how can I text my daughter from my phone to her I-pod touch?
July 26, 2016 1:56 PM   Subscribe

Hi, My daughter has an I-pod Touch and I have an I-phone 6. I understand that we cannot facetime each other, because we are on "family share" and we have the same e-mail address when we sign into our phone. She is not yet 13.

We can text each other when our devices are in our home, but as soon as she is in a different location, it appears that we cannot text each other. Do I have to turn on my hotspot? But I thought if I do that, then my phone is basically turned off and I cannot receive any phone calls.

The reason we got her an I-pod touch was so that when she is not with us, that she could get a hold of us. I know she can't call us, as she does not have a phone, but I thought she could text us. Does anyone have any ideas?...any buttons I need to turn on like the hotspot or something? Like I said, we are able to text when both of our devices are in our house.

posted by lynnie-the-pooh to Technology (13 answers total)
Unfortunately, that's not how the iPod Touch works.

The reason the iPod Touch works inside your house is because the iPod Touch is connected to the internet there. It doesn't have the ability to connect to phone networks, unlike iPhones. It will only work for sending messages when it's connected to the internet, which can be hard to find safely when on the go. If your daughter connects to free wifi while out and about [like at Starbucks], she can use it for sending messages, but she's going to have to manually hunt for a wifi connection every time she changes locations, and there's no guarantee there'll be a connection for her to find.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 2:04 PM on July 26, 2016 [13 favorites]

An iPod touch doesn't have cellular capability. This means that in order to do anything where it's connecting to the internet or to other people, it needs to be on WiFi. I suspect that when you're in the same house, you're not actually texting (which requires a phone plan), but rather you're using iMessage on the home WiFi. Any time she is connected to WiFi this will work, but she won't be able to text when out and about the way you can on a phone.
posted by brainmouse at 2:05 PM on July 26, 2016 [10 favorites]

Oh, and your phone hotspot isn't a solution either- basically this turns your phone into a wifi router, except using your phone data instead of your home internet. She would need to be in closeish proximity to you still for it to work.

I can see that you don't want to buy a smartphone for a preteen (this is an excellent parenting decision I think) and yet the iPod is a fun substitute. (Ebooks, games, photos, etc)

Are you able to get a cheap "candy bar" phone that only texts and calls? This would enable you to avoid the costs and scariness of an (expensive!) always connected internet device and still enable her to stretch her wings safely and learn to be independent.
posted by freethefeet at 2:52 PM on July 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: One of the main things I wanted was for her to call me from school. For example, last year, she was in a play after school, and sometimes the teacher did not show up, so she had to call me from a friend's phone to ask me to pick her up.

I wonder if she is on the school's wifi (which is safe), that maybe then we can I-message each other.???
posted by lynnie-the-pooh at 2:55 PM on July 26, 2016

If most of her approved out of the house destinations have internet (like a friend's house, her after-school activities, etc), she just has to set up those wi-fi connections on her device, and she will be able to text you from there. This could also lead to a false sense of security, i.e. assuming someplace will have (free) internet but it doesn't, and then she's out of communications.
posted by aimedwander at 3:05 PM on July 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yes, if she can connect to the school's wifi, she should be able to contact you. But is the school's wifi reliable? I second freethefeet's suggestion that you get her a simple non-smart phone, so she can call and text you, from anywhere.
posted by merejane at 3:11 PM on July 26, 2016 [6 favorites]

I understand that we cannot facetime each other, because we are on "family share" and we have the same e-mail address when we sign into our phone. She is not yet 13.

For what it's worth, you can definitely set things up so you can FaceTime together. The account the iPod is linked to overall can be different than the account you use for FaceTime. You can just change that in the FaceTime settings. I got my preteen kid an email address at, she uses it for her Apple ID, and we FaceTime whenever we need to. (What everyone else said about an iPod needing to connect to WiFi still applies.)
posted by Pater Aletheias at 3:27 PM on July 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

To answer your question, if she's on the school WIFI, she should be able to text you via an app like WhatsApp. It looks like she can also make WIFI calls if it's on IOS 9 and up.


"Make and receive Wi-Fi calls from another device

If your carrier supports Wi-Fi Calling on iCloud-connected devices, you can also make and receive Wi-Fi calls on other devices. You can use Wi-Fi Calling on these devices, even if your iPhone isn't on the same Wi-Fi Network or turned on:

iPad or iPod touch with iOS 9 or later
Apple Watch with watchOS 2 or later
Mac (2012 or later model) with OS X El Capitan

Wi-Fi Calling isn't available on Mac Pro (Mid 2012).

Make sure that you're signed in to iCloud and FaceTime with the same Apple ID that you use on your iPhone. Also make sure that your devices have the latest software.

To place a Wi-Fi call from your iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch, or Mac, follow these steps.
Call from your iPad, iPod touch, or Mac

If you haven't added your device yet—which allows it to use Wi-Fi Calling—add it.
Open FaceTime.
Tap Audio.
Enter a contact or phone number and tap Wi-Fi call .

You can also place a call by tapping a phone number in Contacts, Mail, Messages, Safari, and other apps."
posted by crayon at 3:38 PM on July 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Are you opposed to her having an actual phone? It sounds like that would be a better fit for your needs. I bought a used iPhone on Swappa a year ago for maybe $150. It was a 5c, but it's totally fine for my needs as a phone and as an app-using device.
posted by needs more cowbell at 5:06 PM on July 26, 2016 [5 favorites]

Yeah, you should be able to do this if your daughter can get on an internet connection. My son and I imessage (functions like texting) back and forth regularly, iphone to ipad.
posted by bluedaisy at 6:08 PM on July 26, 2016

If she can get on schools wifi. Our school just handed us a big pile of NOPE to using school wifi with BYOD laptops along with refusal to provide a laptop or other tablet to accommodate a learning disability.
posted by tilde at 7:57 PM on July 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yes, but first set her up with her own email address and Apple id so that the devices are independent. Then link this new apple id to your family sharing. She will be able to imessage when connected to the school wifi.
posted by tillsbury at 8:06 PM on July 26, 2016

The main thing to note, and hopefully I'm not piling on, is that everyone's statement begins with the caveat of if she is on Wi-Fi. The connection to WiFi is indeed the main element that exists out of your control; indeed, the only way to have her truly be always-accessible is to get her on a cellular plan - ergo, always-on connection to services you'd need for contacting her through.

I think most of the younger generation will notice when they are off Wi-Fi, naturally, while they are trying to use it. However, if it gets disconnected while not 'in-use', there will often be no way to tell whether (or why) the two of you are no longer connected.

But most connections will, of course, stay on. Most will auto-connect when you've saved the log-in information. Fair enough.

I guess what I am trying to say is: if you are indeed able to have her link up to her school's WiFi, you can definitely use it! ...but, with reservations. I would not, however, put weight on it to always work, nor in case of emergency, if that's what you need it for.
posted by a good beginning at 10:21 AM on July 27, 2016

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