Send and Receive Traditional SMS Text Messages on Your Mac and/or iPad

The other day, I was asked which app was the one that I used the most on my iPhone. I had a pretty good idea, but never really paid too much attention to it. To validate my hunch, I spent the next 24 hours keeping mental note of which app was open and used the most.

While I set aside 24 hours to do this, it was pretty clear within the first 6 hours. And the winner is... Messages! Apparently, I text a lot! Not just on my iPhone or iPad, but on my MacBook Pro as well. When using Apple's iMessage network (i.e.: when the text bubble is blue), these text conversations automatically flow seamlessly between iOS devices and Macs, and it's worked this way for a while now. Historically, however, this only worked for iMessage messages and didn't include traditional SMS-based text messages between you and non-Apple users (i.e.: when the text bubble is green). Because I sit in front of my computer a lot during the day, it would be nice to be able to text those users from my computer as well. Fortunately, there's an easy fix for this!

First of all, let's talk about requirements. There are two:

  • OS X Yosemite (10.10) for your Mac (which is a free upgrade from the Mac App Store, if you don't have it already
  • the latest version of iOS 8 on your iPhone and/or iPad (also a free upgrade, if you don't have it already)

Now that we have the requirements out of the way, it's time to enable this feature. To do this, we'll go to Settings > Messages > Text Message Forwarding on your iPhone. At this point, all your registered devices will be listed. In my case, I have my MacBook Pro and a couple iPads. Choose the device (or devices) that you want your SMS messages forwarded to, then enable the switch. Next, a code will be presented to you on that device that you will need to enter on your iPhone. This process will pair the two devices together. Repeat this process for other devices you want to enable text message forwarding. In the end, your settings may look something like mine:


Now that it's enabled, it's time to test it out! Not only will you receive messages sent to you from other non-Apple devices via SMS, but you can also send SMS messages from these enable devices.

One last thing to keep in mind... this technology uses Bluetooth between your iPhone and other devices. As long as they are within Bluetooth range (30-50 feet) of each other, this feature works great. If you go beyond that range and the connection is severed, these SMS messages will no longer be forwarded.

Posted on July 9, 2015 and filed under How To, iOS, iPad, iPhone, Mac.