How To Send and Receive Text messages on a PC Without a Phone
Texting has become one of the most common ways of communicating with friends, coworkers, and even strangers. I know that I would much rather get a text than a phone call, any day of the week. But texting has its own quirks and foibles. Of course, first off you have to have an often-expensive texting plan. Then there’s the small screen and the virtual keyboard – if only you could text while sitting at a desktop PC and enjoy the vastly superior comfort of a real keyboard and a giant monitor to display all your messages!
Well, of course, you can. In this article, I’ll give you a quick tutorial on how to send and receive text messages on your PC (or Mac) without having a phone at all. .Fed up with small screens? Sat at a desktop PC and would rather type SMS messages on your computer keyboard than the tiny phone version? I know I do, which is why I put together this quick tutorial on how to send or receive text messages on a PC without a phone.
There are a lot of SMS apps for the desktop, but in this article I’m going to focus on three of the biggest and most popular. They are Pinger Textfree Web, Pushbullet and MightyText. In addition, I’ll discuss the old standby Google Voice, and also the little-known SMS messaging features of Skype.
Send or receive text messages with 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 a phone number to validate your account. Once done, you can begin. Since it’s a web service, you can use it from any PC (or even a mobile device).
The 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 and your recipient and hit send. The process is simple and text messages seems to be sent quickly. During testing there was a delay of less than two minutes between sending the text and it being received on a test phone. The service keeps track of your message threads just like an SMS app on your phone would. However, note that 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.
Send or receive text messages with Pushbullet
Pushbullet works in a similar way but requires you 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 if you can. 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 but I didn’t try that part.
Pushbullet seems to work quickly and effectively. Having to install stuff may be a no-go for those at work but otherwise the app works well.
Send or receive text messages with MightyText
MightyText also requires you to install a browser extension and mobile app but works well enough to make it worthwhile if you can do it. It only works with Android phones too which is another limitation. That aside, the app supports Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera and IE. It works on desktops, mobile 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.
Send or receive text messages with Google Voice
If you’re in the U.S. Google Voice is still available should you want to use it. If you live outside the U.S. I’m afraid this option won’t work. The platform never got the attention or the investment it deserved but still has a part to play in our communications. 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.
Sign up to Google Voice and select a number. Once done, you will be returned to a very familiar interface that looks like any other Google app. On the left is a button to call and one to text. Hit Text and a popup window appears. Add the recipient and the message and hit Send. SMS messages to the U.S. and Canada are free but you will have to pay for other countries.
Send or receive text messages with Skype
If you use Skype, you can send messages from there too. 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. 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 in Skype so you may not actually want to do that.
Otherwise, verify your cell number in 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.
Sending messages via Skype isn’t free. This page shows you how to find out much they cost.
All five of those solutions more or less allow you to send or receive text messages on a PC without a phone. Some are easier to use than others and some are more expensive than others. The right solution for you will depend on your particular needs.
Do you know of any other ways to send or receive text messages on a PC? Any other apps worth checking out? Tell us about them below if you do!