Can I Text a Cell Phone From My Computer?

by Aaron Charles
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Texting from a computer has several advantages over sending a text from a cell phone, the most significant being if you have no cell phone from which to text. But it's also convenient if your phone's battery dies or, in some cases, if you don't want to be charged for sending a text from your phone. You can text from a computer in at least four different ways, and most of these ways don't cost you a thing.

Email

If you know your recipient's cell phone number and carrier address, you can send him a text from your computer. A complete carrier address would be the cell number, "@" (without quotes), and the Web address -- no spaces. So, for example, if you wanted to send a text to someone who's a Virgin Mobile customer, you would send it to something like this: 2224446666@vmobl.com. Search a carrier's website for its carrier address. Or you can visit the Tech Recipes website (link in Resources), which has a list of carrier addresses for the major cell phone carriers. Sending a text this way is fast and easy. However, don't feel inclined to write an email-sized message. Keep your message to the length of a typical SMS text.

App

Your email service provider may offer a program or add-on that enables you to send texts from your computer. For example, Yahoo enables you to text via its Yahoo Messenger program, and Gmail enables you to send texts through Gmail Chat -- both without charge. Aside from these, you can send texts through Skype for a few cents per text, depending on the recipient's location. One downside to using apps is that you must use the respective program and, depending on the program, it may cost you money.

Carrier Website

Most major cell phone carriers -- with the exception of T-Mobile as of October 2012 -- enable you to send texts via their websites. Some ask you to create and sign in to an online account, while others, including Verizon, simply provide an online form that you fill out with the appropriate info. Depending on your carrier, this service may be free or standard texting rates might apply according to your phone plan. To find out, go online to your cell phone carrier's text-sending page (links in Resources).

Third-Party Website

Third-party sites that enable you to send texts to nearly anyone, anywhere include SMS Sheep, Mobile Sender and Text4Free (links in Resources). This option could be a fast, easy way to go. However, be aware that depending on which website you use the service might attach a small ad to your text. Also, since these are third-party sites that have a sort of middle man role, there's a greater risk of your message not getting through. But still, this could be the option for you, especially if you're texting someone internationally.

References

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

About the Author

Aaron Charles began writing about "pragmatic art" in 2006 for an online arts journal based in Minneapolis, Minn. After working for telecom giant Comcast and traveling to Oregon, he's written business and technology articles for both online and print publications, including Salon.com and "The Portland Upside."

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