Nothing is more irritating than jumping back and forth between the computer and the phone as you try to work and send someone a text message. For years, Android phone users have had no choice but to use other messaging apps to chat with friends from their desktops. If you do not know, you can use Android messages in your desktop browser for typing. Google calls these messages for the web.
Note, however, that your phone must have a service and your computer must be connected to a Wi-Fi network. It does not necessarily have to be the same network. If your phone is turned off, your computer does not have Wi-Fi, or you are using airplane mode, you will not be able to use Messages for Web.
Android Messages is the default sms app for pixel phones. However, there is also a special app that anyone can download from the Google Play Store to use in place of the default SMS app on Google phones (Google just calls it "News"). , It is easy to use and there is no penalty from your mobile service provider to switch apps.
As with Apple's iMessage, you can use Messages for Web to conduct conversations from your computer screen. Note that you may occasionally need to pair the phone with your desktop again.
Make sure your phone's Android News app is up to date before you get started. Let us do this!
How to Set Up Messages for the Web on Your Computer
On your computer, open a new browser tab or window (we recommend a window) and navigate to messages.android.com. A QR code is displayed.
Open the Android News app on your phone.
Under Messages, tap Settings (three dots in the upper-right corner).
Tap News for the Web.
Hold your phone a few inches from the QR code displayed on your computer screen, and make sure the viewfinder appears on the screen of the phone.
After you scan the QR code, your contacts automatically appear on the screen and you can start the SMS.
Some Important Tips
Note that the computer you send SMS from will not save your information unless you enable the Remember this computer option under the QR code before scanning. Otherwise, you will need to pair your devices each time. You only want to save your contacts when it's a personal laptop or desktop to protect your privacy.
If you create text on a public computer, you must log out afterwards. If you forget, you may receive a notification on your phone informing you that you are still logged in. You can also bookmark the site so you can easily send text messages when you need them.
More than Text
If you've set up Messages for Web on your computer, you can do a lot with it. First enter the name of a friend or group and start with the SMS. You can also add a phone number. You'll receive text in Messages for Web just like your phone, and you'll see a notification banner (and you'll hear a ringtone) in the top right corner of your screen when a new message arrives.
Internet Messaging supports much of what you can and do with Android messages on your phone. You can send your friends dozens of emojis, gifs, photos, videos and stickers. You can also activate the dark mode.
You can not share your location, send or request money through Google Pay, use voice-to-text, not share contacts, or attach a file. You also do not see any predictive text suggestions. However, the time you spend typing on your desktop while working is worth those few omissions.
Originally published on 18 June 2018.
Updates May 1, 10:36 pm PT: Added details and clarifications.