8 Ways to Text on the iPad

Man using ipad

One really cool feature of the iPad is the ability to route a text message through your iPhone. This allows you to text people from your iPad even if they have an Android smartphone or a phone without any smart features at all. The iPad uses a feature called continuity to route the message through the cloud to your iPhone and then to the person you are trying to text.  

Even if you don't have an iPhone, there are a few ways you can send a text message to a friend using your iPad.​ But first, we'll take a look at setting up the text forwarding feature on the iPhone.

  1. First, go into your iPhone's settings. (Hint: You can launch settings by using Spotlight Search on your iPhone.)
  2. Next, scroll down the menu and tap Messages. It is the option just under Phone.  
  3. In the Messages settings, tap Text Message Forwarding.
  4. This screen will list all of the Apple devices you own that can use the continuity feature. Tap the button out to the side of your iPad to enable Text Message Forwarding for it.  
  5. You will be prompted to type in a code on your iPad to turn on the feature. Once you type in the code, your iPad will be able to send text messages to both iPhone users and non-iPhone users.

The iPad can utilize the same stickers, animations and drawing that is included with the iPhone's text messaging app, just make sure to upgrade to the latest operating system in order to ensure you have the most recent features. 

How to Text on Your iPad If You Don't Own an iPhone

If you don't own an iPhone, there are still plenty of ways you can use your iPad for sending text messages.

 You can use Apple's service, alternatives to text messaging or one of the many apps that provide free SMS messaging on the iPad.  

iMessage. The Messages app can send text messages to anyone that owns an iPhone or iPad even if you don't own an iPhone. The iPad does this using your Apple ID and routes the message based on the email address associated with your Apple ID account.

If the recipient doesn't own an iPhone but owns an iPad, they will need to have this feature turned on in settings as well. You can turn this feature on by going to the Settings app, choosing Messages from the left-side menu and tapping "Send & Receive." The iPad will list the email accounts associated with your Apple ID. Tap to put a check mark next to the email address(es) you want to use.  

Facebook Messenger.  Sure, we like to pretend those Android people don't exist, but some people simply refuse to get on the Apple train.  If you have friends or family using Android or (gasp!) a Windows Phone, you can still easily send them messages using the Facebook Messenger app.  With over 1.5 billion users on Facebook, this should be enough to message almost anyone.   

Skype. The leading Voice-Over-IP (VoIP) service, Skype allows you to use your iPad much like a phone. In addition to sending text messages, you can send video messages, place phone calls and video conference using the software. If you want to stay in touch with someone and can't use iMessage or FaceTime because they don't own an iPhone or iPad, Skype is the best alternative.   

Snapchat.  Believe it or not, Snapchat actually works on the iPad.

However, you have to jump through a small hoop to actually install it.  Because there is not an official iPad version, when you search for "Snapchat" in the app store, you will need to search for "iPhone Only" apps by tapping where it reads "iPad Only" at the top of the search screen in the App Store and choosing iPhone.   Snapchat isn't true text messaging because you can only message people who have signed up for the service, but it offers a fun alternative to traditional text messaging.  

AIM.  At one point, AOL Instant Messaging (AIM) was one of the most popular messaging services on the Internet.  With the rise of social media and so many free ways to send text messages, the old school messaging services have fallen by the wayside.  AIM has reinvented itself as a messaging app that also offers free text messaging and is a pretty good alternative for the iPad.

Viber.  If you want to know what one of those messaging services would have looked like if it came out today, look no further than Viber.  It has all the bells and whistles you would expect in a social messaging service, including Viber Wink, which deletes the message after it is viewed.  You can also place phone calls, video calls and get involved in public chats.  Viber also supports split-view multitasking, which is pretty cool.  

More Free Texting Apps. FreeTone (formerly Text Me) and textPlus both offer free texting to iPad users. It offers users a free phone number capable of sending SMS messages to the US, Canada and 40 other countries around the world. And textPlus is also a great option. Both apps allow phone calls in addition to text messages, but you may need to pay for in-app purchases to use all of their features.  

The Best Must-Have (and Free!) Apps for the iPad

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