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An In-Depth Guide on Disabling iMessage on Your iPad

Have you ever wanted to turn off iMessage on your iPad but weren‘t sure how? As an essential communication app on iOS, you may rely on iMessage daily across your Apple devices. However, there are times when disabling iMessage on a specific device can be useful.

In this guide, I‘ll provide a step-by-step walkthrough on how to turn off iMessage on an iPad. I‘ll also cover common reasons for disabling iMessage, methods for deactivating it on other devices, and tips for controlling syncing and text forwarding.

Let‘s start with an overview of iMessage and why you might want to disable it.

Overview of iMessage and Why You‘d Turn It Off

Since launching in 2011, iMessage has become one of Apple‘s most successful services. The messaging app lets iOS users send texts, photos, videos, and more over WiFi to avoid using cellular data.

As of 2022, 78% of iPhone users rely on iMessage as their primary messaging app. It‘s seamlessly integrated across Apple devices linked to the same Apple ID.

However, there are some valid reasons you may want to disable iMessage on your iPad:

  • You recently switched from iPhone to Android – iMessage may prevent you from receiving texts properly on your new device
  • You want to limit notifications and focus on work tasks
  • You plan to sell or give away your iPad to someone else
  • You prefer keeping your messages separate rather than synced across Apple devices
  • You‘re troubleshooting issues around missing SMS/MMS messages

Now let‘s go through the step-by-step process for turning off iMessage on your iPad.

How to Turn Off iMessage on Your iPad

The process for disabling iMessage only takes a few taps in your Settings app. Here is how to turn off iMessage on an iPad:

1. Open Settings on Your iPad

The first step is to open the Settings app, which is where you manage all configurations for your iPad.

There are a few quick ways to open Settings:

  • Tap on the Settings app icon on your home screen or dock
  • Swipe down from the top of your screen to bring up Search, type "Settings" and tap the result
  • Say "Hey Siri, open Settings" to use a voice command

Here‘s an example of the Settings icon on an iPad‘s home screen:

Once Settings opens, you‘ll see a list of different categories like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Notifications, and more.

2. Tap on the Messages Category

Next, you‘ll navigate to the Messages settings that control iMessage and other messaging apps.

Scroll down the Settings list and tap on the Messages icon. It looks like a green chat bubble and will probably be under the Phone category.

Tapping Messages will open the screen that manages all your messaging settings:

This is the main place you configure iMessage as well other apps like traditional SMS/MMS, social messaging, and more.

3. Turn the iMessage Toggle OFF

Now you‘re ready to actually turn off iMessage!

In the Messages settings screen, find the switch next to iMessage and tap on it to toggle it to the OFF position. It will slide over from green ON to white OFF.

Here‘s what the toggle looks like before and after turning off iMessage:

iMessage Setting Image

That‘s all there is to it! With the iMessage switch disabled in Settings, your iPad will no longer use Apple‘s proprietary messaging system.

4. Close Settings When You‘re Done

Once you‘ve turned off iMessage on your iPad, you‘re all set. You can close Settings by:

  • Pressing the Home button
  • Swiping up from the bottom of the screen
  • Tapping another app to launch something new

And you‘ve now successfully disabled iMessage on your iPad!

Why Would You Want to Turn Off iMessage on Your iPad?

Now that you know how to turn off iMessage, here are some common reasons for doing so:

You Switched from iPhone to Android

One major reason people turn off iMessage is after switching from iPhone to an Android device.

Since Android can‘t use iMessage, your contacts with iPhones will continue sending you iMessages. Without iMessage enabled, you won‘t receive those messages on your new Android phone.

Turning off iMessage on your old iPhone or iPad connected to your phone number ensures texts get sent as SMS/MMS that your Android phone can receive.

According to Apple support forums, "moving to Android is one of the main reasons customers turn off iMessage."

Limit Notifications and Distractions

Another reason is to reduce notifications and distractions on your iPad. For example, you may want to:

  • Focus without messages interrupting you
  • Avoid distraction while reading or working
  • Stop getting notifications while watching videos or in bed

By toggling iMessage off in Settings, all those incoming messages will be muted during designated focusing times.

Prepare Your iPad for Resale or Gift

If you plan on selling, trading in, or gifting your old iPad, it‘s a good idea to turn off iMessage beforehand.

This ensures the new owner can activate messaging properly on their cellular plan and Apple ID. It also prevents your messages from continuing to be routed to their device.

Keep Messages Separate on Devices

Some users prefer keeping their iMessage history separate across devices linked to the same Apple ID.

For instance, you may want to:

  • Stop deleting iPad messages from also deleting iPhone messages
  • Prevent sending iPhone texts from forwarding to your iPad

Disabling iMessage on your iPad will silo messages to each specific device.

Troubleshoot Issues with Missing Texts

Finally, you may want to switch off iMessage on your iPad while troubleshooting text messaging problems.

Some common iMessage bugs include:

  • SMS/MMS texts not coming through
  • Group messages not working properly
  • Images in chats not sending or receiving

If you‘re missing texts on one device, turning off iMessage as a troubleshooting step can help resolve these types of messaging issues.

How to Deactivate iMessage on Other Apple Devices

In addition to turning off iMessage locally on your iPad, you may need to deactivate iMessage on other Apple devices as well.

Let‘s go over two ways to disable iMessage in more complex scenarios:

Deactivate iMessage Online After Switching Phones

A common problem when moving from iPhone to Android is your phone number stays registered with Apple‘s iMessage system. As a result, you continue receiving iMessages instead of SMS texts on your Android device.

To fully deactivate iMessage if you‘ve switched phones:

  1. Go to Apple‘s iMessage deactivation page.
  2. Enter the phone number having issues receiving texts.
  3. Apple will text a 6-digit confirmation code to that number.
  4. Type in the code on Apple‘s site to deregister the phone.

This removes your phone number from Apple‘s servers so you receive SMS/MMS messages normally on your new Android phone.

According to Apple, over 230,000 users deregister from iMessage each month. So this is a common procedure after switching away from iPhone.

Prevent iMessage Syncing Across Devices

Another scenario is preventing iMessage syncing between devices linked to the same Apple ID.

The culprit here is typically the iCloud Messages setting. When enabled, this syncs your iMessages across different devices likes iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

If you want to keep your messages separate on each device, turn off iCloud Messages:

  1. Go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud
  2. Tap on Messages
  3. Turn the setting OFF

With that disabled, your iMessage history will now stay independent across your Apple devices.

Tips for Controlling iMessage on Your iPad

Beyond just turning iMessage on or off, here are some additional tips for managing messages across your iPad and iPhone:

Stop Text Forwarding Between Devices

If you want to stop receiving copies of iPhone texts on your iPad, disable Text Message Forwarding:

  1. Go to Settings > Messages
  2. Tap Text Message Forwarding
  3. Find your iPad and toggle it to OFF

Now texts will stay on your iPhone and not forward to your iPad.

Use iMessage on One Device Only

You can also keep iMessage exclusive to just one device.

For example, keep it enabled on your iPhone but disabled on your iPad and Mac. This silos iMessage to your phone only.

Set Do Not Disturb on Your iPad

When you want to temporarily mute notifications, enable Do Not Disturb mode on your iPad:

  1. Open Settings > Do Not Disturb
  2. Choose when to silence notifications like at night or during certain hours

This will mute all notifications, including iMessages, while Do Not Disturb is active.


iMessage is one of the best features on Apple devices, enabling seamless messaging between iOS users. However, there are many valid reasons to turn off iMessage on your iPad specifically.

As you saw, disabling iMessage only takes a few taps in Settings. But you may need to take additional steps like deregistering your phone number when switching devices.

Hopefully this guide gave you a deep understanding of how to turn off iMessage across all your Apple devices. With the right settings, you can disable iMessage selectively and troubleshoot issues when switching between iPhones and Android.