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Sending and receiving fax messages while using any of the Apple products used to be a complicated task when that company started going big, but they implemented a lot of what a good OS needs to allow for quick and easy faxing of documents. There are three primary methods you can use to send/receive fax messages using Mac OS X:

  • Online Fax Services
  • Fax Machine or a Multifunction Printer
  • Apple Fax Modem

Method 1: Online Fax Services

The best thing with using online fax services to send and receive fax messages is that they are completely multi-platform – as long as you have an internet connection and access to a browser, you will be able to send and receive fax messages with ease. Once you setup your account from your Mac OS X system, you can access it from your smartphone, tablet, or any other computer. The process is pretty similar to sending and receiving e-mail messages, and the cost associated is lower than the cost of running an actual faxing landline and buying a fax machine.

The thing to take note of is that while most online fax services will perform their basic functions well, some of the more advanced functions may be unavailable from the Mac OS X. Keep an eye out for “Mac friendly” or “Mac compatible” tags on the fax service advertisement pages – fax friendly allow basic functionality, Mac compatible let you use all of the functions.

You can read up on some of the most popular basic services and their Mac OS X compatibility on our detailed online faxing services guide.

Method 2: Fax Machine or a Multifunction Printer

Most modern and many of the older generations of fax machines and multi-function printers are able to link up with a local PC and to send and receive messages that way. Mac OS X is fully supported, and, while the options of faxing vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, the interface for sending and receiving faxes is the same as for faxing from a PC.

You will need a computer running Mac OS X system, a set-up fax machine (or a multi-purpose scanner/printer with faxing capabilities) connected to a land line (faxing can not be done through the internet alone or through VoIP lines if you're using fax machines) and a document you want to send and you're good to go.

As with faxing from a PC, check what happens with the fax message if your computer is off at the time the message is sent to you – do you get notification that you have a message that didn't get received, do you get informed at all, or is it just a call you missed. Some fax machines are listed as “Mac compatible” but have only the basic functionality, check with the seller before you invest in a fax machine for Mac OS X computer.

Method 3: Apple Fax Modem

Please note that this is an OUT OF DATE method of faxing, as from Mac OS X 10.7 this method is no longer supported by Apple – the drivers are no longer updated with new OS X iterations.

As with regular fax modems for PC, all you need to do is hook up the external fax modem to the Mac OS X PC, set up the drivers, connect the landline and you can access the faxing interface from the print menu. Received faxes are sent to the scanner's folder as PDF documents, and you would have to have the document you want to fax as a digital text or PDF document. The downside of this method is that no messages are sent or received while the computer is shut down!!! You'd need a dedicated fax land line to connect to the fax modem, your regular line or VoIP line wouldn't do the trick.

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