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.
 

   

   

Comments

My baby brother is getting my iMessages after we attempted these steps! Help please!

Is there a way to tell who has my number checked in their iMessage setup without looking at their phone? They have it locked and I think they are spying. Don't want to set up a new apple id at this moment, just want to know if they are spying. Thanks!

You can look in your Messages | Send & Receive settings on your phone to see a list of devices associated with your account. If you dont like what you see or just aren't sure who's spying on you, just change your iCloud password. that will disconnect any devices until they enter the new password.

Thanks Apple Eater:-) Is it only tied to the cloud or apple ID also?

They are usually the same, but if you aren't sure which is what, I would change them both.

ive been getting imessages from other people meant for a guy i dont know. i also can see him replying as if he's using my number. his pics come to my phone and my youtube account has his picture on it now! i can see all the videos he's watched and his contacts are in my phone now also. PLEASE HELP! ive had the same number since ive been with my phone company but i upgraded from a 4 to 4s. could a glitch have occured between the switch? is it reversable?

I share an iTunes account with sister and I keep on getting her texts how can I stop this via settings

1) stop sharing accounts and have an adult make a "Family Sharing" account instead.. Create iCloud accounts for each of you and use them for Messaging.
2) One or both of you get an iCloud accounts and set each up for messaging, and keep using the shared iTunes account in your iTunes account settings.

My son is getting all of my calls / text messages, as is my son (on his iPad). I have gone to the apple store several times to get this squared away, and it keeps defaulting back. Plus all my contacts have been replaced with my husband's. Is there a way to keep this from happening? I have to say, I've been an apple customer since 1988, this is the first time I have wanted to permanently end my affiliation.

This should be very (VERY) simple to fix!
You are all using the same iCloud account for Messages/iMessage.. Go into each device, SETTINGS, then MESSAGES and change/remove the shared account information rom all the devices.
If this has been done on ALL devices, it cannot "default back".. either it was not done properly/completly, or, somone is putting it back the way it was.
If you have access to all the devices, this is litteraly and 45 second fix.

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