How to Receive SMS Messages on an iPad

By David Weedmark

Updated August 23, 2018

For true SMS messaging on the iPad, you'll need an app.
i Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The Apple iPad comes with most of the same features as the iPhone, except the phone. This means it can't be used for phone calls or Short Message Service (SMS) text messages without installing an additional app. If your clients and business colleagues use Apple iOS devices, including the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, you can send and receive text messages using iMessage, which is already on your iPad. However, iMessage is not exactly the same as SMS. To receive true SMS messages from phones made by other manufacturers, you will need an SMS texting app, which are available from the App Store.

Using iMessage

Turn on your iPad and tap the "Settings" icon. Select "iMessage" and tap the "On/Off" toggle to turn it on.

Turn on the "Send Read Receipts" option if you want to notify people when you have read their messages. Without this option, they will be notified when the message was delivered to your iPad, but not when you've actually read it.

Tap the "Send & Receive" option if you want to change the email address used for iMessages or specify a phone number. By default, iMessage uses the same email used for your Apple ID.

Launch the iMessage app. Tap the "Compose" icon at the top of the screen, which looks like a pen on a piece of paper.

Tap the "To" field and type an email address or phone number. If you are sending the message to an iPhone, you can enter that phone number. To use an email address, you will need the email address associated with that device.

Send an iMessage directly from the Contacts app if you have already entered someone's email address or phone number. Navigate to that person's contact information, tap the "Send Message" button and then select the email or phone number associated with an Apple iOS device.

Using SMS Texting Apps

Turn on your iPad and launch the App Store. Type "SMS text" in the search field to find a list of apps capable of sending SMS messages to cell phones. Most apps are free to download, but may require payment to use SMS texting options.

Read the descriptions carefully to ensure the app can send SMS messages to cell phones. Some popular apps include Textie, Text Me! and Fring. Some apps only allow you to send texts to people who use the same app.

Download the app and create an account as prompted. In the case of Textie, for example, you are asked to enter your email address and then authenticate your account from a message in your inbox.

Send messages to the people you want to text with. Once they receive a message from you, they can add you to their contacts and reply to your message to reach you on your iPad.


If you have a Skype account with a subscription or purchased credit, you can also send and receive SMS text messages using the iPad's Skype app. You will need to link your mobile phone number to your Skype account for this feature to work.


Information in this article applies to the Apple iPad or iPad Mini running iOS 6.1. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.