iMessage on the Mac could soon look a lot like the iOS version

(Image credit: Apple)

If you're all-in on the Apple ecosystem, you can get at your messages from both Mac and iPhone – but the macOS client lags behind the mobile version in certain ways. That might be about to change with the unveiling of iOS 14.

Early code seen by 9to5Mac suggests that Apple is going to utilize its Catalyst development tool to basically copy the iOS version of Messages over to the Mac. That means all the features of iMessage would get copied over too.

At the moment, certain iMessage features such as stickers, message reactions and different text sizes will only work on iOS (and iPadOS). With the next refresh of iOS and macOS, it looks as though all this functionality will come to desktops and laptops too.

  • Better security is coming to RCS
  • The 2021 iPhone will be worth waiting for
  • The lockdown guide to weird tech

To avoid confusion, iMessage is Apple's proprietary messaging platform that works between Apple devices. Messages is the name of the iOS and macOS client – it handles both iMessage and standard SMS (without all the fancy features).

More at WWDC 2020

We've been hearing plenty about iOS 14 in recent weeks, thanks to an early version of the mobile operating system that's leaked out of the Apple vaults. One of the changes we're expecting to see is more wallpaper and widget customizations.

Apple isn't going to say anything officially about the next iOS (and iPadOS) until WWDC 2020 though. The event has been moved online for this year and gets underway on June 22. We should hear more about the next version of macOS on the same date.

And it wouldn't be a huge surprise if this Messages port happens – Apple has used Catalyst to move apps from mobile to desktop before, including Apple News, Home, and Stocks. Third-party developers haven't been quite so keen to adopt the technology so far, however.

It makes sense for all the iMessage bells and whistles to become available on macOS, meaning you can keep in touch with friends and family in exactly the same way no matter what Apple devices you're using. All should be revealed on June 22.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.