How to send a text message from a computer

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Although you may not realize it, sending texts from your computer is extremely useful in dozens of situations. Perhaps you lost your phone and need to send a message to someone, maybe you’re over your monthly text limit and still need to get in touch with your friends, or you may just hate typing on a tiny keyboard. Whatever the case may be, it’s easier than you might think to learn how to send a text message from a computer.

There are hundreds of online services out there that’ll get the job done, but none of them are quite as simple and reliable as the methods outlined below.

Integrated mobile options

The good news is that both Android and iOS offer ways to sync your text messages between your smartphone and your computer. In the case of iMessage, however, you’ll need a computer running MacOS to take advantage of the iOS implementation.

How to send texts via Apple’s iMessage (iOS and MacOS)

Though iMessage formerly only handled iMessages, later iterations of Apple’s operating system include an option specifically designed for forwarding SMS messages directly to your Mac or another iOS device. Once properly set up, you’ll be able to quickly send messages from your computer to any known number using the Messages app on your machine — and receive them in a similar fashion without ever glancing at your phone.Message iOS 8

Step 1: To set up iMessage and SMS forwarding on your iOS device, navigate to the main “Settings” menu and tap “Messages.”

Step 2: Toggle on “iMessage” and ensure you’re logged into the same iCloud account as all other devices using Messages. Also, make sure all of your devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

Step 3: Tap “Text Message Forwarding”, toggle the switch directly right of the Apple device to which you want to send SMS messages, and then enter the six-digit confirmation code displayed on the device. Doing so will confirm that you want to send and receive messages from your iPhone on your Mac, and confirm you own the machine.

Once everything is set up, you can send text messages by clicking the pencil icon located above the contact list, entering your desired recipients, and composing the message as you would normally. However, keep in mind that the standard text message limit of 160 characters still applies even when using Messages. A text longer than 160 characters will likely count as two for billing purposes, or more depending on how long it is.

However, you can send messages to other iOS and MacOS users for free, as long as they use Messages. Keep in mind that you can always tell the difference between a text message and an iMessage at a glance, as the former will appear in green and the latter in blue.

How to send texts via Android Messages (Android)

Android Messages lets Android smartphone owners text straight from a web interface, no matter what device they’re using. It works on desktops, laptops, or even iOS devices. You do have to set Android Messages as the default app on your phone though, so make sure to do so before getting started.

how to send free text messages online androidmessages01

Step 1: Go to the Android Messages homepage.

Step 2: Open the Android Messages application on your phone.

Step 3: Tap on the three-dot menu icon and select “Messages for Web.”

Step 4: Tap “Scan QR code” and use your handset to scan the QR code from the Android Messages homepage. This will link your device and your browser, and you’ll see messages and contacts appear on your other device as they synchronize.

how to send free text messages online androidmessages02

Step 5: Use the web interface to chat with friends and family as you would on your Android smartphone.

If you want to retain the synchronization between devices so that you don’t have to scan the QR code every time, you can hit the “Remember this computer” toggle in your web browser.

How to send texts via PushBullet (Android)

As an alternative to Android Messages, you can use the app Pushbullet as a workaround. Pushbullet does many things, but one of its best features is its ability to send texts from your computer using your Android phone.

Step 1: Install the Pushbullet app on your phone.

Step 2: Install the accompanying Windows app or the browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, or Opera.

pushbullet-text

When a text comes in, you’ll receive a notification, which you can click to begin a conversation using the sleek window shown above. You can also browse your most recent conversations from within the PushBullet interface.

How to send texts via Cortana (Windows)

If you use an Android phone (or an old Windows Phone) and Windows 10 on your computer, you can easily send a text using Cortana. Just start typing the word “text” in Windows 10 search bar, followed by the person you’d like to contact. Assuming your computer and your phone are both signed into the same Microsoft account, Cortana will figure out who you want to text and ask you what you’d like to say.

Windows 10 devotees using Cortana on their Android device can also send and receive texts in a similar manner and the latest versions even let her read them for you.

Step 1: To send a text using Cortana on the desktop, make sure the recipient is listed within the People app. If your chosen recipient is not listed, launch the app and click the addition sign to add said recipient to the Microsoft Account database.

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Step 2: Make sure the linked Cortana app on your Android device is set to push and receive text messages to and from your PC. Start by heading into “Settings”, then “Sync notifications,” and make sure “Apps notifications sync” is switched on.

Step 3: Tap “Choose which apps to sync” and select your device’s messaging app.

Note: You can actually enable any messaging app to send and receive messages, including Facebook Messenger, allowing you to quickly respond to a message from any PC running Windows 10.

Once both platforms are configured, you can send a text message to a Microsoft Account contact by simply saying or typing the word “Message” in Cortana’s text field in the Windows 10 taskbar. Cortana will then expand and provide fields for choosing your desired recipient, typing your message, and choosing the SMS option.

Users can actually expand on that command with “Message Blah Blah” or “Text Blah Blah,” which will allow you to automatically select a recipient. You can even take things further, too, if you want to include additional context. For instance, you can say “Message Blah Blah Did you already leave for work?”

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

As for receiving texts, the Android iteration of Cortana will forward texts to a Windows 10 PC, which will then appear as pop-up notifications in the right-hand corner of your screen. Users can reply to the message from directly within the notification, assuming only one message was received. If multiple texts arrive at the same time from the same sender, then the notification will not provide a text field for your response.

Like the Windows Phone version of Cortana, there’s no way to browse older texts in Windows 10. It’s a great way to reply to a single incoming text, however, and to send a single outgoing text without having to pick up your Android device. Unfortunately, the feature is not really meant for full conversations. Also, keep in mind that this service requires you to be running at least the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

How to send texts via a free SMS website

If you weren’t already aware, there’s a bevy of free websites designed for sending text messages from your computer to a phone number of your own choosing. Sadly, many of these sites require you to register for an account in order to use their features, or, at the very least, provide a valid email in order to receive responses. They’re also lined with spam, and may potentially sell your information if you consent to their terms of service, which you likely have to in order to use them. Sites such as Text ‘Em, Send SMS Now, Txt2day, A Free SMS all essentially do the same thing, but should really only be used as a last resort. Proceed at your own risk.

SMS Spam

If you do go this route, you’ll typically need to select the appropriate country from a drop-down menu or map before entering the phone number you’d like to reach. Standard messaging rates still apply, but most sites designed for texting will showcase a basic character counter so you’ll know when you top the 160-character cap. Afterward, simply click the “Send SMS” button or a similar button thereof to send your message.

Sending texts via email

As our last option, you can send an SMS to a mobile phone without the need of a third-party service — you can do so directly within your email client. Instead of using a service you don’t know or trust, you can deliver a short email in the form of a text message by using an email to SMS gateway. So long as you know the person’s phone number and the name of their service provider, you can easily find the appropriate gateway address that will forward your message. Don’t know what mobile carrier your friend uses? Find out here.

For quick reference, we’ve put together a list of some of the most common U.S. service providers and their corresponding gateway addresses below. However, keep in mind there are different addresses for regular messages (SMS) and those that include photos and other media (MMS).

In either case, sending a message is easy. Just compose an email like you would normally, but rather than entering the person’s email address in the recipient box, simply insert their 10-digit phone number with the appropriate @gateway address behind it. Afterward, hit send.

U.S. Carrier SMS Gateway MMS Gateway
Alltel @text.wireless.alltel.com @mms.alltelwireless.com
AT&T @txt.att.net @mms.att.net
Boost Mobile @sms.myboostmobile.com @myboostmobile.com
Sprint @messaging.sprintpcs.com @pm.sprint.com
T-Mobile @tmomail.net @tmomail.net
U.S. Cellular @email.uscc.net @mms.uscc.net
Verizon @vtext.com @vzwpix.com
Virgin Mobile @vmobl.com @vmpix.com

Note: For T-Mobile, include “1,” which is the U.S. country code, before the phone number. To find SMS gateways for carriers not listed here, and carriers in other countries, consult this list on Github.

To ensure that this process works, you should limit your messages to 160 characters or less. If you go over this 160-character limit, the message will be sent as an MMS rather than an SMS, which sometimes requires a different gateway address. Furthermore, although this method is entirely free the sender, standard messaging rates may still apply to the person receiving these messages. No third-party service will have access to your telephone number, or the person you’re messaging, and replies will go directly to your email inbox. This process also makes it easy to send the same text to multiple people, since you can add as many addresses as you like to the recipient’s box.

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