You need to send a text message to a friend with a cell phone, but you only have an iPad. Is it possible to send text messages from an iPad? The answer is both no and yes, depending on the situation. Here are your options.
First, what is a text message?
To understand the iPad’s limitations for sending text messages, we must first define what a text message is. SMS stands for “short message service”
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How are Apple messages different from SMS text messages?
Most Apple users communicate through the Apple Messages app, which uses Apple’s proprietary internet-based iMessage protocol when communicating with other Messages applications on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Mac. Currently Messages is only available on Apple platforms, so Windows and Android customers cannot use it.
Messages can also send and receive text messages on an iPhone. But by default, iPads cannot send text messages through Apple’s Messages app. Even if you have an iPad with a cellular data plan for mobile internet on the go, you still won’t be able to send text messages unless you use one of the workarounds below.
Option 1: Connect an iPhone to your iPad via Continuity
It is possible to send and receive text messages through your iPad if you have a working iPhone linked to it through Continuity, the way Apple shares connections through its devices.
You can do this with a feature that forwards Apple text messages. To set it up, open Settings on your iPhone and go to Messages> Forward Text Messages. There you can select an iPad to share text messages with.
Of course, if you already have a working iPhone that can send text messages, you don’t have to use your iPad to text. But if an iPad is your only choice, read on below.
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Option 2: Use an email-to-SMS gateway
It is also possible to send a text message via your iPad using an email-to-SMS gateway. Almost every mobile service provider uses such a gateway, and it allows you to send a message through a regular email client (such as Apple Mail) and have it appear as a text message on the recipient’s mobile phone.
For example, you can send an SMS to an AT&T customer by emailing to
email@example.com , where you replace “mobile number” with the recipient’s mobile phone number as follows:
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Option 3: Use a third-party text messaging app
While it’s not possible to send text messages through Apple’s free Messages app (unless your iPad is paired with an iPhone, as mentioned above), you can still send text messages through a third-party messaging app .
For example, Microsoft’s Skype app can send and receive text messages. Messages between Skype users are free, but text messages require payment in Skype Credit or a monthly subscription. However, Microsoft does offer a one-month free trial.
You can also use the Google Voice app. Unlike Skype, Google Voice is completely free. However, it is only available in the US. Google gives you a phone number that you can use for text messages, phone calls, and voicemails.
Many other texting apps are available in the iPad’s App Store. These apps usually require a subscription to use regularly, and some may show intrusive ads or disrespect your privacy, so be careful. They work over the internet to a relay operated by the company that connects to the SMS network.
But if you absolutely must have text messages on your iPad (and can’t link to an iPhone), a third-party text messaging app is probably the way to go.
Option 4: Use an alternative messaging app
If you regularly send short messages to friends who can’t use Apple Messages (if they have an Android phone, for example), you can also try using a no-text messaging solution.
There are many third-party messaging apps: WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal are three of the most popular right now, just to name a few. They don’t use text messages, of course, and everyone has to use the service to download a dedicated app. Good luck!
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