It's no secret that Android has a messaging issue. iPhone users can use iMessage as a one-stop-shop for all their messaging needs – features such as read receipts and the ability to write texts from a computer have long been standard Apple products. Android has no such solution, but Google is trying to fix that with a major update for the Android Messages app.
If you're unfamiliar with Android Messages, it's the default SMS app for Android. Although not pre-installed on any Android phone, you can easily install the app and send and receive SMS and MMS messages in seconds.
Although it's a nice messaging app in general, and it already supports the new RCS standard, which is set to replace SMS, the feature Google just added is what really sets it apart. Now, by scanning a QR code, you can connect Android messages to any computer to copy text from your regular phone number on your laptop or desktop.
: Update to the latest version of Android News
To try this out, you must upgrade to Android Messages version 3.3.043 or later. The update is currently being deployed to the Play Store, so you may not be able to see it yet. However, first check the following link:
If the update does not occur Not yet available, you can now sideload . Make sure you have Unknown sources enabled, and then go to the following link. There are six variants of the APK, so you need to know your processor type and find your screen density value to see which version to download. Once you find the correct APK file, launch it from the notification window and press "Install" to update Android messages.
There is also a server-side component for the update. Therefore, you may also need to wait after updating for Google to toggle the switch in your account before you can use Android Messages on your computer. According to Google, this process could take up to a week. For those who do not want to wait, XDA has a detailed tutorial to force the feature, but you need root access.
Step 2: Link Your Phone to Your Computer
Next, go to the new Android Messages website on your computer. The site works in Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Opera. If you frequently send messages from your computer, this link is definitely a bookmark:
Now open the Android Messages App on your phone. If everything went smoothly with the app update and the server-side update, just tap the three-dot button in the upper-right corner and select "News for the Web." If this option is not displayed, you must wait for the server-side update.
If the "News for the Web" option exists, tap it. On the next screen, tap "Scan QR code" and just scan the QR code on your computer screen. After following the prompts, the message "Connected to messages for the web" appears. The app now displays your logged in computers – make a note of this menu as you can later disconnect this computer if needed.
After connecting, the browser will display a new page with all the active conversations left. If you select one, the conversation will be displayed on the right. To start a new message, select the "+" button in the upper left corner of the screen. Enter the name, phone number or e-mail address of the person you want to communicate with. Write a message in the text box below.
You will notice some new features in the web version borrow from other apps developed by Google. You can perform a GIF search with the smiling icon in the text box (the second icon from the left). There is also a dark mode for those who prefer it that can be activated by selecting the three vertical dots in the upper right corner of the window and selecting "Settings". Select "Enable Dark Theme" to activate the dark mode.
Now we finally start to reach the feature parity iMessage on Android. There's still a long way to go, but as soon as Google's new RCS Universal profile is implemented by more carriers, most of the iMessages features will be available through the Android Messages app and this desktop site.
Special thanks to Kieron Quinn AKA Quinny898, the developer of Mighty Quinn Apps. We are still waiting for the server-side update, so the screenshots are mainly from him. He's also one of our favorite developers – if you have time, take a look at some of his great apps, such as Custom Quick Settings, GeoGuess and the ported Pixel Launcher.