SMS/Text messaging on computer
April 30, 2015 9:54 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to be able to send/receive text messages on my computer. I have an iPhone and a MacBook Pro, but I DON'T want to update to Yosemite. Is this possible?

I'm always missing texts because my phone isn't always with me. (I find that the iPhone 6 is just slightly too big to fit in most of my jeans pockets, and my work doesn't provide personal desks so I'm often moving around between various rooms and tables.) I do, however, have my computer open for most of the day, so I'm hoping there's a solution somewhere.

Current setup:
iPhone 6 running iOS 7 (would consider updating to iOS 8)
MacBook Pro running OS X 10.9.4 Mavericks (would really like to stay on Mavericks, see below)
Phone carrier: Verizon

I know that SMS Relay with Yosemite and iOS 8 is an option, but I pretty literally cringe every time I look at Yosemite's UI, so I would much rather not upgrade.

Is there a Google Voice solution that works with iPhones? Or maybe a 3rd-party app?
posted by Questolicious to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I know it can be done because I got texts from someone in my email a couple of years ago (and replying to them added to my Verizon bill, YMMV). So I looked up a few things and this looks like The Answer you want:
How to send text messages to your email

For iPhone:

To get all your incoming texts sent to your email inbox, go to Settings>Messages>Recieve At and then choose Add An Email at the bottom. Enter the address you’d like texts to be forwarded to, and voila! You’re done.
Since you are a Verizon customer, you might also want to look at this:
FAQ Vtext

Vtext was somehow involved in me getting texts from someone's phone via email. I then just replied via email, without realizing what was going on, and was charged for it without knowing ahead of time I would be charged on my monthly bill. This was in 2013 and it is my only experience with it and I felt blindsided by the experience and the charges (at a time when unexpected charges were heart-attack city). I don't know anything more about it, I just found the FAQ after looking up the emails I got from someone's phone.
posted by Michele in California at 10:26 AM on April 30, 2015

Google Voice will send you emails for texts if you want it to. You'd need to either port your number to Google Voice or get people to change the number they send texts to. And of course you'd lose the benefits of iMessage if you care about that.

I will say, if you're sensitive enough to UI that Yosemite makes you cringe, I don't think you'll like Google Voice much. I do use Google Voice for some secondary numbers, and comparing dealing with SMS there vs. dealing with SMS in Messages under Yosemite is no contest. Google Voice is both ugly and clunky by comparison, at least to my taste. But it does work.
posted by primethyme at 10:37 AM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I use Google Voice. It has an iOS app that isn't the greatest (part of it seems to be web-based), but it will send and receive text messages just fine.

Then on the desktop I use Chrome with the Google Voice plugin. You can also just open Voice in a tab and pin it, Chrome will twinkle the tab if there's a new message.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:38 AM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Messages in Mavericks works with imessage. If most people you talk to have iphones, this will get you most of the way there.
posted by kpmcguire at 10:51 AM on April 30, 2015

I loathe Google Voice for the reasons JoeZydeco states -- the iOS app is crap. Half the time it doesn't notify me when I have a message, and the notifications options are really inflexible. And it looks ugly. Hate hate hate. Deep hatred. But yeah, it's an option.

My favorite solution for getting texts on my desktop is Telegram Messenger. It's seamless with the iOS app, and it has a Web version as well as a desktop client. I recommend it highly.
posted by holborne at 10:52 AM on April 30, 2015

Best answer:
posted by davidvanb at 11:11 AM on April 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: holborne, I just looked at Telegram and am somewhat unclear on it. FAQ says "You can write to people, who are in your phone contacts and have Telegram." I don't want to invite all my friends to a new service; I just want it to send and receive regular texts from my regular phone number. Can Telegram do that?
posted by Questolicious at 11:37 AM on April 30, 2015

Best answer: Also, there's Verizon Messages.
posted by davidvanb at 12:31 PM on April 30, 2015

Response by poster: Pushbullet seems like it's exactly what I want, but setup (Bluetooth in particular) seems to be finicky. Played around with it for an hour, still can't get it to work.

Verizon Messages, though, gets the job done without fuss. (The UI is terrible, but hey, it works and doesn't need Bluetooth or any extra services.) I'd call that problem solved!
posted by Questolicious at 1:44 PM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

(To answer the question quickly: yes, the other person you're texting with does need to have Telegram.)
posted by holborne at 2:13 PM on April 30, 2015

Just update to mavericks and ios 8. I know you said you didn't want to, but it works more smoothly than any other solution i've ever seen. I use it multiple times every single day, and i love the ability to drag and drop videos/images in and out of messages which was janky or non functional with other solutions.

I resisted updating too, and i don't regret it at all. And iOS 8.3 has improved battery life on all of my devices.
posted by emptythought at 2:55 PM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

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