Getting Started

The onboarding steps for both Messages for Business accounts and Messaging Service Providers (MSPs) require an Apple review at different points in the process. While Apple is reviewing your progress, you can start planning your Messages for Business solution. If you are registering for a Messages for Business account, research your business needs and provide a process plan that identifies and authenticates your customers needs within Messages for Business to your MSP. Approved MSPs receive access to detailed documentation and our dedicated support team to assist your business needs.

Apple recommends that you follow Messages for Business Policies and Best Practices to ensure a positive customer experience using Messages for Business.

Registering for the Messages for Business Service

Setup your organization’s profile in Apple Business Register to use the Messages for Business service. Assign team members the roles of administrator and sponsoring executive before beginning the application process. It is recommended that you designate more than one team member to the roles needed to complete the onboarding process. These roles are designated during the registration process.

The complete organization onboarding process, including applying for either Messages for Business accounts or MSP account, requires actions from an administrator, a technical contact, and a sponsoring executive. The administrator uses Apple Business Register to register the organization and approve the TOU on behalf of the sponsoring executive, the technical contact can set up Messages for Business Accounts, MSPs, and brands, and the sponsoring executive agrees to the TOU. You should have these program contact roles identified prior to registration. See Assigning Roles to Your Team Members.

Assigning Roles to Your Team Members

Before you begin your organization registration, assign the roles below to team members. Apple recommends that you have more than one team member for each role. Each team member assigned a role must have an Apple ID that uses your organization’s email.

  • Administrative contact: An employee that an Apple Business Register representative can contact for technical issues. The administrator can also register the business using Business Register. It is recommended to have two administrative contacts for redundancy.
  • Technical contact: An employee that an Apple Business Register representative can contact for technical issues.
  • Sponsoring executive: A senior member of your team responsible for overseeing your Messages for Business project to agree to the Terms of Use (TOU).

Onboarding Your Messages for Business Accounts

Messages for Business account onboarding requires actions from a technical contact to setup services, and configure and test the account with the MSP. For more information on all the roles needed to setup your Messages for Business Accounts, see Assigning Roles to Your Team Members.

The following diagram shows the Messages for Business accounts onboarding process. First, you begin by creating your Messages for Business accounts, which includes registering your organization to use the Messages for Business service. During the Messages for Business account creation process, you can either select an Apple approved MSP provider from the list or give the URL provided by your MSP. Once this step is completed, you can register each brand your organization owns for a Messages for Business account. You can create an account for testing, development, staging, or production. Work with your MSP to design, configure, and test a positive customer experience. Once your account has been fully configured and thoroughly tested with your MSP, contact your Apple Business Register representative for a launch readiness review.

Messages for Business account onboarding process
The Messages for Business account onboarding process

Use the following steps to complete your onboarding with Messages for Business:

Select your Apple Business Register service. When you first login using your Apple ID, click Get Started. Scroll down the page to add the Business Accounts for Messages service.

Create Your Messages for Business Account. Click on Messages for Business Accounts to register and submit your Messages for Business account for an Apple review. You can also create a Messages for Business account for each brand you own to use Messages for Business. See Create a Commercial Messages for Business Account.

Connect to your Messaging Service Platform. Test your Messages for Business account to verify you can send and receive messages through your MSP. See Messaging Platform Configuration and Account Testing.

Configure your website and app Messages for Business buttons. Configure the Messages for Business button on your website and app. See Configure Your Website and App Messages for Business Buttons.

User Experience Review. Contact your Apple Business Register representative to begin a review of your use cases. See User Experience Review.

Tell Apple if you are ready to launch. Apple will review your account to verify it meets the standards for customer interaction. See Ready to Launch.

Launch Messages for Business to your customers. Make your Messages for Business publicly available. See Design Your Website and Messages Buttons.

Configure your iOS entry points. Once your Messages for Business buttons are publicly available, go to Apple Business Register to enable your business and place cards. See Configure Your iOS Entry Points.

Refine and improve your customer's Messages for Business experience. Use metrics and use cases to further enhance your customer’s user experience. See Optimize Your Customer’s Messages for Business Experience.

Create a Commercial Messages for Business Account

Commercial Messages for Business accounts are used for production. At the end of this exercise you should have at least one commercial account registered and ready for Apple to review.

TIP You can click Progress, located in the upper right corner, at any time to view the status of your account in the Messages for Business workflow.

Manage Services. Add Business Accounts for Messages, then click Done.

New account. Click Add new and on the Messages for Business Accounts page, click Get Started.

Messages for Business Policies. Acknowledge the Messages for Business account policies by reading and selecting each checkbox, then click Next.

By selecting a checkbox you are agreeing to the policy. You cannot proceed unless all checkboxes are selected.

Overview 1: Messages for Business Account

You’re presented with an overview for registering a new Messages for Business account. Click Next.

Account Applicant. Fill out or verify your organization’s information. Click Next when you’re done.

Messages for Business Account Type. Select Commercial Account, then click Next.

Account Contacts. Enter the technical contact and sponsoring executive for this account, then click Next.

Number of Locations. Select the number of public locations for your business. If your business has only one location accessible to the public, select One Public Location and enter your location information. If your business has multiple locations or is an online business, you'll be guided on creating a brand.

Overview 2: Brand Information Card

You are presented with an overview to set up your brand cards.

Brand. You can add a new brand or select from an existing brand. For new brands, you need to fill out the form and click Add.

When you’ve completed your selection, click Next.

Brand Information Card Details. Fill out or verify the information in the form and click Next.

Messaging Response Hours. Select your timezone and hours of operation, then click Next.

Response Hours. Select the timezone, estimated time for a live agent to respond to customers during office hours, and your support's response hours.

Overview 3: Business Identity

In this section, you’ll provide your logo and choose a background color for the Messages app and listing.

Decide on the brands that your organization wants to display to your customers in the Messages app. For each brand owned by your organization, your customers can start a separate conversation in the Messages app. A brand should have a name, logo, and color scheme. For design guidance, see Human Interface Guidelines > Messages for Business > Branding.

Note A Messages for Business account is only available to the official owners of a brand. Franchisees and other similar business owners have to work through their brand owner to use Messages for Business.

You can upload a square or wide logo to display in the Messages header and iOS searches, and choose the type of logo that appears on the Messages for Business Message header when a customer initiates a message conversation. When customers search for your business, Messages for Business displays a square logo in the search results of Apple Maps, as well as in Messages for Business Messages header. You can also specify the background color to use for the Messages for Business Message header and a color for the back and info icons. For design guidance, see Human Interface Guidelines > Messages for Business > Logo.

The screenshot below displays the Messages header with a square logo on the left and a wide logo on the right. Notice how the background color matches the logo's colors. Also, the white of the header buttons stand out against the darker background color, making them easily visible in both headers.

Square logo
A square logo
Wide logo
A wide logo

Square Logo. Add a square logo that follows the Human Interface Guidelines for logos, then click Next.

Review your Square Logo. In this screen, verify your logo’s appearance in both dark and light modes. Select the checkboxes and click Next.

Wide Logo. Add a wide logo that follows the Human Interface Guidelines for logos, then click Next.

Review your Wide Logo. Verify your logo’s appearance in both dark and light modes.

Message Header Colors. Choose the background and button hex-color for the header that appears in the Messages app. You can preview your color choice with your logo for dark and light modes.

Review your Message Header. Verify the color and logo in the preview. Select the checkboxes and click Next.

Overview 4: Messaging Platform Configuration

Platform. Select your Messaging Service Platform provider or provide your MSPs URL. Click Next to continue.

Submit your profile. After you submit your profile, and you don’t have any alerts, the status area on the profile page shows that Apple is reviewing your profile. If you do have alerts, you need to fix them before you can submit your profile for review.

Messaging Platform Configuration

Once you have finished creating all of your Messages for Business accounts and brand profiles, test your connection with each of your Messages for Business accounts to your MSP.

After integration is complete, you are ready to test with your internal testers. While your Messages for Business account is in test mode, only your testers are able to send and receive messages. In addition to sending and receiving messages, you should test the integration with the built-in features (time picker, list picker, and Apple Pay), as well as any Message apps that you have created.

Verify Your MSP Connection

When you set up your Messages for Business account, the wizard takes you through setting up your connection with your MSP. Once Apple approves your Messages for Business, you need to verify the link between your Messages for Business account and your MSP account as it enables your MSP to correctly route your messages.

  1. Sign in to Apple Business Register and click on Messages for Business Accounts. On the left side, click on the account you want to test.
  2. Scroll to the Messaging Service Platform Configuration section. On the right, click the Connect to with the name of your MSP. Click Connect.

NOTE If the link Connect to... is not available, wait until Apple approves your Messages for Business account before proceeding with this step.

  1. Clicking Connect takes you to your MSPs landing page to complete the account linking process. Your MSP must confirm that your MSP account is linked to your Messages for Business account. If you have any questions whether this completed successfully, please contact your MSP directly. Apple cannot assist with this step.
  2. Once you received confirmation from your MSP that your Messages for Business account is linked to your MSP account, you can return to your Messages for Business account page in Apple Business Register.

Account Testing

Account testing is an important aspect of setting up your Messages for Business account. It allows you to determine if the connections, entry points, and console are working. Work with your MSP to determine how best to test your Messages for Business account and add authorized testers, if necessary.

Add Testers

Use the following steps to add internal testers to your Messages for Business account:

  1. Sign in to Apple Business Register.

  2. Click Messages for Business Accounts and select the account to add testers.

    TIP Whether you are a business or an MSP ensure you and your team members have an Apple ID using your organization’s email address.

  3. Scroll down the page to Account Testing.

  4. Add your internal tester's Apple IDs.

  5. Click Send to new testers to send an instructional email to your testers when your list is complete and you're ready to begin testing.

  6. Click Submit in the Messages for Business account profile for Apple to approve your changes.

Apple Business Register sends an instructional email containing a link to your Messages for
Business conversation to the Apple ID email address of each tester. If a tester doesn't receive the email, then recheck that their email address is provided in the Account Testing section. The email address maybe wrong or not an Apple ID. For security and privacy reasons, Apple can't verify Apple ID email addresses.

Test Sending and Receiving Messages

Activating the link contained in the testers email allows testers to send messages to your agents who can reply from your MSP agent desktop. When testing, be aware of the following details:

  • Design a test to include your support agent desktop and webpage which triggers the appropriate built-in features and Message apps.
  • You should observe messages sent from an iOS device are now arriving to your test business. Employees testing from your support agent desktop or webpage should be able to respond to these test messages.
  • Your testers may notice your brand colors are not visible in the Messages header. Brand color is not available while your account is in test mode. Your brand's colors display correctly once your account goes online.
  • If you send the testing link to someone whose email is not listed in the Account Testing section, then they will be unable to send messages.
  • If you provide a Redirect Page URL and your testers try to enter Messages for Business from an unsupported device, then they land either on a default or redirected page. You can set your Redirect Page URL in the "Unsupported Devices" section at the bottom of your Messages for Business account page.

Use the following steps to begin testing:

  1. From a supported device, ask your testers to find the email sent to them.
  2. Click the link in the email from a supported device which takes them to a Messages for Business conversation in the Messages app.