Send and receive SMS text messages on your Mac

If you are still undecided about upgrading OS X your Apple Mac to the new Yosemite, one feature that might change your mind is the ability to send and receive text messages from the desktop without touching your phone. This is a great new feature that makes texting a lot easier. There is just one caveat, you must have an iPhone with iOS 8 and the new iPhone 6 is perfect for the job.

Set up text messaging

Configuring the Mac and the iPhone to send and receive text messages is straightforward and it takes less than a minute. Open Messages on the Mac and create a new message. Select a contact with a phone number and you will see a message pop up like this:

Set up Messages for text messages

It asks if you want to turn on the facility to send and receive text messages. Click the Turn On button. It then displays a code number that must be entered on the iPhone:

It waits for you to get your phone and turn it on. When you do this, a Text Message Forwarding message is displayed on the screen. Tap in the box to bring up the keyboard on the iPhone and enter the number that is displayed on the Mac’s screen.

That is it and text messaging is set up. You can now go ahead and select a contact’s phone number to send a message to. Type the text at the bottom of the window and hit Enter to send it.

Send text messages on your Mac

When a message is sent via SMS using Messages, the details are displayed next to the message. It says SMS followed by the phone number and date/time. Incoming text messages are displayed on the screen in Messages too:

Receive text messages on your Mac

Don’t forget that text messaging may cost money. Your phone contract may bundle hundreds or even thousands of text messages a month, but it may not, so bear in mind whatever your limit is.

Is text messaging useful?

Being able to send and receive text messages on the Mac is not a game changer and it is just one way in which life can be made a tiny bit simpler and easier.

I am never far away from my phone and more often than not, it is either in my pocket or on the desk next to me. If a text message arrives it would require very little effort to get my phone out and check the message. However, I don’t even need to do that when I am working on my Mac. I can simply switch to Messages, read the text message and type a reply. Typing is much easier and faster on my Mac than on the small touch screen keypad on the iPhone.

If I want to send a text message to someone and I am sat in front of my Mac, I will use Messages instead of my iPhone. This is again mainly because a big screen, full size keyboard and trackpad is just so much easier than fiddling with the iPhone’s small touch screen and keypad.

I spend hours each day in front of my Mac and the new Messages in Yosemite will probably mean that I send more text messages, but use my iPhone less.

 

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