ContentsWhat is texting on a computer?Texting on a computer via free single-use appsTexting on a computer via SMS APIsTexting on a computer via smartphone apps that have web optionsTexting on a computer via online SMS platformsTexting on a computer via emailTexting on a computer via VoIP servicesHow to try it for free
It’s true that many of us are constantly on our phones, or have them at our side.
But many of us also work constantly on our computers. In fact, there are over 16 million “office and administrative support” employees (not even counting sales-related office jobs) in the US. And many other kinds of jobs require people to stare at their computers all day.
That’s when texting on a computer can come in handy.
There are other reasons it’s helpful too—for example, if you’re using texts to reach a large number of people, such as for marketing or business purposes. In these cases, computer-based texting options often have functionality that allows you to reach large groups of people at once.
In this guide, we'll explore the different methods for texting on a computer and help you find the perfect solution for your communication needs. So let's dive in and discover how you can combine the best of both worlds – the convenience of texting and the ease of using a computer!
Texting on a computer refers to the process of sending and receiving text messages using your computer or laptop instead of a mobile phone. This method of communication offers several advantages, such as the ability to type faster and more accurately on a full-sized keyboard, and easier multitasking as you’re already working on other things on your computer.
There are various ways to text on a computer. Many of these methods allow you to send and receive text messages seamlessly, just as you would on your phone.
In the context of our discussion, “text messages” can refer to traditional SMS, or it can refer to the use of messaging apps to send and receive internet-based texts.
Some of the many forms of computer-based texting will be elaborated on below.
Imagine a situation where perhaps you’ve lost or damaged your phone and you just need to send a quick text message. Or perhaps you want to send a text but for valid reasons you don’t want your identity exposed.
In cases like these, you can use free single-use text messaging apps.
There are many free single-use web apps that allow you to text from your computer.
Many of these don’t require a subscription and some don’t even require you to create an account.
These apps are designed to allow you to send one-off texts and aren’t generally meant to be a long-term solution. They don’t typically have basic options such as managing contacts, viewing message history, or other features you’d expect from a messaging app.
So you probably wouldn’t want to use apps like these on a regular basis, and you definitely wouldn’t want to use them for your business.
But if you’re in a pinch, you can take advantage of one of these free apps to send a quick text message to a recipient.
SMS API’s provide a way for programmers to send texts. If you’re not a programmer or don’t have access to programmers, you can skip this point and move on to #3, but APIs are a viable and helpful solution for many situations.
Let’s talk a little about what an SMS API actually is.
An API (Application Programming Interface) is essentially a way for web developers to program two pieces of software to coordinate together.
These are mechanisms put in place that allow developers to plug in codes that enable things to happen. When developers follow the instructions given in what’s known as API documentation, they’re able to perform designated events.
API allows developers to build integrations and “make things work” in customizable ways.
An SMS API allows developers to connect with SMS gateways in order to send text messages programmatically. (An SMS gateway is essentially a “pathway” through which SMS can “travel” and be delivered to a mobile device.)
An SMS API, therefore, gives you the flexibility to program and set up text messaging in a way that works for you.
Since APIs are a programming tool, they are typically set up via a computer. With an SMS API, you don’t necessarily need to manually input text message info every time you want to send a message—you can programmatically set things up to accomplish the purposes you’re looking to accomplish. You can also set things up to integrate SMS with your existing software, such as your CRM or customer support platform.
To get started with an SMS API, you’ll need to find an SMS service that offers one. SMS services that offer an API will provide you with API documentation so that you or your developers can have all the information you need to set things up.
Several smartphone apps have corresponding web alternatives, so you can send messages using the web version of that app.
Using these can be ideal because in many cases you’re already using the native smartphone apps. For example, if you’re an iPhone user, you’re most likely already using Apple’s Messages app. Or if you’re an Android user, you’re probably already using Google’s Messages app.
Those two apps and a few others are discussed below.
For Apple users who want to send texts, you can send messages via the Messages app from your Apple computer. All Apple computer users can take advantage of the Messages app to send and receive both iMessages and SMS directly from your computer.
This app corresponds to your phone’s messaging app. Thus, it allows you to send both iMessages (which can only be sent to Apple users) and SMS (which can be sent to both Apple and non-Apple users). Just like on your iPhone’s messages app, the computer app will be able to distinguish between Apple and non-Apple users and will send either an iMessage or an SMS accordingly.
You’re probably aware of iMessage, but in case not, it’s a free messaging option available on all Apple devices that allows users to send texts to other Apple users via internet service rather than via a mobile carrier network. Hence, these text messages are not traditional SMS (since SMS are processed via the mobile carriers and delivered via the carrier network).
Your recipients will receive the message as they typically do on their phones.
The Messages app is installed by default on your Apple computer, so you just have to click on the app to get it connected to your Apple ID so that you can start sending and receiving texts:
Once you’re all set up, you’ll be able to conveniently send and receive texts on your Apple computer.
Don’t worry, non-Apple users!
Google’s “Messages for Web” app is the Android equivalent of Apple’s web-based Messages app. Similar to Apple’s Messages app, Google’s web-based Messages app allows you to send text messages just like on your phone’s Messages app.
So if you have an Android phone, you can still use a native app to send texts from a computer, just like Apple users can. Your recipients will then receive the SMS as a text on their phones.
One difference between Google’s app and Apple’s is that Google’s is browser based, so rather than downloading an app, you go to messages.google.com/web in order to send your messages.
You’ll first need to set up the connection between Messages for Web and your phone’s Messages app. You can do that by:
Your smartphone should automatically pair with your Messages for Web app moving forward, and you’ll be able to send messages from your computer.
Messenger is the popular texting app affiliated with Facebook and connected to the private messages you receive via Facebook.
You can view and send text messages on the Messenger network by logging into Facebook on your computer, or by accessing Messenger directly.
Messages sent via Messenger are internet-based, so they aren’t SMS. You don’t need to know a “phone number” for the recipient, but you need to be able to locate them based on their name, and they must have a Messenger or Facebook account.
Some benefits of using an app like Messenger includes the ability to text people without knowing their number, the ability to text without being on a mobile network, and the ability to text people anywhere in the world.
To be able to send messages via Messenger, you can either:
Though Messenger is closely tied to Facebook, it can be used as a standalone product in and of itself.
WhatsApp is another messaging app. When taking into account global usage, it actually has over 2 billion active users, according to Backlink.io.
It’s slightly different from Messenger in that while Messenger extended from Facebook (originally a web-based platform), WhatsApp is its own entity that was mobile-focused from the get-go. Also unlike Messenger, you need to know someone’s phone number in order to send them a text on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp has 2 web-based options. One of them you can access online and the other you can download as an app on your computer.
The process of connecting your WhatsApp web account or app is similar to Google’s Messaging app:
Your computer will then be able to send texts from your WhatsApp account.
Telegram is yet another popular messaging app that also has a corresponding web option. Although it’s not nearly as popular as WhatsApp, it still has a solid 500 million monthly users.
You’ll need to know the username or phone number of a user to send them a text via Telegram.
All that you need to do to get Telegram set up for your computer is download the desktop app or visit the web connection page.
When visiting the web connection page, you’ll need to:
Your computer will then be able to send texts from your Telegram account.
Many web-based SMS platforms exist that allow you to send actual SMS through a web platform (and they often have a corresponding mobile app as well).
Our platform Mobile Text Alerts is an example of a web SMS platform.
You’re able to log in and type out messages, and you can also set up automated messaging campaigns.
Several benefits of using an SMS platform such as Mobile Text Alerts include:
These features and many others typically make an SMS platform a more robust and usable option for sending texts on a large scale. Mobile Text Alerts allows you to handle texting as many people as you need to text. You can also monitor replies and respond to them, or automatically let people know that replies are not monitored.
(We’d recommend hopping on a free demo so you can see firsthand how it works.)
You can send an SMS via computer by submitting an email to your recipient’s phone number.
Here’s how it works.
Voila! You just sent an email and it was delivered to your recipient as a text message.
VoIP services such as Google Voice give you a virtual number and are used not just for calling but for texting as well.
With Google Voice, for example, once you have a phone number set up, you can simply hop online and type out a text message.
You’ll just need to…
People can also send texts into your virtual phone number, which you can view online or on your device’s mobile app.
Note that many services like Google Voice are not intended for mass messaging but rather for “normal,” individual or small group texting.
And there ya have it! Those are some of the in’s and out’s of different ways to text from a computer.
The ability to text from a computer gives you more flexibility in how you go about your texting efforts.
Interested in trying it out for yourself?
You can try web-centered texting for free using the Mobile Text Alerts platform.
Get your free 14-day trial now to see how it works.
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