Have you ever felt annoyed at a distraction that comes from the need to go look for your smartphone in another room when you hear a text message beep or an email notification while you are working? It may be especially annoying for some ladies who have trouble weeding out their smartphones from their handbags that always carry tons of useful and necessary little things. If yes, there is a hack for productivity nerds, and if you would like to be able to read incoming or type outgoing text messages on your computer or laptop desktop and have your smartphone send them without even touching it, read on because there are a few apps that have that functionality.
- [Android app, iOS app, Chrome extension, Firefox extension, Windows Desktop App]
- By Pushbullet
- Price: free
Pushbullet enables Android/Windows/Chrome/Firefox users copy-paste stuff to and from their desktops and Android smartphones. The app is free and facilitates your routine work and file transfer significantly.
Here is the list of things you can do with Pushbullet:
Have your Android text messages on your desktop. Once you sync the Android app and either a browser extension or a Windows desktop app, you will receive your Android notifications on your desktop, which covers text messages. Pushbullet lets you read incoming text messages, reply to them from your desktop, or create new messages. Now, Pushbullet initially supported only four texting apps (chomp SMS, EvolveSMS, Vegas SMS, and Sliding Messaging), but the feature now seems to be supported by all other mobile texting apps, even though the feature seems to be rolling out gradually. So, now there is no limit to synchronizing your Android/desktop productivity.
See who is calling you without picking up your phone – your desktop notification displays the caller ID for you.
Send a link from your computer to your Android smartphone, or vice versa, by right-clicking on the link. When you unlock your Android device, the link is there, in the Notifications.
The same concerns documents, images, to-do and shopping lists and addresses – Pushbullet sends them to your device from your desktop, and you find them in your Notifications without having to dig through your file syncing app like Dropbox. Google Maps links can be opened from the Notifications, too.
Even though some labeled Pushbullet as a mirroring service for your Android notifications, it is much more than that because it takes the hassle away from copy-pasting to and from your Android device. Yes, you can sync your documents and pictures via Dropbox, Google Drive or any other cloud service, and if you are using Hangouts you probably seldom miss a call or text message, and your Chrome tabs must be synced between your smartphone and desktop browser. However, Pushbullet brings all that functionality in one app, leaving out nothing.
Also, the app is available in 30 languages, is simple to use and works like charm with the exception of an occasional bug.
Google Account Required
Getting started is pretty straightforward – you have to pair your Pushbullet with your Google Account. This does have its perks and drawbacks, though because even though it does let you add as many devices ad you want, they all have to be logged into the same Google Account. There is a way to bypass the restriction by simply creating a new account with Pushbullet to pair with your other Google Account. This tapping into users’ Google Accounts is both logical and potentially dangerous. For one, Google Accounts tend to be easily hackable. Another reason to frown here is Google might sooner or later introduce that functionality in its Google services, and will either buy Pushbullet or out-feature it, but until then, Pushbullet is the great thing for productivity.
Mirrored Notifications Require Fine-Tuning
The first time you see your Android notifications on your desktop, you will probably want to measure them. Believe me, it is no fun receiving tons of notifications from various games and apps that monitor something, like your Android RAM and CPU, or Facebook feed. If productivity is your goal, and not constant distraction, you can either go to your Android settings to turn off notifications for certain apps altogether or mute notifications for certain apps from your desktop notification window.
Send notifications to your friends’ devices
Amazing app, indeed, Pushbullet lets you send notifications to your friends’ devices, provided they use Pushbullet. All you have to do is add a friend’s account, and you will be able to send your friend notifications, such as notes, files, images, links, etc. The same trick works for adding your other Google Accounts – you just add them as a ‘friend’s’ account. Mind, though, that you can only send one notification to one friend at a time – there are no group notifications.
Besides muting and weeding out notifications you do not wish to receive on your desktop, you can create new notifications – links, notes, addresses, images. The ones you send to your desktop appear in a dedicated notification window, while the ones you push from your desktop to your Android appear in the regular notifications tray.
Where are these files stored?
On Pushbullet’s public Amazon cloud, with further usage of Google’s cloud messaging or Apple’s push notification service. For more details about privacy and security, refer to Pushbullet’s webpage.
- Cross-platform support
- Notifications Mirroring
- Seamless copy-pasting across mobile and desktop devices
- Easy to set up and use
- You can send notifications to your friends’ devices, provided they use Pushbullet
- You can read and type text messages without ever touching your smartphone (Beware! Carrier charges still apply)
- Another way for Google or Apple to know more about you, but if it’s fine with you, go ahead and harness the simplicity and productivity perks.
Another solution for both smartphones and tablets.
- SMS Text Messaging ↔Tablet SMS [Android] for tablets
- SMS Text Messaging Texting SMS [Android] for smartphones
- Chrome extension
- By MightyText
- Price: free
MightyText might not be as versatile as the above-mentioned Pushbullet, but it does the job if easier texting is what you need, and you can input text messages from both your desktop and Android tablet and have your smartphone send them. As is the case with Pushbullet, MightyText syncs some features between your Android smartphone and your desktop or Android tablet, enabling you to type messages in a more convenient way, but have your smartphone send them. Thus, wireless carrier charges STILL apply.
I feel I should stress this since some users manage to install the app thinking this is some kind of replacement for Skype, then get disappointed and give the app a bad rating it does not deserve. Alas, reading is not considered a useful investment these days.
Here is what you can do with MightyText:
Text Messaging – you will have a Chrome extension on your desktop paired with MightyText app on your smartphone; or, you will have a tablet app paired with a smartphone app. Thus, you will have a notifications window where you can read and type text messages in a more convenient manner. Both SMS and MMS are supported, as well as group messaging. You can also type text messages in your Gmail, and your recipients still receive it from your phone number.
Notifications – you will see who is calling directly from your desktop (or tablet). Also, you will receive notifications when your Android smartphone battery runs low on juices.
Sync – MightyText lets you back up images and videos from your Android smartphone to your desktop and access your Android contact list from your desktop, or tablet. Also, you can backup and restore your SMS and MMS.
Dial a phone number or find a contact from your Android contact list from your desktop and place a call over your smartphone is also possible since the app has a desktop dialer.
This is easy. Depending on whether you want to use it with a tablet or a desktop, first install the app on your Android smartphone and then on your tablet or desktop and voilà! The app works over Wi-Fi or mobile data and is compatible with Hangouts, Textra, Chomp SMS, Pansi, GoSMS. Not an SMS bomber/SMS bulk app, textgram, foxfi, texting pro.
- SMS and MMS from desktop and tablet
- Backup and restore SMS, video, images from smartphone to desktop
- Group messaging
- Unclear pricing. The app is free, and texting is free, but the price of the other features is unclear. There are labels ‘plus’ next to some features, but neither app description on Google Play nor the website has a price chart.
AirDroid – Best Device Manager [Android]
- By SAND STUDIO
- Price: free
AirDroid allows users to send and receive text messages on your desktop, both individual and group. Besides this, the app offers a slew of other stellar features for power users – push apk files to and from your desktop and Android device over the same Wi-Fi network, no USB cable required. Also, you can manage your Android files, photos, music and video, ringtones, and contacts from your desktop and transfer them. URL pushing and clipboard contents sharing is also supported.
Root users will be able to take screenshots of their Android screens, as well as see through lens of their rear and front cameras and control flashlight. Android client also offers Wi-Fi tethering option, file and task manager and some other power features for root users.
Besides texting, sharing and device management, AirDroid lets you locate and wipe your device remotely, provided it is within a WiFi network reach.
- Text from your desktop
- A slew of power features for root users
- Complex Android device manager, perfect for those who play and test games and apps and want to take screenshots
- Does not require any desktop extension – AirDroid is a web app and can be opened in any browser.
- Drains Android device’s battery fast
- Tricky uninstall
- Has some compatibility issues with different devices, so it’s a trial and error method
SMS Text Messaging SMS Texting [mysms]
MySMS is another powerful app that focuses on texting from a desktop or tablet. In this case, you will be able to place messages through your phone carrier (charges apply, of course,) and text to any number, or place messages to other MySMS users, which is free, but naturally requires your friends have the app installed. It has an Android and iOS apps and a Chrome extension, and as usual, you need to install the mobile app first. You can skip Chrome extension and go straight to app.mysms.com to text from any browser.
- Send and receive SMS and MMS on your desktop computer or tablet
- Sync your existing text messages, MMS, calls and contacts with your desktop computer
- Send SMS via your wireless carrier to any number, or send free messages to your friends, provided they use MySMS, too.
- Easy to set up – just install the app and open app.mysms.com in your desktop browser to sync
- Group messaging for up to 50 contacts
- Send messages with files attached
- Share your GPS location with friends
- Integration with DashClock, Evernote
- Smileys and emojis
- Expandable notifications
- Backup SMS and MMS to Evernote, Dropbox or Google Drive
- Answer or dial phone calls, mute and dismiss them from your computer or tablet (Bluetooth headset required)
- Restore backed up messages to a new smartphone
- Multi-platform support – PC, Mac, Android, iOS, any browser
- Awesome texting capabilities
- Free texting with other MySMS users
- Plenty of themes to choose and customize your chat
- Premium features offer backup to Evernote and Dropbox, as well as phone call answering and dialing from a desktop
- Functionality limited to texting – no file or link pushing, but the text messaging functionality is stellar
I hope you can choose an app that better suits your needs from this list. If texting is all you want, try MySMS or MightyText. If you want more sharing and pushing features, try out Pushbullet, but if you want root-only features, check out AirDroid. If there are other apps you think we should add to the list, let us know in the comments below!