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It’s clear that texting your coworkers and buddies is the preferred way of communicating; it’s quick, you’re notified (when you want to be bothered), and phone calls can be tedious when you just have to tell someone something quick.

It’s absolutely perfect for anyone wanting to be in touch with their friends, after all, it’s one of the main reasons to carry around a smartphone in the first place. But here’s the rub: it isn’t always the best and as convenient as you would like it to be, and there’s more than one way of sending and receiving text messages.

Why Bother Using a PC for Text Messages?

Texting, for starters, isn’t possible without some kind of connection to a network, whether that’s through a network connection or your mobile data. Unfortunately, your network connection doesn’t exactly help you when you’re out in about; that’s what your mobile data is for. But what if you’ve reached your data cap and desperately need to text someone? Then why not use your computer?

And why not? By a functional standpoint, your virtual keyboard does the jump it’s intended for: typing. For practical use? Well, it’s a pretty steep learning curve and even when you’ve mastered it, you still manage to bump every single key around the letter you want. Virtual versions of technology don’t always translate seamlessly. But who could argue with a physical keyboard for texting? You’ve got access to every necessary symbol, all your keys are of the physical variety so you know the key you pressed was actually pressed and there’s worry of fumbling with your virtual keyboard.

Let’s not forget your data plan. There’s never the right plan, you know? You start off paying for a minimum plan only to realize down the road you should have more because your life calls for it, but then you realize it was too much. It’s hard to find a middle because, quite frankly, not a lot of middle plans exist. Texting plans by themselves could have their own article. But by using your computer, you could bypass that little problem, especially if you capped your data plan for the month.

Send Texts with Android Messages

If you are a proud owner of an Android device, then congratulations because you can use Android Messages to send text messages and receive them all on your computer. It’s a web based program that you can use anytime you want, with no charge to you and it’s free. However, before you can use Android Messages, you have to have the app installed on your phone and set as your default texting app, and that’s easy enough to do. If you don’t know how, the steps below are laid out for you.

Android Messages is also pretty open to more than just your desktop; you can use it on iOS devices, too. There are some limitations, though. You can’t install the app version of Android Messages, you can only use Android Messages through the browser. Even still, you can message Android users and iOS users alike with the iOS’ browser.

Installing the Android Messages App

Unfortunately, the Android Message app is Andorid-only (sorry, iOS users, but you have your own service). With that being said, if you own an Android phone and an iOS device, like a tablet or iOS phone or you happen to have a Mac OS computer, you can still interact with the devices. Say you want to message a contact from your Android device from your Mac OS or iOS device. You can do that with no problem.

This is what you do:

1. Locate and launch the Google Play Store app. You can find the Google Play Store app somewhere on one of your home screens. If you don’t find the app there, check inside your App Drawer. All of your currently installed apps are located in the App Drawer.

2. When the Google Play Store launches, tap the search bar at the top of the screen. When your virtual keyboard appears, punch into the search bar “Android Messages” and select it from the search results below (it’s by Google LLC, just so you know).

3. On Android Messages’ information page, select INSTALL. Doing so will immediately download it to your Android device.

Setting Android Messages as your Default SMS

1. Locate and launch the Settings app. Its icon is a gear. You can find the Settings app somewhere on one of your home screens. If you don’t find the app there, check inside your App Drawer. All of your currently installed apps are located in the App Drawer.

2. In your Settings, head all the way down to Apps and select it.

3. Now, you need to find Default Apps, but it moves depending on your Android device. You can either scroll down to the very bottom and find Advanced or it’ll be under Configure Apps, represented by a gear icon.

Default SMS App

4. When you’ve found Default Apps, you’ll see the option Default SMS App. Go ahead and select it.

5. When you’re asked to choose a default SMS app, choose Messages.

Using Android Messages on PC

1. Open your preferred browser and head on over to Android Messages homepage. You’ll see a QR code. That will become important shortly.

2. Locate and launch Messages on your Android device.

3. In Messages, select More, represented by three vertical dots.

4. In the drop down menu, tap Messages for web.

Scan the QR code

5. Scan the QR code on the website.

Send Messages with iMessage

Installing iMessage onto your iOS

So, your allegiance is to iOS and you want your own version of Android Messages. Fair enough. Then you’ll want to use iMessage. As far as functionality speaking, iMessage isn’t any different from Android Messages, except it’s for iOS. However, the setup for iMessage is marginally different from Android Messages.

Installing iMessage onto your iOS

Since you have an iOS device, you already have iMessage installed. There’s no need to install iMessage from the App Store.

Setting iMessages as your Default SMS

If you don’t use another SMS, then iMessage will already be your default messaging app. However, if you use something else, here’s what you do:

1. Locate and launch the Settings app. Its icon is a gear. You’ll find the Settings app on one of your home screens. If you don’t find it there, you might be swiping past it. Double-check inside any app folders you may have as well.

2. In Settings, locate and tap Messages.

3. In Messages, you’ll see a slider for iMessage. Turn it on by moving it to the right. It will turn green.

Using iMessage on your Mac OS Computer

No installation required to get iMessage on your Mac OS, provided your Mac OS is Yosemite or later.

1. Locate and launch iMessage on your iOS device.

2. In iMessage, make your way into Settings and select Messages, and then head down to Text Message Forwarding.

3. On your Mac OS, launch iMessage and make sure the iCloud account you log into is the same one on your iOS device. Once you’ve launched it and get it set up, you’ll get a confirmation code.

3. On your iOS device and in Text Message Forwarding, you’ll see a list of Apple devices you can link to. Choose your Mac OS computer and punch in the code that was given to you.

Bottom Line

As you can see, it isn’t as difficult as one may think to send and receive text messages on your PC. And the best part is you can not only save yourself some money on your data plan, but you won’t always have to have your phone on you.