How to Check AT&T Text Messages Online
By John Papiewski
Updated September 18, 2017
It’s a common problem: you need to check your text messages but your phone can’t get a good signal or the battery’s shot. AT&T wireless subscribers need not worry; the Messages Backup & Sync service lets you check your texts online. It doesn’t support all phones, however, so check out the details before signing up.
About Messages Backup & Sync
The AT&T Messages Backup and Sync service, available at no charge, operates through an app on your smartphone. It copies your messages to AT&T cloud storage, making them available to your PC, laptop or other devices. AT&T keeps messages 90 days, so you can “rewind” a conversation going back several weeks if needed. The service is not enabled by default, however. You enable it by opting in when you first use your smartphone’s Messaging app, or at a later time by tapping the menu icon, tap Settings, then tap AT&T Messages Backup & Sync.
Checking AT&T Messages
AT&T offers two ways to check texts through Messages Backup and Sync. The first is to use a standard web browser on any internet-connected PC or mobile device. Log in to messages.att.net using your AT&T account to view and send messages. The second option is to download and use the AT&T Messages for Tablets app from Google Play. Note that the app works on Android tablets only.
At the time of publication, Messages Backup and Sync supports only certain Android smartphone models. These include phones from LG, Samsung and HTC. Android phones from other manufacturers are not included. iPhones, Windows Phones and other platforms are also not included; however, they may have their own options for checking messages. For example, you can view iPhone texts on your Mac with the Messages app included with MacOS.
SMS Messages and the Internet
Texts work on the Short Message System (SMS), a method that piggybacks 160-character messages on cellular voice signals. SMS came around in the early days of cellular networks, predating modern data plans. With Messages Backup & Sync, AT&T converts the SMS cellular signals to internet data stored in the cloud, letting you receive texts on PCs and other Wi-Fi connected devices. In addition to Wi-Fi, the service also works with 3G/4G cellular data plans if the device supports them.
Another Option: Numbersync
In addition to Messages Backup & Sync, AT&T has another free service called Numbersync. It automatically forwards messages from your main smartphone to other devices, including Android tablets, Mac computers and iOS devices such as iPad. It also accommodates wearables such as the Samsung Gear S2, LG Watch Urbane, and the Apple Watch. Numbersync works if your phone is physically unavailable or even powered off.
- A myAT&T username and password are required to view text message usage details online. If these details do not exist, they can be quickly set up using the AT&T website. Click "Register" on the AT&T login page, or follow the link in the "Resources" section.
Chicago native John Papiewski has a physics degree and has been writing since 1991. Things that get him excited include audio electronics, Arduino, nuclear fusion and nanotechnology. His technical articles have appeared online in various outlets including seattlepi.com, atlantic.net, and ourpastimes.com. He also contributed to the book, "Nanotechnology: Molecular Speculations on Global Abundance." Please - no workplace calls/emails!