How To Stop Receiving iMessages That Aren't Yours

This article will explain how to stop getting iMessages not intended for you and how to stop someone else from getting your iMessages.
Applies to: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, iCloud, iOS 6
With the release of iOS 6 a few weeks ago (September 19, 2012) Apple has made it possible to synchronize iMessages across all of your iDevices (and Macs using Mountain Lion) via iCloud or iPhone telephone number.  Previously in iOS 5, iMessages could only be synchronized via an iCloud account.

Why am I getting my (Mom, dad, brother, sister, boyfriend, husband, wife etc)'s messages?  Why are they seeing my iMessages?

iCloud is a free service from Apple that is intended to synchronize data across devices.  When two (or more) devices are using the same iCloud account, those devices will all see and have access to that shared data.  An example of this is iMessage.  If someone sends me an iMessage, I can read and reply to that iMessage regardless of if I am driving in my car with my iPhone, or sitting at my desk in front of my iMac.
iOS 6 took the syncing of iMessages one step further by unifying your iPhone number with your iCloud account.  Previously in iOS 5, only iMessages sent to your iCloud account email address were synchronized across devices.  This would happen if the person sending the iMessage only had your email address in their contacts list.  On iOS6, now iMessages sent to your phone number are also synchronized across all devices.
If you upgraded to iOS 6 and were sharing an iCloud account OR iTunes account with another person, that person may now be able to receive iMessages sent to you and send iMessages "as" you.  This behavior is by design as iTunes accounts and iCloud accounts are not intended to be shared. 

Are they seeing all of my TXT messages?

No - iCloud only synchronizes iCloud's iMessages, not standard SMS Text messages.  To understand the differences between iMessages and SMS Text Messages, see this page: Difference between txt messages and iMessages

How stop getting iMessages:

To stop getting someone else's iMessages, first ensure that you have created your own iCloud account.  You can do this by signing out of whatever shared iCloud is on your iDevice by tapping Settings and then tapping 'iCloud'.  Scroll down, and select Delete Account.  Be sure to read and understand the messages and warnings that appear.  This should delete the iCloud account and all of the local data from your device - it does not delete the iCloud account from "the iCloud".  Once signed out of iCloud you can tap Settings and then iCloud again, and choose the option to create a new iCloud account and follow the instructions and prompts.
Now that you have your own iCloud account, check your iMessage settings to ensure that only your iCloud information and your iPhone number is being used.  Tap Settings, then Messages, then "Send & Receive".  Ensure that at the top, next to "Apple ID", your ID information is displayed.  If it is still showing someone else's Apple ID, tap it, and choose Sign Out.  Then tap it again to sign in with your Apple ID/iCloud account.  
Below "You can be reached by iMessage at:" ensure that only your associated email address and iPhone number is listed.  To remove an email, tap it and select "remove this email".  To remove an iPhone number that is not yours, tap it to remove the checkmark.
Scroll down and do the same for "Start new conversations from:" - this is your 'caller ID' for iMessages that you send.
** It is important to do the steps above on ALL devices that were sending or receiving your iMessages **
Another way to stop getting (or sending) iMessages would be to deactivate iMessage completely. To disable iMessages, tap Settings, then Messages, and next to 'iMessage' tap the "on" to switch it to "off".  With iMessage deactivated all text messages will be sent as standard (paid) SMS/TXT messages, and no messages will be shared via iCloud on this device.  

How to use your own iCloud account and share an iTunes account:

Most people began receiving shared messages because they were sharing an iTunes account for App or music purchases.  You can still use your own iCloud account for iMessages, email, FaceTime, etc, and use a shared iTunes account for music and App purchases.
After you have followed the steps above to create and sign into iMessage with your own iCloud account, tap SETTINGS, then iTunes & App Stores.  Next to Apple ID, make sure the shared account you wish to use is listed.  To change it, tap it, then choose sign-out, then sign in using the shared iTunes or Apple ID you wish to use.  Changing or signing in to this setting will not affect the iMessage settings listed above.
The steps above can get confusing!  If you have questions or if we missed anything please post your question below.




I dunno WHAT's going on there.. are you sure they are iMessages (blue) and not TXT messages (green) ?

My husband called earlier today and asked why I sent a text from my ipad indicating my lecture and lab were cancelled and implied that I wanted to meet with the receiver of the message (text started with "Hi Baby!"). I'm a college instructor and the number the message was sent to had a local prefix. I've never used messaging on my iPad. Apparently my 3 year old son somehow opened imessaging while playing a game this morning and this message popped up. I figured out the phone number belongs to a student who sent text messages to my Android phone (thankfully, a young female). The message was sent on a day when my husband and I were both at home (I had strep throat and he was off work). The student would have received a text notification of the class cancellation, but that would have been sent from the college instead of from any of my accounts. This is the only message showing up in imessages.

How did this happen? The student would have my cell phone number (Android phone, not linked to iPad) and email address.

The _only_ way this can happen is if the message was sent to either a phone number associated with an iCloud account, or to an email address associated with an iCloud account.. So my guess is the student sent the message from an iPhone and it associated your email address with your iCloud, as designed.

I updated my iPad and received a worrying message which was directed to my husband. I confronted him about it and he said it was not intended for him but her husband but he was getting messages from other people for other people. I have my suspicions that this is complete rubbish. He said he contacted Apple. Is it possible to get a message on his phone sent to someone else.

The only way this would happen is if the other person either accidentally selected his name/email/phone when sending the imessage, or if they have accidentally added his email/phone number in their contact info for another person. IMHO, he's lying.

It was weird but happened..
I was in the train texting to a friend,no biggy. I have an iPhone, my friend a Galaxy, also different plans providers.
Later on when I got off of the train I received this angry phone call (ID blocked) telling me to stop sending him these messages that (re described the message I sent to my friend) or he was going to call the cops on me (??) The weird stuff is that there was a conversation string with my friends number, but some message got diverted to this person.. How come is that possible? And my friend never received that message..
Not sure what happened!

I have a question. I was on my husband's computer yesterday and the Imessage popped up. I read a line that was very suspect so I read previous messages. When I confronted him, he said that someone else had logged into his computer's imessage account a while ago and that is one of the problems with imessage, that it will sync your phone and the account on the computer whether or not they are the same ie his friends account and his #? Reading the messages I know for sure that some of them were from him. Is it possible to have both his friend's messages and his messages on the same conversation to one person? Or is he lying and they are not connected?

You can only have one iMessage account configured on a device. If this happens, then every imessage sent from every computer or iphone would all be mixed in/visible, and all would show as from or to the same person.. any message sent from that device would show as coming from "him".. So, every message his "friend" sent to anyone would show as coming from your husband's account.
In order for this to happen, you must configure each device with that iCloud account..or, you can sync the icloud account on your Mac with your iphone after the account was configured.
It is very simple to see if what he is saying is true or no.. Open the Messages computer on the Mac.. Click the Messages menu, then select Preferences and click Accounts. You will see what account is listed. if it's the friend's account, he's telling the truth..


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