How to Text From Computer: No Smartphone, No Problem

By: Nathan Chandler  | 
Person's hands typing on a computer keyboard.
It's helpful to know how to send text messages from your computer for those times when a smartphone is not handy or just inconvenient. Steve Buissinne/CC0 Public Domain

Did you mean "coffee" instead of "covfefe"? We feel your pain. Smartphone keyboards are teensy, making it difficult to tap out long text messages — and that's just one reason you should learn how to text from computer software instead. It's also a good way to skirt monthly message caps or to zip off texts in situations where you have no data signal on your phone.

There are moments when your cell phone is out of reach, lost, or simply out of battery, and you find yourself needing to send SMS and MMS messages. Or perhaps, you prefer the comfort of a full-sized keyboard and the ease of managing conversations on a larger screen. In this article, we'll explain how you can stay connected by texting from your computer.


Email to SMS Gateways

One of the simplest methods to send a text message from a computer is through email-to-SMS gateways. This method works by sending an email to a specific address that then forwards your message as a text to the intended phone number.

Each carrier has a unique format for these email addresses, usually consisting of the recipient's phone number followed by a domain specific to the carrier. The challenge here is knowing the recipient's carrier and the correct format, but a quick internet search can provide this information.


Carrier Websites

Some mobile carriers offer online services that allow you to send text messages directly from their websites. This method requires you to log in to your account on the carrier's website, where you'll find an option to send text messages. This service is typically free but is limited to sending texts to numbers within the same carrier network.


Third-Party Messaging Services

There are numerous third-party applications and services designed for messaging that can be accessed both on smartphones and computers. Apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, Skype, and Facebook Messenger offer web or desktop versions that synchronize with your mobile app, allowing you to send and receive messages seamlessly across devices. Setting up these services usually involves verifying your phone number once, but afterwards, you can communicate freely from any device.

There are even more ways to accomplish this task, from using a messages app like MightyText to dedicated websites like AFreeSMS or SendSMSNow. Some of these methods are pricey or convoluted. The steps below, however, are quick and easy [source: Coppock and Martindale].


Google Voice

Google Voice is a powerful tool for anyone looking to manage calls and texts without a smartphone. Once you sign up for a Google Voice account and get your number, you can send and receive text messages through the Google Voice website or via its desktop app. Whether you're an iPhone user or prefer android messages, this tool works perfectly.

This service integrates with your Google account, making it a convenient option for those already invested in Google's ecosystem. It’s worth noting that Google Voice offers more than just texting capabilities; it also allows for voicemail, call forwarding, text message forwarding, and more.


Pushbullet, AirDroid, or Similar Services

Phone link services like Pushbullet and AirDroid bridge the gap between your phone and computer, allowing you to manage your phone’s notifications, text messages, calls, and even file transfers from your computer.

While these services require a smartphone to be initially set up, they are incredibly useful for managing your device remotely. This can be especially handy if you’ve left your phone charging in another room or if you’re working in a context where accessing your phone isn't feasible.


Built-in Messaging Solutions on Computers

Depending on your operating system, your computer might already have built-in solutions for messaging. For example, macOS users can use iMessage to send texts to any phone number or Apple device from their Mac computer, as long as they’re signed in with their Apple ID.

Windows users, meanwhile, can take advantage of the Windows app, Your Phone. This phone link app connects your Android smartphone to your PC, allowing you to send and receive SMS messages directly from your computer. You'll probably need to have your Microsoft account ID onhand.


Using an Emulator

For those who are a bit more tech-savvy, using an Android emulator on your computer can be a way to access messaging apps that are typically only available on smartphones.

An emulator mimics a smartphone on your computer, allowing you to install and use apps like you would on a mobile device. This method is a bit more involved and may require more resources from your computer, but it's a powerful option for those who need it.


How to Text From Your Desktop Computer

With these three steps, you'll be able to e-mail 160-character SMS (short messaging service) messages directly to a mobile phone.

  1. Open your e-mail program and start a new e-mail message.
  2. Enter the cell phone number in the "To: box" using the format, where "number" is the recipient's mobile number and "cellphonecarrier" is the domain name that allows recipients to receive e-mail text messages. For instance, to send a text message to cell phone 123-456-7890, enter
  3. Don't know the domain name of your friend's phone company? No problem. Go to CarrierLookup or TextMagic and enter the phone number to find out.
  4. Write your message and click Send.

Here are the domain names of some of the more popular carriers


  • AT&T:
  • Metro PCS:
  • Nextel:
  • Sprint:
  • T-mobile:
  • U.S. Cellular:
  • Verizon:
  • Virgin Mobile:

Remember that these domains only work for text messages. If you want to send pictures, video, or audio, you'll need to skip the SMS address and use the MMS (multimedia messaging service) address instead.

You can find a list of some common MMS addresses here. You'll find more SMS addresses on this site, too. If you don't find your carrier listed there, Email Marketing Software has an even more comprehensive list.

So, the next time you're out of mobile data and need to get some text messaging done, consider sending messages through a web interface on your PC or Mac computer.

This article was updated in conjunction with AI technology, then fact-checked and edited by a HowStuffWorks editor.


Send Texts With Computer FAQ

Can I send a text message from my computer?
Sending a text message from your computer requires that you have an active mobile service. If your smartphone is switched on, you can easily send a text using your computer.
How do I get text messages from my phone to my computer?
You can sync your smartphone to your computer to extract messages and pictures. Simply go to the "Your phone" option on your PC and set it accordingly.
Can you send a text from a computer to a cell phone?
One of the easiest ways to send a message through your computer is via email. Follow the steps in this article to send your first email-to-text!
Can I send a text online for free?
If you have an Android phone, Google lets you send free text messages to anyone by using the Web desktop. If you have an iPhone, you can use Messages to send a text message from the application on a Mac desktop or laptop.
How can I send and receive text messages online for free?
Once installed, there are many apps through which you can send and receive messages for free. Examples include Google Voice, WhatsApp, SendSMSNow and AFreeSMS.

Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • Coppock, Mark and Martindale, John. " How to send a text message from a computer." Digital Trends. March 12, 2018 (June 11, 2018)