General

Which operating systems can use Messages for Business?
Apple devices running iOS 11.3 and later or macOS 10.13.4 and later support Messages for Business.

What is the business cost of deploying Messages for Business?
It depends on the scope of your Messages for Business deployment and the Messaging Service Provider (MSP) used to implement your vision.

What are the differences between iMessage and Messages for Business?
SMS, iMessage, and Apple Messages for Business share the same hosting Apple Messages app available on Apple devices. Apple Messages for Business differs from the widely known iMessage by being a business to end-user service. Additionally, the encryption mechanism slightly differs from a traditional iMessage. Apple recommends to use Apple Messages when referring the service to a consumer.

How can customers contact my business?
To identify a business that uses Messages for Business look for a button that looks like a Messages bubble with a call to action (see image below). Customers can start a Messages for Business conversation by tapping the Messages for Business button on any touch point the business placed it, such as websites, mobile sites, emails, leaflets through a QR code, or in an iOS app. For additional entry points, see Entry Points.

Can I message my employees through Messages for Business?
Messages for Business currently does not support internal business, or business-to-business, communications.

Can I use my own bot to access the Messages for Business REST API?
A blend of bots, or virtual agents, and human agents is recommended to manage Messages for Business. The option to escalate to a human agent is mandatory in Messages for Business. For implementation purposes, a virtual assistant needs to access Messages for Business through a Messaging Service Provider (MSP), not through the Messages for Business REST API.

Can I reach out to customers through Messages for Business using their phone numbers?
With Apple Messages for Business, the customer must first start a conversation with your business before you can interact with them. Apple doesn't send customer information when they start a Messages for Business conversation. Messages for Business sends an anonymous ID, called an opaque ID, that is unique to the customer's conversation with your business. Messaging a customer directly using their phone number won't initiate a Messages for Business conversation.

What is an opaque ID?
The opaque ID is unique to the relationship between the customer's Apple ID and the business’s business ID. A customer has a different opaque ID for every chat they have using Messages for Business. The customer decides if and when to share personal identifying information with the business. For more information, see Apple Platform Security

Can I deploy Messages for Business with only virtual agents?
Apple recommends a blend of bots, or virtual agents, and human agents to manage Messages for Business. The option to escalate to a human agent is mandatory in Messages for Business. Therefore, we won't approve a deployment using virtual agents exclusively.

What is a Messaging Service Provider?
An MSP implements the server-to-server REST API solutions on their messaging platform, which makes it possible to send and receive texts and photos, request payment through Apple Pay, and much more. They also provide the live agent console to interact with customers and route messages, if necessary, to the correct team in your customer care center.

Can customers reach any business?
Businesses need to register for Apple's Messages for Business service and confirm that they can provide a Messages for Business service. Once Apple confirms the capability, in addition to other details businesses provided, then the business can be reached by customers through Messages for Business.

Can the customer add others to start a group chat?
Group chat with a business is not supported.

Can businesses send message notifications to users through Messages for Business?
Ask for permission before enrolling a customer in push notifications. Don't assume people always want notifications. When a customer opts into notifications, explain how they can opt out. For example, you could send a response that says "You're now signed up for order status notifications. Text ’unsubscribe‘ at anytime to turn off notifications." Make sure your opt out process is straightforward and easy to remember.

Learn more about conversation guidelines from Design and Implement Your User Experience .

Can I continue to communicate with my customer after the initial conversation?
Respond only to active conversations. When a customer ends a conversation they shouldn't receive additional messages unless they initiate a new conversation.

Learn more about conversation guidelines from Messages for Business Human Interface Guidelines.

What's the message exchange flow between Messages for Business service and an MSP?
The diagram below shows the basic flow when a customer's device sends a message to a business. The Messages for Business service receives the message and posts it to the MSP platform endpoint. The MSP platform takes the message, performs backend processes, if applicable, and forwards it to the appropriate business agent for a response. The Business agent responds to the customer, which sends the message back to the MSP platform and posts it to the Messages for Business Service, and it is forwarded back to the Customer’s device.

Learn more about the Messages for Business REST API.

Messages for Business architecture
Messages for Business service flow in detail

Which languages does Apple Messages for Business support?
Apple Messages for Business supports every language that iOS, iPadOS, and macOS support. This includes languages read and written right-to-left and left-to-right. You can verify supported languages through your device settings as follows:

  • For iPhone/iPad: Go to Settings > General > Language & Region > iPhone/iPad Language, and tap Other Languages to view the supported languages.
  • For Mac: Go to System Preferences > Language & Region > Preferred languages, anc click the plus button to view the supported languages.

Your MSP must confirm that their platform supports the language you plan to use.

Getting Started

As a business, where do I start?
First, choose a Messaging Service Provider (MSP) provider to deploy your Messages for Business solution. Apple has integrated with over 20 MSPs to date. Contact your chosen MSP to discuss first steps. Following that, go to Apple Register and create your Messages for Business account with Apple (at no charge). During the registration process, let us know which MSP you chose, indicate the names of your project team, approve our terms, and upload your branding. Then you can start implementing Messages for Business.

What are the available MSP platforms integrated with Apple?
Apple has integrated with a wide variety of approved MSPs. Learn more about available MSPs at Messages for Business.

What does an MSP platform do?
MSPs are responsible for receiving, routing, processing, responding where appropriate, and forwarding customer messages to businesses. MSPs can implement the many Messages for Business features, as well as a bot to respond to simple questions such as store hours or store locations.

My registration has been under review for a while. How can I get help?
When you log into Apple Register make sure that you review all actions pending for the account. When logged in, you can also send us a message by clicking Help. Additionally, we recommend that you contact your MSP representative.