How to send text messages from your Mac or PC

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We are in 2022. Cars are circulating in some cities. Certain types of clothing become robotic. And at least a few people are convinced that an AI has become self-aware.

So why is texting from your computer sometimes a dice roll?

Granted, that’s not true for everyone: if the company that makes your phone also makes your computer, it’s all pretty straightforward. The same is true if your phone manufacturer is on good terms with the company that created your computer’s operating system.

But if none of these categories apply to you, well, the process usually takes a bit of thought. And because of that, more than a few people have written to our helpdesk wondering how they could send a standard text message, or SMS, from the comfort of their full-size keyboards.

To help you, we’ve put together this quick guide to getting your text messages flowing to and from your computer. And if you’re spending time tackling another kind of tech puzzle, you don’t have to do it alone – submit a request here or email [email protected], and we’ll do our best. better to help you understand the answer.

It’s about as easy as it gets. As long as you’re signed into the same Apple ID on your iPhone (or iPad, for that matter) and your Mac, you’ll be able to send and receive those blue bubble iMessages from your computer’s Messages app. But what about standard green bubble text messages?

Simple: Just make sure your phone’s SMS forwarding feature is turned on. Here’s how.

  • Open the Settings app and tap on Messages
  • Tap the text message forwarding option
  • Select the Mac (and/or iPad) from which you want to send and receive SMS

Once that’s done, you can use the same old Messages app on your Mac to contact (or reply to) the people in your life who also don’t have an iPhone.

Are you a Mac user who prefers to use an Android smartphone? There is a very simple method that I personally rely on, although there may be a catch to using it.

You see, many (but not all) Android phones use Google’s home Messages app to send and receive their text messages. If you already know what I’m talking about, or if your Android phone’s messaging app icon has a blue background and a three-line speech bubble, you have the least amount of work to do.

Just head to the Google Messages website, follow the instructions to scan the QR code, and you’ll soon see all your text conversations right in your web browser. (You might want to bookmark it for easy access later.)

But what if your phone comes with another messaging app instead? Don’t worry, it’s quite common. You can download and install Google’s Messages app from the Play Store if you don’t mind making the switch, though apps like Pushbullet can also help you send and receive text messages from your web browser.

In my experience, it can be a little buggy when it comes to displaying incoming text messages, but some Pushbullet users swear by it. If you really don’t want to switch messaging apps, it might be worth a shot.

Are you bad at texting? Here are the new rules for 2022.

Again, the easiest option is to use the same Google Messages feature we just talked about in your web browser of choice.

That said, Windows 10 and 11 – which Microsoft says are used by 1.4 billion devices per month – come with a special feature called Phone Link that can do a lot more than just send your text messages to the right people. Here’s how to set it up:

  • On your Windows PC, locate the search box or button in your taskbar and type “Phone Link”
  • Sign in to your Microsoft account if prompted
  • If your Android phone doesn’t already have it, download and install the Link to Windows app. (The Phone Link app on your computer will provide a link to help you find it.)
  • Once the application is installed on your phone, click on the button allowing you to pair with the QR code in the Phone Link window on your computer, and follow the remaining instructions

From there, you’ll be able to send and receive text messages from inside Phone Link on your PC, but that’s just the beginning. You can also view your phone’s photos on your computer screen, save them directly to your PC, and even run some Android apps in Windows, all without having to plug anything in.

This is, as you’d expect, the trickiest scenario of all. And it’s technically possible to pull it off, provided you’re willing to do a lot of tedious work.

Apps like AirMessage, for example, can basically transfer SMS and iMessages to Android phone, web browser running on your Windows computer. But although AirMessage has a solid reputation among its users, there is a significant catch: you must already own a Mac computer for it to work. (Trust me: you better try to follow their instructions than mine.)

Anshel Sag, Principal Analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told me that companies like Apple can exert more control over your experience if you stay within its ecosystem, and they reward that behavior with exclusive features you can’t. get that by staying there.

“I don’t foresee Apple wanting to make most of its own features accessible outside of its own platform without regulatory pressure,” Sag said. “Apple wants its users to know that they will have a better iPhone texting experience when paired with an iPad or MacBook.”

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but the company has been very protective of its messaging experience for years. According to emails that surfaced during the company’s legal battle with Epic Games, Apple at least briefly considered bringing its iMessage service to Android in 2013 before deciding against it.

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