How To Send and Receive Text Messages on a PC Without a Phone

Texting is a very convenient means of communication — especially for short messages or conversations that don’t merit a phone call.

But what if you need to message someone and don’t have your phone with you? Or maybe you don’t have a phone plan, or you simply don’t like to type on the tiny smartphone keyboard.

In any case, it can be helpful to know how to send a receive text messages on a PC. Fortunately, there are a few tools you can use to accomplish this. Read on to learn more.

How to Send and Receive Text Messages on a PC

There are a lot of SMS apps for PC and Macs, but in this article, I’m going to focus on three of the biggest and most popular: Pinger Textfree Web, Pushbullet, and MightyText.

Pinger Textfree Web

Pinger Textfree Web is a neat website that gives you a free online phone number and a textfree.us email address to use. You can use the account to send and receive texts as you see fit. When signing up, you need to provide a valid zip code and will then need to choose a phone number to assign to your account.

You’ll also need an outside phone number (like a cell number or a Google Voice number) to validate your account. Pinger Textfree Web runs as a web page, so you can use it from any PC, Mac, or even on a tablet or smartphone.

The Pinger Textfree Web interface is simple and easy to use. Your phone number is to the left and clicking on it brings up the text window. Type in your message, choose your recipient, then hit send. Text messages seem to be sent out very quickly.

During my testing of this web app, there was a delay of fewer than two minutes between sending a text and seeing it received on the test phone I used. The service keeps track of your message threads just like an SMS app on your phone would.

The messages are stored on the Pinger servers, not locally, so if you have Internet connectivity problems you might have trouble accessing your message history.

The app also tends to fall behind when it has many long conversations to keep histories.

Pushbullet

Pushbullet works in a similar way to Pinger Textfree Web but requires you to download a small app to the computer you are using. That’s fine if you’re at home but not so great if you are locked out of a work computer. If you’re at work, use the browser extension instead. You will also need to install the Pushbullet app onto your phone to sync the two.

Install the app and sign in with a Google or Facebook account on both instances of Pushbullet. From there you can select SMS from the menu, compose your message, add a recipient(s) and send the message.

Arriving messages and phone calls will trigger a Windows notification, and you can reply directly or from the Pushbullet app. The app also integrates with Cortana.

Ultimately, Pushbullet is an efficient online texting solution, as long as you don’t mind downloading the app to your computer.

MightyText

MightyText also requires you to install a browser extension and mobile app but works well enough to make it worthwhile. However, it’s important to note that t only works with Android phones. As such, this won’t be the ideal solution for everyone.

That aside, the app supports Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and IE. It works on desktops, mobiles, and tablets and has a very tidy UI.

Once installed, you sign in with your Google account and you will see a small MightyText icon appear in the browser window. You will also be sent to an authorization page that will allow Google to access MightyText. Once done, you will be returned to your browser and can use the SMS app the same way as these others.

Other Methods

Aside from the apps listed above, you can use Google Voice or Skype to communicate with your friends and family without needing access to a phone.

Google Voice

If you’re in the U.S., Google Voice is still available; however, if you live outside the U.S., I’m afraid this option won’t work. There are rumors that Voice will be discontinued at some point, but until then, you can use your Google number to send and receive SMS.

The sign-up process for Google Voice involves first selecting a local number in your area code, then signing up for the account. You will need a non-Google Voice phone number with which to validate your Google Voice number, and each Voice account you have will correlate to one Gmail account.

Once you’ve completed the Google Voice sign-up process, you will be returned to a very familiar interface that looks like any other Google app. On the left of the interface is a button to make phone calls and one to send text messages.

Hit Text and a popup window appear enabling you to add the recipient, type in the message, and then hit Send to send the text message. With Google Voice, SMS messages to the U.S. and Canada are free but you will have to pay to send text messages to recipients in countries outside the U.S.

Skype

If you use Skype, you can send and receive messages. It isn’t free like calls and video chats are, but it is cheap. It isn’t quite as fluid as these other apps as there is no sync between your phone and Skype.

Skype

You also need to configure a Sender ID to make it look like you are sending from your cellphone if you want that feature. If you do that, any SMS you receive will appear on your phone and not on Skype so you may not actually want to do that.

Otherwise, verify your cell number on Skype and add a payment method. Then in the main window where you add your message, select Skype where it says ‘via Skype’ and change it to SMS. Add the mobile number if you need to, or otherwise, select a contact, type your message, and hit Send. You can also text people who are not contacts by using the dialer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I send texts without a phone number?

Yes. Most major carriers in the U.S. allow you to send texts to their customers via email. Unless the recipient has specifically contacted their carrier to have the feature disabled, you should be able to send a text via email.

All you need to know is the other person’s phone number and carrier. Once found, look up the email address needed to send a text. For example, you can email a text to AT&T customers using [email protected]txt.att.net. Input the other person’s phone number and send the text you want.

If you’re looking to send a text anonymously, you can create a temporary email address too.

Can I get phone text messages on my computer?

Yes. Either you can use one of the methods above, or you can ask the sender to send you text messages to your email address. There are a few ways to do this and the sender may need a third-party app to pull it off but we have an article here to help you.

Final Thoughts

Whether you don’t have an active phone plan, or you just prefer to use your computer, there are plenty of ways you can go about sending and receiving text messages from your PC. By using one of the options listed above, you can quickly and easily send messages without needing a phone.

Have any other tips for sending text messages on a PC? Let us know in the comments!

8 thoughts on “How To Send and Receive Text Messages on a PC Without a Phone”

Avatar LizH says:
Where we live in the interior of British Columbia we do not have cell phone service and do not own a cell phone. So many places now require a cell phone number to send a “code” looking for some way to by-pass that need for a cell phone. Also internet is through a satellite connection which doesn’t handle Skype – had 159 interrupts trying to stream a 1 hour program the other day!
Avatar Oscar says:
Not sure if any of these solutions work in France where we live. New European regulations mean all banking operations have to now be confirmed with SMS codes, including the use of Pay Pal. Great if you can actually get a mobile signal where you live, but we are now totally cut off. I thought receiving the SMS via the internet on the computer might be the solution, but would that be secure, and it seems that things like Skype only allow you to send rather than receive. The ones that allow you to receive seem to be US based. Anyone know of a solution for this? Otherwise it is back to trying to bank by paper and off line…. almost impossible today.
Avatar Steve says:
These options are potentially effective for those who do not have or do not choose to own a cell phone, however, I have come across a few instances where these internet-based phone numbers are not acceptable for confirming your identity. You simply must have a cell phone to complete the process. The message that I often get is: “This website does not accept nor does it allow the use of internet-based phone numbers to send SMS transmissions to confirm your identity”. In this case, I’m back to square one. No cell phone, no other option to confirm my identity (at least as dictated by these specific websites). Perhaps others may be more flexible.
Avatar Ray says:
The whole thing is about tracking you. Before WWII IBM sold the nasty party what was called the punch card system which was a crude form (sort of like a computer) of cataloging people. A lot of those people went to the camps. I think it would be in our best interest to start a revolt which would make it illegal for any company on line, to demand you provide them with a cell phone number in order to receive their services. I’ve been using Paypal for 15 years. If I need to log in to my account they now ask for a mobile phone number. I don’t own a mobile phone so I put in my hard wired (as in copper) phone number which seems to work for now. What does the future hold for us. Where do we start our revolution against the ultra rich etc ? Suggestions ?
Avatar AJ says:
Hi Ray
Don’t think this will last for long, getting a gmail address without a phone is no longer possible, (will not accept verification from any phone already “registered”, nor any “app” phone number”)
My online bank has stared demanding my mobile phone to connect, and when I say I don’t have one, I have to carry out 4millon keypresses and insert my Card into their cardreader gizmo (Not much use if I’m at your place and checking if I have enough to buy a beer!)
Avatar Dijon tanner says:
#diana hello
Avatar Kitty says:
I too do not own nor want a cell phone. My credit card co. insists I receive a code by text to get into my account. I have been looking for a work around. The other thing is that I live out of the u.s. I use skype for 800 #’s but don’t have a number. Above it looks like I must have a cell for skype too. But to me it is almost as clear as mud. I only want to receive this one text from discriminatory Capital One. I use a vpn and connect to the u.s.
Avatar Diane says:
Some of these solutions actually REQUIRE you to have a cell phone, so they don’t belong in this article. I don’t own a cell phone at all, so those won’t work for me.
Avatar AJ says:
Hi Diane
I think they ALL require a cell, certainly Pushbullet and mightytext do, you cant now even get a google account without a cell.
All-in-all this article doesn’t do what it says on the tin

” I’ll give you a quick tutorial on how to send and receive text messages on your PC or Mac without using a phone at all in the process”

Its pretty much nonsense, from someone who doesn’t seem to understand the tech at all!

Avatar Rhonda Arnold says:
Will these apps tell you if the text didn’t go through? Such as if you’ve sent a text to a landline?
Avatar AJ says:
No – and in the case of Pushbullet it doesn’t wait very long
Avatar Kenny Castle says:
ok if your email is sent through phone line and received through a phone line then why can’t you receive sms through phone line?
Avatar Tjpk says:
Your email is sent through the internet not a phone line.
SMS is sent through the GSM network. The phone line doesn’t have enough bandwidth for sms.
Do you mean Ethernet? It looks like a phone line but is slightly wider and carries internet?

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