Why type out text messages at your smartphone when you’re at a laptop or desktop PC with a full-size keyboards? These tricks allow you to send text messages directly from your PC.
Even if you don’t have access to cellular service you can use some of these tools to send SMS messages directly to a phone number. You don’t even need a mobile phone on your end.
Messages for iPhones – Mac Only
If you have both an iPhone and a Mac, Apple makes this possible. You need both — there’s no way to do this with an iPhone and a Windows PC. The built-in SMS-message-sending feature on a Mac only works if you partner it with an iPhone, too — not if you have an Android phone.
This is part of the “Continuity” feature added in Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite. You’ll need to enable it on your iPhone by opening the Settings app, tapping Messages, and activating Text Message Forwarding to your Mac. It should then work automatically if you’re using the same Apple ID to log into both your iPhone and your Mac. Open the Messages app on your Mac and you’ll see a synced history of text messages from your iPhone, too. You can reply from your Mac or send entirely new messages from the Messages app. Those text messages will be synced to your iPhone, too.
This doesn’t cost anything extra — it just uses your iPhone’s text-messaging service. If your cellular carrier charges you for texts, you’ll have to pay that fee for the messages you send.
MightyText for Android Phones
if you have an Android phone, the best way to do this is MightyText. MightyText is an app you install on your Android phone. You can then sign into the MightyText web app in a web browser on your computer — any computer, whether it’s running Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, or Chrome OS — and you can view and send your phone’s text messages from there. Browser extensions are also available. The AirDroid app for Android also does this and works well.
Like Messages on a Mac, this works entirely through your phone — your computer just becomes a gateway to your phone, which does the hard work of actually sending and receiving those text messages.
This won’t cost you anything extra. If your cellular carrier charges you for text messages, you’ll have to pay their fee.
Google Voice – US Only
Google Voice is still around, but it’s also still only available to people based in the USA. If you are based in the USA, you can sign up for Google Voice for free. Google Voice gives you a new phone number, which you could use as your primary phone number if you like — although it’s unclear how long Google Voice will continue to be a service supported by Google.
Sign into the Google Voice website and you can send and receive text messages at that phone number. You can also have calls and text messages sent to that phone number be automatically forwarded to your primary phone number.
Sending text messages and placing phone calls to numbers in the US and Canada is completely free with Google Voice. You’ll have to pay Google to send text messages elsewhere.
Skype offers the ability to send text messages from the Skype desktop app. Unlike Google Voice, this is available worldwide. However, Microsoft does charge for this service, so you’ll have to pay to send text messages from Skype.
Pay for credit and you can send and receive text messages directly from Skype. However, these won’t sync with the text-message app on your smartphone. People won’t be able to respond directly to these messages, but you can set up sender ID to have the messages displayed as coming from your mobile number. if you do, people who respond will be texting you on your phone — but those messages won’t appear in the Skype app for desktop.
Many cellular carriers offer email-to-SMS gateways you can use. Send an email to the phone number at this gateway and it will be delivered to the address. You will need to know the carrier associated with the phone number to send an SMS message in this way.
For example, let’s say a person’s phone number is 1-123-456-7890 and that’s a T-Mobile phone number. You could send an an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Search for “email to SMS gateways” to find lists of gateways for different cellular service providers. For example, this email-to-SMS gateway list includes different email address for many different cellular carriers around the world.
Be sure to keep your message short — under 160 characters.
There are also a variety of websites you can use to send text messages for free. These aren’t for carrying on ongoing conversations — they’re just for sending a quick, one-off message to a phone number.
Such websites don’t always seem the most trustworthy and may ask for an email address before you continue, perhaps to send you spam. These are really only ideal as a last resort.