How to Return in iMessage on Mac? One Simple Way [2022]

How to Return in iMessage on Mac

iMessage is a great way to communicate with others, but sometimes it can be not very clear. If you’re not sure how to return in iMessage on Mac, don’t worry! We’re here to help. In this article, we’ll explain how to return in iMessage on Mac and show you some of the best ways to use this feature.

iMessage on Mac may feel different at first if you’re used to messaging on iPhone or iPad. One of the issues users face is when they press the Return key, the message gets sent instead of creating a new line. It can be both frustrating and intimidating.

So how do you Return in iMessage when on a Mac? You need to press the alt+Return or option+Return (alt and option are the same) key on Mac to create a new line in iMessage. Pressing the Return key is programmed to send the message in iMessage on Mac.

Continue reading for a more detailed explanation.

What does pressing Return in iMessage on Mac do?

How to Return in iMessage on Mac

The Return key is on the right-hand side of the keyboard on Mac, in the middle row. The key is named after the term ‘carriage Return’ — a term used during the typewriter days. It referred to the mechanism of advancing the sheet to the next line. 

Apple retained that term but dropped ‘carriage’ since computers do not have carriages. It does the same job as an Enter key in Windows. In some Macbooks, you’ll find both Enter and Return printed on the same key.

By pressing Return in Mac, you submit the data or create a new line of text when using a document editor.

Likewise, when you press Return in iMessage on Mac, it submits the text you have typed and sends it across to the other side.

How to insert a new line in iMessage on Mac?

When typing a long, detailed message on iMessage, breaking it down into different lines is better. Doing so improves readability and makes the message clearer.

On iPhone or iPad, pressing the Return/enter key gets the job done. You create as many lines of text as you want. But that doesn’t work in Mac.

To insert a new line in iMessage on Mac, you must press the alt/option+Return key combination. It’s one of the many keyboard shortcuts for Mac.

The option key is next to the arrows on the bottom right. From the bottom left, it’s the third key.

This would end the last line and start a new line in iMessage. It will take a while to adjust to the new key combination if you’ve been using iMessage exclusive on iPhone.

Return key not working in Mac?

How to Return in iMessage on Mac

Macbooks are sturdy pieces of hardware that last long. But they’re not immune to breakdowns.

Mac users have reported that their Return key suddenly stops working and becomes unresponsive. As a result, any action that requires the use of the Return key gets interrupted. So you need to act quickly.

When the Return key on Mac is not working, waiting for a few minutes does the trick. So shut down the Macbook and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Turn back on and check if the Return key starts functioning.

Dirt and debris are other common reasons certain keys do not work on a keyboard. So blow some air through the keyboard and clean with a dry cloth. Or, you can seek professional help to clean the laptop. Once the debris is cleared, the key should start working.

The last thing to try is updating the macOS. There’s a possibility of software issues triggering the problem. By updating the macOS, you can hope for the Return key to start functioning.

Navigate to System Preferences > Software Updates section and see if any updates are available, especially the firmware updates. Update the software and check if the issue is resolved.

If none of the solutions work, perhaps the key has worn-out. You have to replace the key or the keyboard set or use an external keyboard.

Useful iMessage shortcuts to use on Mac

Shortcuts are a great way to do more with less effort. If you’re using iMessage on Mac, there are a few shortcuts like alt+return you should know about and use. These are:

  • Option + Command + B – With this key combination, you can easily open the contact card of the person you’re chatting with. You can see their birthday or contact number with ease.
  • Command + R – Managing multiple texts at once? This shortcut will help you reply to the most recent message that you have received.
  • Command + Option + F – Want to send files in the chat? Use this command to open up the file picker window and attach files. Send them across once uploaded.
  • Command + Option + E – With this command, you can go from texting to emailing. If you want to email the person you’re texting, use this command to open the default Mail app.

There are many more shortcuts you can find for iMessage to use on Mac. Besides that, you can also create custom shortcuts. This allows you to set your preferences. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard to find more information regarding this.


Q1: Are the Return key and Enter key the same?

A: Yes, the Return and Enter keys are the same and designed for the same purpose. And it is to send a signal to the CPU to input the line of data, text, or command that is typed.

Q2: Will the Return key send the message in iMessage on a Mac?

A: Yes, pressing the Return key will send the text you’ve typed on iMessage.

Q3: What is the shortcut for a line break in Mac?

A: If you want to create a line break in Mac, you have to press Option + Return.

Q4: How can I press enter without sending the message on Mac?

A: If you want to create a line break with the Enter or Return key on Mac, press the Option + Return key. Do not press Enter/Return since that will send the message across.


If you’ve been struggling with the Return key in iMessage on Mac, now you know what to do. Using the Mac can be a bit complicated at first, but it gets easy once you get familiar.

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About the Author: Adam Wishmore

Adam Wishmore is an apple geek, there is no other way of putting it. Since the first generation iPhone hit the market to the latest Macbook pro, Adam knows everything there is and how to fix everything on apple devices. Find me on Facebook