Catalina problems with Messages and Notes


Since I upgraded to Catalina, certain messages that I get on my iPhone don’t show up on my iMac. Specifically text messages from financial institutions, local governments, shipping companies, Amazon etc. come through fine on my phone, but don’t show up in Messages on my iMac. All text messages from my family et al. appear on both my phone AND on my iMac running Catalina. I have I have tried all the standard fixes on the Internet: checking and rechecking the iCloud accounts and the Apple IDs, restarting, turn things on and off. All my contact info with those whose text messages show up on my phone but not on my iMac are correct (obviously as they successfully appear my phone).

(Messages problem solved. Thanks to Mark Williamson—see below.)


My daughter tried to share a note. My wife, who has not upgraded to Catalina, was able to open the note. I have upgraded to Catalina, and the note won’t open for me. I continually get an alert that says “Sorry, this note cannot be opened right now. Please try again later.” I have tried all the standard fixes on the Internet: checking and rechecking the iCloud account and the Apple ID, restarting, turn things on and off. But nothing works.

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Interesting problems—are others seeing these? They feel potentially related to iCloud, which adds a black-box factor.

Have you played with the Settings->Messages (not Settings-[Apple ID]->iCloud->Messages) setting on your phone? When I was having similar problems getting messages to show up on my computer, I was finally able to solve it by going to Settings->Messages and toggling iMessage setting off. For good measure, I shut the phone down and restarted it. I then went back to Settings->Messages and turned the iMessage setting back on. All was well.

Note: I did this only after many hours of frustration playing with iCloud settings on the phone and computer and settings in the Messages app on the computer.

I did as you did with settings in messages as well as iCloud settings. Tried several times. I’ll have another try but am not hopeful.

Did you verify that your phone was still enabled to forward text messages to your Mac? Sounds like iMessages are coming through but SMS messages are not.

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Bingo. Thank you. It was not a Catalina problem. At the same time I switched to Catalina I switched to a new iMac as well. Of course iMessages did not know I had a new device. So while Text Message Forwarding was enabled for my old device, it was not for the new iMac. Now it is, and iMessages and SMS messages are coming through. Very stupid of me. I’m still trying to figure out my problem with sharing Notes, and I hope I not being equally dumb regarding that.

I’m confused. I just checked my iPhone Settings->Messages, and Text Message Forwarding is enabled for 1 Device. I click on Text Message Forwarding and learn that the one device is my iPad. I see no way to add my Macintosh. But, I do get text messages (SMS and iMessage) on the Macintosh. What goes on?

Beats me. When I went to iPhone Settings->Messages, my new iMac appeared (as did my old one) under Text Message Forwarding. I enabled the new iMac and then both SMS messages and iMessages appeared on both phone and iMac. I was on the same WiFi network and logged in with the same Apple ID. I can’t explain why my iMac showed up though.

Thanks Mark! Just got a new 16" Macbook Pro, and this problem stumped me too, and this was exactly the problem!

I suddenly started having Messages problems in Catalina. I can’t login to my Apple ID, and preferences are greyed out. It’s fine on my iPhone and iPad. Any ideas? Thanks.

First diagnostic: Can you log into your Apple ID from another account on the same machine?

I can log into my Apple ID from the main account. I’m definitely logged in. For example, if I use the Notes app on my Mac and create a new note it’s immediately visible on my iPhone.


It’s basically back now after installing the Catalina supplemental update and restarting.

The only issue now is that even though Messages is supposedly in iCloud, not all of them are synced to the Mac. I clicked the ‘sync now’ option in Messages preferences though.

Here’s something to try. On a mobile device go to Settings->Messages and toggle iMessage off. Restart the device and toggle it back on. Restart your Mac.

I had a problem similar to what you described when I replaced the topcase (I,e, logic board, battery, keyboard and trackpad) to solve an issue with the Touch Bar (covered by AppleCare). Logically it amounted to getting a new computer. After restoring my system, I couldn’t get Messages to sync to the ‘new’ Mac. After two calls with AppleCare involving an hour or two of futzing around, they suggested the steps above, and they worked! Remember, don’t play with the Messages setting under iCloud, play with the iMessage setting under Messages.

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