Whether your thumbs are working overtime, or your eyes are fighting to focus on that tiny screen, take a break texting from your phone and text from a computer instead.

Yes, it’s possible to text from a computer to a cell phone, and in this blog post, we offer a few ways to get the job done. Learn how to text from a computer for free along with an affordable option that includes convenient texting features for small businesses.

1. Text customers from a computer using business texting software

There are plenty of hacks and tools to text from a computer for free, but if you’re a business interested in texting customers from a computer, consider using business texting software. Free options like the ones listed below can be convenient for the occasional text, but managing multiple conversations from customers without the right tools or via a centralized platform can get disorganized pretty quickly.

Related content: The Ultimate Guide to Texting Your Customers

Apps like iMessage and Android Messages don’t have text message features that businesses need to save time and manage productivity (like scheduling texts, group messaging and auto-replies). And because these options require the use of your personal phone number, separating text conversations from texts with friends and family will be near impossible.

Other options, like sending texts from your email (see below), aren’t always reliable and offer a confusing customer experience since the recipient may see an unrecognizable phone number and mistake the message as spam.

Use your existing business phone number to text from your computer

Business texting software like Zipwhip lets you conveniently text from a computer with a desktop or web app using your existing landline, VoIP or toll-free phone number, meaning your customers can text you on the same number they recognize and already know to call. It’s a lot less confusing than giving them two separate phone numbers to reach you.

Plus, texting software can be applied to nearly all areas of your business including customer service and support, alerts and reminders, marketing and promotions and sales. You’ll be able to send and receive text messages from your computer (and your mobile phone) and maintain an organized, scalable workflow as your business grows.

How to text customers from your computer with business texting software

Zipwhip’s business texting software lets you text customers from your computer using your existing business phone number.

Learn how Zipwhip works here or try us out for free. Plans start at $19 a month.

2. Use your email address to send a text from a computer

You can use your email address to send text messages from a computer to a phone. It’s free and doesn’t require a cell phone plan.

This is a nice option when you’re in a pinch or just want to send a few texts, but it’s not foolproof. I tested a few email clients (Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo), and I was able to send text messages without a problem, but I didn’t receive every reply I sent from my phone, and one reply was delayed by several hours. The images I sent from my email sometimes didn’t go through either.

Another downside is that replies can go to your email inbox’s junk folder (one of mine did), so you might not see the response right away if you’re not actively checking that folder.

To send a text from your email address, follow these steps.

    1. Identify the recipient’s mobile carrier. If you don’t know your recipient’s carrier, go to a carrier lookup site like CarrierLookup.com and enter the phone number.
    2. Open a new email and fill in the “To” line with the phone number and SMS gateway address. Enter the recipient’s 10-digit phone number in the “To” line (without the dashes) and add the carrier domain after the phone number. A few popular domains are listed in the table below. Use the SMS column for regular texts without media attachments. Use the MMS column for messages with media attachments. Some wireless carriers use the same address for both SMS and MMS text messages.
      Text from a computer using these SMS and MMS gatewaysThe entire email address should follow this format: 1234567890@txt.att.net
    3. Fill out the subject line (optional)
    4. Put your text message in the body of the email.
    5. Send the email

Any replies will be sent to your email inbox. You can reply to the text from the same email.

Send text from a computer

An example of a text from a computer to a mobile phone.

Text from a computer with your email

Here’s what a text reply will look like in your email inbox.

3. How to text from a computer to an iPhone using iMessage

This option is the easiest to use if you’re an iPhone user and have a Mac computer. You can send messages to both iPhone and Android users if you have a wi-fi connection.

  1. Open the iMessage app on your computer. (To search for the app, use the shortcut Command-F)
  2. When prompted, enter your Apple ID and Password. Click Next.
  3. To compose a message, click on the icon next to the search bar in the left column.
  4. Enter your recipient’s phone number.
  5. Enter your text in the field at the bottom of the window.
  6. To send, hit Return on your keyboard or click on the blue, upright arrow to the right of the message

4. How to text from your computer to an Android phone

There are multiple ways to text from a PC if you’re an Android phone user, but a popular option is using the Android Messages web app. To do this, you should have Android Messages as the default texting app on your phone.

The easiest way to set this up is to visit this web page https://messages.google.com/web/authentication and scan the QR code on the screen.

5. Send texts through a free SMS website

Google “free SMS website” and you’ll find plenty of options to send an SMS from a computer to a mobile phone, like SendSMSNow and TextEm.

Text from your computer with a free SMS website

Free SMS websites like TextEm give you the option to text from the web for free.

This route is OK if you want to send international texts or if you’ve lost your phone and need to get in touch with someone, but there are drawbacks to using these types of free services.

The interfaces can be clunky, you might not be able to see replies on the site itself (some send responses to your email), messages might not always go through, and there’s potential to get spammed with advertisements and unsolicited texts. Be cautious when providing your information to these services.

How does text messaging fit into the business landscape in 2020? Dive into texting trends, habits and preferences of more than 2,000 businesses and consumers across the country with our in-depth annual report The State of Texting. There’s valuable insight for businesses both large and small.

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