How To Send and Receive Text messages on a PC Without a Phone
Texting has long been one of the most common ways of communicating with friends, coworkers, and even acquaintances. I know that I would much rather get a text than a phone call any day of the week. More and more people now prefer receiving a text over receiving a phone call.
But texting has its own quirks and foibles as a means of communication. Of course, first, you have to have a texting plan, which can be expensive. 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! A regular keyboard can be a lot more pleasant to use than a phone for typing out messages.
Well, of course, you can use your desktop or laptop keyboard to send text messages rather than using your phone to send text messages! In this article, 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.
Fed up with small screens? Sat at a desktop or laptop computer 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 or Mac without a phone.
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. 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, 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 and your recipient and hit send.
The process is simple and when you click send, the text messages seem to be sent out very quickly. During my testing of this web app, there was a delay of less than two minutes between sending the text and it is received on the test phone I used.
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 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 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.
The sign-up process for Google Voice involves first selecting a local number in your area code, then signing up for the 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 appears 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.
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 how much it costs to send text messages using Skype.
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.
If you enjoyed this article, you might also like this TechJunkie article on How To Check your AT&T Text Messages Online.
Do you know of any other ways to send or receive text messages on a PC? Leave a comment below if you do!