated, but in short, yes you can technically get iMessages accessed on a PC, but how it is accomplished is probably not quite what you expect.
For this to work, you will need a Mac. Yes, even if you’re aiming to get and use iMessages on the PC itself. This is very much a workaround, but it does work to send, receive, and have complete iMessage functionality from a Windows or Linux environment, as long as you have a Mac to begin with.
Before getting into the details about having iMessage access in a Windows or Linux environment, let’s backup a bit: First, and this may be obvious to most Apple users, but there is no native iMessage client for Windows (or Android for that matter), as Apple allows imessages only in Apple products like a Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Second, it’s very difficult and complex to get iMessage working on a PC even with Mac OS installed via Hackintosh methods, thus we’re ruling out that option.
So what works to get iMessage on a PC then? The answer resides with having a Mac with a stable internet connection that is logged into the iMessage account you want to use and get access to from the PC, and then using the built-in screen sharing feature in Mac OS to remotely access that computer and it’s messaging client via Windows PC (or linux).
The basics of how this approach works to gain access to iMessage on Windows or a Linux PC is as as so: you enable Screen Sharing on the Mac with iMessage. Then, on the Windows PC you want to access and get iMessages on, you screen share into that aforementioned Mac. That might sound complicated but it is actually pretty easy to setup.
How to Get iMessage on a PC
- On the Mac with iMessage, you will need to enable Screen Sharing on the Mac via the Sharing Preference Panel
- Next on the PC to get and use iMessages from, you will need a VNC client app (RealVNC or TightVNC are two common options for Windows users, TigerVNC and RealVNC are options for Linux )
- Open the VNC client in Windows and connect to the Mac with Screen Sharing enabled, do this by pointing the VNC client at the IP address and then logging into the Mac with a valid user login
- Now from the Windows PC you are remotely logged into the Mac and have full screen access to that Mac, including access to iMessages via the Mac Messages app
Remember screen sharing allows for full remote control of a computer over the internet or LAN, so this is really only appropriate for using your own iMessages from your very own Apple ID from your own Mac.
You’ll notice this does not depend on any Hackintosh method, nor any virtualization of Mac OS or any other tweaks, mods, or third party apps. In fact there are no third party iMessage apps for Windows or for PC currently, and at the moment Apple does not offer an iMessage client on Windows or PC either.
For what it’s worth, this same screen sharing feature in Mac OS can also be used from Mac to Mac very easily via the iMessage app itself, but since the Mac has Messages app and direct iMessage access there is less need to do so for this purpose anyway.
What about using iMessages on PC via iCloud?
iMessages in iCloud is a new feature with High Sierra and iOS 11, but (currently anyway) this does not allow iMessages to be accessed from iCloud.com.
It is possible that one day Apple will build a web based iMessage client for icloud.com like they have iCloud apps for Pages, Keynote, Reminders, Mail, and similar iOS apps, but at the moment there is no Messages app for iCloud.com or iMessage ability on icloud.com.
Do you know of another way to get iMessages on a PC through Windows, Linux, Chrome OS or even Android? Perhaps a trick that doesn’t involve using a PC with VNC to remotely access a Mac with the Messages app running? Then let us know in the comments below!