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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!