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How to Download and Play iMessage Games on Your iPhone, iPad and Macbook

This article walks you through downloading and playing games on iMessage using iOS devices or an Apple Macbook.

How to Download and Play iMessage Games

Hello, friends. It’s Frankie Caruso, the instant messaging app wizard, here to bring you another impressive guide to iMessage.

Today… drum roll… we are going to talk about iMessage games!

Side note: If you want to get these helpful guides, tips and tricks right in your inbox, it only takes a second to subscribe (for free) to my newsletter.

Whether you are a little kid or a grown adult looking to reconnect with your inner child, I’m gonna walk you through the entire process to download and play super fun games on iMessage.

Every year, iMessage comes out with new and fun updates that help you better communicate with others, like emojis and read receipts.

But letting people play games within the app is definitely the most fun update ever!

If you want to learn how to play iMessage games with your friends, I’ll tell you everything you need to know to get started; and I’ll show you the best games out there right now.

Ready? Good. Let’s get started.


Frankie’s Take:

This guide is meant to explain how to play games in iMessages only on iOS devices or an Apple Macbook. I’m sure there are tricks to playing iMessage on Android devices, but it is beyond the scope of this guide.

What Are iMessage Games?

What's are iMessage Games

iMessage games were introduced by Apple when iOS 10 was released in 2016. They add a new dimension to text messaging with your friends.

All iMessage games are turn-based, so you can play with your friends whenever you have an extra minute. Most of the games are exclusive to iMessage, but some of them can even be played outside of the app (we’ll show you how).

Some of these games include Cup Pong, Checkers, Chess, Sea Battle, Dots & Boxes, Four in a Row, and many more.

These games are a new and exciting way to keep in touch with friends and loved ones.

Let’s be honest: sometimes, keeping text conversations going with people can be challenging. This way, you can keep in touch and have fun.

How to Play Games on iMessage

Starting iMessage games with your friends is easy.

Follow these steps to get playing.

Step 1: Make Sure You Have iMessage Enabled

Your iMessage feature is probably already enabled on your iPhone, but just in case it isn’t, follow these steps to turn it on.

  1. Open your Settings App
  2. Scroll down and tap the Messages button
  3. Toggle the iMessage button on

How to enable iMessage on iPhone

You should now be able to send and receive iMessages.

Step 2: Download iMessage Games

Now head back to your home screen and open your iMessage app. Click on an ongoing text conversation with someone.

Just above the keyboard, you should see several colorful icons. If you can’t see this bar, click the gray App Store button next to the gray camera button to enable it.

When you see the bar, click the blue App Store button to open the iMessage App Store. This will pull up several apps, games, and Emoji packs you can download for your iMessage app.

Click on an app and select Get once you’ve made your choice.

how to Download iMessage Games

Step 3: Start an iMessage Game With a Friend

Now we’ll tell you how to play games with someone on iPhone. Once you’ve downloaded the game you want to play, go back and open the conversation with the friend you want to play with on iMessage.

Check that same bar above your keyboard in the app. You should be able to scroll from side to side. Once your game has finished downloading, it will appear here.

Tap on the game you want to play with a friend to start a game! This will notify your friend. If they don’t have the game yet, they’ll be prompted to download it.

Now you and your friend can start playing the game in turns. After you play your turn, you have to wait for your friend to play their turn. You’ll receive a message whenever it’s your turn to play. Just tap the message to enter the game.

How to Play iMessage Games Without a Phone Number

Don’t have a current phone number but still want to play iMessage games? No problem.

Although you’ll need a working internet connection, iMessage works with just an Apple ID as well. Here are the steps to set up iMessage without a phone number or SIM card on an iPhone or iPad.

Step 1: Add an iCloud Account to Your Device

Go to the Settings App. If there isn’t already an iCloud account connected to the device, it will say Add Account at the top. Tap on that and add your information. You might probably have added this already when you activated your device. Tap the name to see your registered ID.

Step 2: Toggle iMessage On

Go to your Settings App and then find the Messages button. Toggle on the button next to iMessage.

Step 3: Send & Receive

Just under the iMessage toggle button, you should see Send & Receive. When you click it, you should see the registered Apple ID and phone numbers being used to send and receive messages. Tap on the email address or Apple ID you want to use.

Apple will usually automatically shift your profile to an email ID if there isn’t a SIM card or phone number connected to the device.

Bottom line: Select your Apple ID by going to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive to use iMessage with Wi-Fi, even if you don’t have a phone number or SIM card.

You should be able to do all standard iMessage functionalities, like texting, documents, videos, links, photos… and, of course, games!

The Best iMessage Games

When you first hear about iMessage games, you may be wondering:

What games can I play against another iPhone?

The answer is…all of them!

Here are some of the best games on iMessage that you can start playing right now with your friends. I’ll tell you what I like and don’t like about each of them.

Game Pigeon

Game Pigeon

Game Pigeon is one of the most popular titles to download for good reason. It has a massive variety of different classic games, including:

  • 8 Ball
  • Sea Battle
  • Basketball
  • Archery
  • Word Games
  • Darts
  • Cup Pong
  • Mini Golf
  • Knockout
  • Crazy 8
  • Four in a Row
  • Paintball
  • Shuffleboard
  • Tanks
  • Filler
  • Checkers
  • Chess
  • Mancala
  • Dots & Boxes
  • Gomoku
  • Reversi
  • 9 Ball
  • 20 Questions

Getting such a huge variety of games without having to leave a single app is awesome. All the games are free to play, but most include in-app purchases.

  • Frequent updates mean lots of new games and quick bug fixes
  • Some games can even support more than two players
  • Tons of great optional in-app purchase options
  • Some games can be confusing and don’t include instructions
  • Most games are only for two players
  • There are several games with content behind paywalls, some with annoying ads

Download Game Pigeon here.


Wordie is a word trivia game that is similar to Pictionary.

You and the other players are given a jumble of letters and four pictures to figure out the mystery word. One of the great things about this game is you can create groups of up to 40 players! You can even play this game on other Apple devices, including the Apple Watch.

  • Over 600 levels
  • You can play customized levels made by other players
  • Can integrate with social media
  • Too many ads
  • Some puzzles are too easy
  • Hard to play on Apple Watch

Download Wordie here.

Cobi Hoops

Cobi Hoops imessage

For all the basketball fans out there, Cobi Hoops is a super fun free game where players compete to see how many baskets they can make in a 30-second round. You can score more points by doing trick shots — unlocking new and exciting challenge modes.

  • A wide variety of characters to choose from
  • Several different unique court settings
  • Awesome pixel art makes every character look unique
  • Can’t block opponents’ shots
  • Extra characters and game modes are hidden behind a paywall

Download Cobi Hoops here.

How to Play iMessage Games on Macbook

Do you want a bigger screen for your iMessage games?

This is how you do it:

  1. Download and install the game on your iOS device
  2. Connect your iPhone to your Mac using a lightning cable
  3. Open QuickTime Player and click File, then go to New Movie Recording
  4. On the menu that pops up, select your iPhone

Your phone screen will now be displayed on your Mac! Now just go and launch the game on your iPhone and play the game right on your computer screen.


Frankie’s Take:

Are you wondering how to Play iMessage Games on an iPad? Just follow the same steps that you followed for your iPhone device. The iMessage App Store is right there in your Messages app.


That’s all you need to know about how to play iMessage games on your iPhone, Macbook, and iPad.

iMessage games are a creative new way to stay in touch with friends and family. So download some games and start sharpening your skills to win those bragging rights.

If you want to learn more awesome tips and tricks for iMessage, make sure you check out my other articles, too!

Frankie Caruso

PS – If you want to learn more tricks about iMessage and other popular services, follow us on YouTube and get signed up for our free weekly newsletter.

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About Frankie Caruso

I'm Frankie Caruso. I'm a professional amateur in that ugly business of social media, instant messaging apps and computer security. I help all those frustrated people who call themselves digital illiterates to understand something about this confusing digital world.

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