Whether you're smartphone obsessed or still yearn for the offline, cord-filled days of rotary phones, it's hard to defend tiny touch screens as efficient typing devices – while the average keyboard user cranks out somewhere in the ballpark of 40 words per minute, those typing on touch screens average about half that.
Granted, lugging around a keyboard just so you can text more quickly would be more than a little counterproductive on the go. But the ability to send and receive SMS texts from your computer not only has the potential to double your texting speed, it also eliminates the need to juggle devices when you're at your desk. If you'd rather consolidate your devices and avoid your smartphone's overzealous insistence on autocorrecting "cute" to "cucumber," you can harmonize your computer and phone with a variety of apps for both Android and iOS.
Android Texting Assistants
In the Android sphere, a (mostly) free app called MightyText leads the charge for computer-based SMS texting. By installing the free app on your phone or tablet and following its straightforward instructions, you'll be able to access and respond to your texts directly from your Gmail account or from a web-based version of the app. MightyText also throws in features like low-battery notifications on your PC, the ability to send webpages, maps, and photos from your computer to your phone, and an in-app photo editor. While these features are free, paying $4.99 a month (or $59.99 a year) for MightyText Pro opens up perks like viewing other phone notifications on your computer, 100 GB of cloud storage, and text message scheduling, as well as eliminating in-app ads and removing the free version's 200-text-per-month limit.
And MightyText isn't alone. AirDroid offers a similar solution, but with an increased focus on transferring files between your handheld and desktop devices in addition to texting functions. Like MightyText, its basic features are free, though you'll need to pay $1.99 a month for premium features like remote photo taking and multiple device support.
For iOS users, ="http:>myPhone Desktop provides a text-from-your-computer solution, but it also takes the concept of harmonizing your mobile and desktop devices a few steps further than its Android brethren.
With this app – which comes with a one-time price tag of $4.99 – you can not only access and send iPhone texts from your Mac or iPad (or even your iPod Touch), you can make calls from your desktop, drag and drop items from your computer screen to your phone screen, and even share map routes among your family of devices.
As a Mac user, you also have a slightly clumsier iPhone-only option that doesn't require you to download any additional apps. From your Mac's dock, click on the Messages icon and sign in with the Apple ID you use on your iPhone. Hit the "New Message" icon, choose a contact (make sure you synced your contacts with your Mac during your iPhone's setup), and type away – your contact will receive the message on their phone as an iMessage, though, on their end, it may identify you with your email address rather than your phone number.
A Universal Alternative
Although this one's a little clunky, it gets the job done if you don't want to deal with apps, but really want to send a text from the comfort of your computer's keyboard.
Pop over to your email account and start composing a new email. For the address, type in the recipient's phone number all as one block (no punctuation) followed by "@email.uscc.net" – so it should look something like, "[email protected]" With the exception of a few smaller carriers like T-Mobile, this should work for most cellular phones in the United States. And as a bonus, it's a pretty nifty trick for the next time you lose your smartphone under your car seat.
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