iMessage is Coming to Windows 11

Microsoft has just announced that iMessage support is in the process of being rolled out to Windows 11 devices. When will you get it, and how will it work? Let’s dive into the details.

Introducing Phone Link for iOS

In a blog post on April 26, Microsoft announced that Phone Link, an app that connects your phone to a Windows PC, now works with the iPhone.

Phone Link has been around for a number of years, but only for Android phones. Over the coming weeks, that will change because Microsoft will be updating Windows 11 so that Phone Link works with iOS.

Once you have it set up, Phone Link lets you make and receive calls, send and receive messages, and access the contacts on your iPhone. It will also send notifications to your Windows computer for new messages and calls.

How to Set Up Phone Link for iOS

Phone Link connects to your phone via Wi-Fi, mobile data network, or a personal hotspot. To connect your phone to a Windows computer, you start by launching the Phone Link app on a Windows device.

Next, follow the prompts and then use the Link to Windows iOS app on your iPhone to scan a QR code and authenticate the connection.

Once connected, Phone Link for iOS will offer “basic support” for phone calls, messages, and access to contacts.

Link to Windows app: Screenshot by Jonathan Wylie

How Does iMessage for Windows Work?

Unfortunately, the key words in this announcement are “basic support”. Microsoft is doing as much as it can to support an iPhone connection, but ultimately, it is limited by what Apple allows it to do.

So, you will be able to send and receive text messages, and you will get notifications on a Windows device when new messages arrive.

However, the sharing of videos and images is not supported. Group messaging is also not supported. Messages are session-based, which means that you can’t send or receive unless your iPhone is connected to your PC, and you won’t see message history.

Oh, and if you are wondering about green or blue bubbles, Microsoft has decided to make them gray.

What Phones Support Phone Link for iOS?

Any iPhone that runs iOS 14 or later is compatible with the Phone Link app. That means you can go all the way back to the iPhone 6S and still have a compatible device.

However, it is worth noting that the iPad (and the Mac) are not supported by this new implementation. It has to be an iPhone.

When is Phone Link for iOS Available?

Technically, it is available right now. The beta channel users have been testing this since February. However, Microsoft has said that it hopes to have it enabled for all users by mid-May, 2023.

To check if Phone Link for iOS is available on your Windows device, open the search menu and look for the Phone Link app. When it launches, you will be able to tell if you can connect your iPhone or if you, like me, are still waiting on a Windows update to enable it.

Phone Link app for Windows: Screenshot by Jonathan Wylie

Why Doesn’t Apple Make iMessage for Windows?

The short answer is, it has no incentive. Yes, Apple has a Music app and a TV+ app on Windows, but those are services that generate money for Apple. iMessage doesn’t do that.

Then there is the age-old argument that putting iMessage on Android or Windows could mean that shoppers have less incentive to purchase an Apple device.

I’m not sure that I agree with that, but it’s not without some merit.


This is obviously far from an ideal implementation of iMessage on Windows. It has some obvious limitations and pales in comparison to the iMessage experience you get on Apple devices.

However, it’s better than nothing. The ability to get notifications and send quick messages without getting your phone out and looking like you are not paying attention in a meeting is an appealing option for some people.

Functionality may improve in time, but right now, it is little more than a workaround. It will be enough for some people, but not for all.

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