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Home / Tips and Tricks / If you're not currently using Android Messages for Web for text, you're doing it wrong

If you're not currently using Android Messages for Web for text, you're doing it wrong



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You can also send and receive text on your computer.


Anne Dujmovic / CNET

Nothing is more annoying than switching between your computer and your phone while you try to work and send someone a text message. It's difficult to keep in a good workflow, and depending on what else you need your phone for, the battery suffers. For years, Android users had no choice but to use other messaging apps when they wanted to chat with friends from their desktops. But if you did not know, you can use Android Messages in your desktop browser for typing. Google calls these messages for the internet.

Note 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 can not use Messages for Web.

News is the default sms app for pixel phones. However, there is also a dedicated app that anyone can download from the Google Play Store to use instead of the standard SMS app for Android phones from other manufacturers. It's easy to use and there's no penalty for switching apps from your mobile service provider.

As with Apple's iMessage, you can use Messages for Web to make calls from your computer screen. Note that you may need to pair your phone with your desktop from time to time.

Make sure your phone's messaging app is up to date before you start. Let us do this!

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No back and forth between devices.


Jason Pepper

How to Set Up Messages for Web on Your Computer

  1. Open a new browser tab or window on your computer (we recommend a window) and navigate to messages.google.com/web/ , A QR code is displayed.

  2. Open the News app on your phone.

  3. In Messages, tap Settings (the three dots in the upper right corner).

  4. Tap "Messages for the Internet."

  5. Keep your phone a few inches away from the QR code that you see on your computer screen, and make sure it fills the viewfinder on your phone screen.

  6. After scanning the QR code, your contacts automatically appear on the screen and you can start the SMS.

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This is the QR code that you can scan with your phone.


Screenshot by Gordon Gottsegen / CNET

Some Important Tips

Note that the computer from which you send a text message stores your information only if you enable the Store 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 this, you may receive a notification on your phone informing you that you are still logged in. You can also bookmark the site so that you can write easier text messages when needed.

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More than just text

Once you've set up Messages for Web on your computer, you can do a lot with it. Start typing the name of a friend or group and start texting. You can also add a phone number. You receive text messages for the web as on your phone. At the top right of your screen, a notification banner will be displayed (and a beep will sound) when a new message arrives.

News for The Web 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 with Google Pay, send or request money, use voice-to-text, share contacts, or attach a file. In addition, no suggestions for text suggestions are displayed. The time you save on typing while working on your desktop is worth the few omissions.

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6:59

Originally published on June 18, 2018.
Update dated May 1: Clarifies the need for a Wi-Fi connection.


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