Use Apple iChat to text message with cell phones

“Cell phone text messaging is a convenient way to communicate with someone when speaking on the phone isn’t appropriate. The process of entering a message on a cell phone’s number pad, however, is less than convenient. If your Mac is handy, you can use iChat instead to send messages to your friend’s cell phones,” Jeff Gamet reports for The Mac Observer.

Gamet reports, “Chatting with a friend’s cell phone works just like chatting with someone else on iChat. Their phone even shows up as online whenever it is turned on. Just be sure to keep your messages short because some phones will clip the length to a specific number of characters.”

Gamet give quick and easy illustrated directions here.


  1. What isn’t ‘easy’ is paying a quarter (or whatever) per message. For ONE message this is trivial. For a dozen or so a month it’s still no big deal. Then there are those who could see a dozen or more on a typical DAY! That’s the price of a burger, and you have no record of it, can’t deduct it, and might not be able to remember it.

    Maybe not the best plan for most of us.

  2. Yeah – does anyone know how to get this to work in the UK? I assume adding the +1 before the contact’s telephone number indicates a US location. Therefore, I’ve tried adding a +44 to my contact’s number, but this didn’t work. Neither did omitting the initial ‘0’ in the number or dispensing with the national code altogether. Any tips?

  3. Look it up. I know with cingular your cell phone is given an email address. You can email stuff to phones. It costs more unless your on a text messaging plan. but for an emergency it is ever so convient.

  4. Akido:

    Yes, it works in Adium, Fire, and most AIM-compatible clients. Just send an IM to the phone number with “+1” in front of the area code (no quotes and no dashes). Any phone capable of receiving SMS will work with this technique.

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