How to Send a Text From Your Computer

Need to message someone but your phone isn't handy? Try these tips

Female architect working at laptop
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Texting goes hand-in-hand with smartphones, but there are times you might want to send a message or response from your computer. For one, it saves you from spending 20 or 30 minutes scrolling through pictures or social media when you just needed to send one quick message. It's also convenient if you have a longer message to send and you'd rather type it on a real keyboard.

Whatever the reason, texting from your computer is easier than ever to do, with multiple ways to do so, depending on the platform. Here are seven ways to text from your computer.

How to Text From Computer Using iMessage (iOS & MacOS)

Apple's iMessage service has long been the popular way to send messages between iPhones, and now you can also send them from your Mac computer. All you need is the Messages app on your iPhone and Mac, and an Apple ID. Be sure to sign in with same Apple ID you use with Messages on your iPhone and other devices. To use this feature, you'll need iOS 8 or later on your iPhone and OS X Yosemite or later on your Mac. It's also compatible with Apple Watches running watchOS 1.0 or later.

iPhone and Mac screen displaying Apple Messages.

iMessage can use data or Wi-Fi to send and receive messages, so it doesn't count against your text messaging plan. You can forward text messages (such as those from Android users) from your iPhone and iPad to your Mac by going to Settings > Messages > Text Message Forwarding, then choosing which devices can send and receive text messages from your iPhone.

Send Text From Computer Using Android Messages (Android & Web Browsers)

You can send and receive text messages, photos, voice messages, and video using Android Messages on your smartphone and desktop. To link the mobile app and the web version:

  1. Open the Messages app on your smartphone, tap the More options menu (three vertical dots), then tap Messages for web. Android Messages count toward your texting plan; the app doesn't use data, and the recipient doesn't need to have the app.

    Android Messages smartphone set-up screen.
  2. Visit https://messages.android.com on your computer using one of the following browsers: Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Edge. Internet Explorer isn't supported.

  3. On your Android smartphone, tap Scan QR code and point it at the QR code displayed on the computer.

  4. Enable Remember this computer beneath the QR code if you're using a trusted device, so you only have to do this once. Then you can opt into desktop notifications if you want, and you'll see your text history on the page.

Sync Text Messages Using Pushbullet (Android, iOS & Web Browsers)

Pushbullet syncs your texts between your smartphone, web browser, and desktop PC; it also lets you share websites and images from your smartphone to your computer (or multiple computers) and vice versa. There are Pushbullet apps for Android, iOS, and Windows PCs. Pushbullet also works with Chrome, Firefox, and Opera browsers.

  1. Install the mobile app on your phone and the desktop app on your computer.

  2. Sign into each app with your Google or Facebook account to link them together, and you'll start seeing text notifications pop up on your desktop that you can respond to; you can initiate texts, too.

    Pushbullet set-up screen
  3. To test if the notifications are working, go to Settings in the mobile Android app and tap Send test notification. It should show up on both your phone and computer and dismissing the alert on either device should also dismiss it from the other.

Send a Text Using Cortana (Android & Windows 10)

Android users with Windows 10 PCs can also text from their computer:

Launch the Cortana app on your Android smartphone. Tap the hamburger menu, then go to Settings > Sync notifications. Enable Missed call notifications, Incoming message notifications, and App notifications sync.

On your Windows 10 PC:

  1. First, go into Settings and toggle on Send notifications between devices. Optionally, you can also enable Use Cortana Even When My Device is Locked.

  2. Enable Cortana by selecting inside the search box in the Taskbar, then select the Notebook icon. You're now in Cortana's settings.

  3. Next, select the Settings icon and toggle on Hey Cortana. Now you're ready to text from your computer.

  4. Activate Cortana by saying "Hey Cortana" and say, for example, "Text Henry" or type SMS Henry, then speak or type your message, and state or select Send.

  5. You'll get a desktop notification when you receive a text, and you can type your reply in the notification window.

Send Texts Using Google Voice (Cross-Platform)

You can also send texts using Google Voice to U.S. and Canadian numbers for free.

  1. On your smartphone or PC, go to your account page and select the messages icon on the left. Here's where you'll also see your text history.

  2. Select Send a message to create a new one, or select a conversation to continue a thread.

    The texts will show up as sent from your Google Voice number.

  3. That's it.

The Google Voice interface looks very similar to Google Hangouts; in fact, you can link Hangouts to the Voice account:

  1. First, make sure you're signed into each service using the same username and email address.

  2. Go to hangouts.google.com, then go to Menu > Settings.

  3. In the Google Voice section, check Receive SMS and voicemail in Hangouts.

    When you receive texts in Hangouts, they're labeled SMS via Google Voice.

  4. You're done!

You can also open Hangouts in Gmail. At the top of your Hangouts list, select the Down arrow next to your name and profile photo, then scroll to the bottom of the Settings screen and check the box next to Receive SMS and voicemail in Hangouts.

Email a Text

Another method, albeit clunkier compared to the others in this article, is to send a text message via email. Each wireless carrier has an email formula for doing so. For example, to send a text message (SMS) to an AT&T user, email "number@txt.att.net," but replace "number" with a 10-digit phone number. To send an MMS (multimedia message, such as a photo) email "number@mms.att.net." Check with the carrier or reference this list of carrier email addresses.

The issue here is the email could end up in the recipients' spam folder or get lost in the shuffle since it will look differently from standard email addresses. You must also know which carrier the recipient uses.

Text From Computer Using SMS Websites

Finally, there are SMS websites that let you send text messages anonymously.

Some of these websites collect the numbers that users input and sell them to third parties. This method is best reserved as a last resort when anonymity is critical.