A Guide to Free SMS on Your iPhone with Google Voice

February 26, 2010

I’m not “cheap,” but I do hate paying for things – especially when the charge is outlandish – SMS is no exception.

If you divide 140 (the total number of bytes available to you) by 20 (the cost per message), you find that you are paying 1 cent for every 7 bytes of data. This leaves you with a cost of $1,497.97 for the 1024Kbytes contained in a single megabyte. iPod users: It would cost you $5,991.88 to transfer – not even to buy – a single song via SMS.” via gthing.net

I’ve been paying $5 to AT&T every month for the “privilege” of sending some SMS messages.  Not much, but I thinking everyone would rather spend $5 on something else.

Having an iPhone, I have a lot of choices – there are the plenty of apps that you can send SMS messages, but I wanted something than integrated better with what I have.  My wife and I use Ping! (which I like quite a bit) or use BeeJive instant messaging since she has an iPhone too, but I have one friend that doesn’t have an iPhone and I need to send “vanilla” SMS.

The perfect solution has turned out to be Google Voice.  It’s still invite only, but asking around you should find someone with some invites and get in if you need to.

Your requirements are:
  • Google Voice account
  • iPhone
  • An app that send you push notifications for Gmail (or any mail service, I guess).  The couple of bucks you’ll spend here will repay itself the first month.

The setup:

Once you have your basic Google Voice setup, you’ll want to go to the Voicemail & SMS settings page through Settings and uncheck the “Send a text (SMS) message to: Mobile” and then have them forwarded to your email.  Remember, the idea is no SMS coming to your phone at all.  Your going to cancel your SMS plan, and you don’t want a “per” charge.

There’s another setting you’ll need to do that baffled me for a day.  You need to go into the Phones setting and click “Edit”.

Then uncheck “Receive SMS on this phone”

You would have thought the other setting would have covered it, but no.

Then install the Push notification app of your choice.  I use PushMail (review) which seems to work well, but some may not like because you have to forward your email.  There are plenty, so take your pick.

The comes what could be the harder part.  You have to make sure all your friends send SMS to your Google Voice number.  Depending on your number of friends, this could be hard, or pitifully (almost sadly) easy like me who has only one person who texts me.  To be fair, the majority of who I know have iPhones.

The emails come in just fine, telling you from who and they’re number.  You can reply right to the email and they’ll receive a text back!

If you look at the address it’s from, you can add them to your contacts (existing or new) and initiate a new text through email with this address.

The web interface is great too and makes it almost like chat.

A new SMS from the web is easy too (once you start typing the number, it autocompletes).

Last but not least is the iPhone web version of Google Voice.

You can view your SMS easily.

An initiate using your Google Contacts.

Doesn’t take too long to set everything up and I just saved $57 a year (would have been $60, but I had to pay $3 for the app)!

Posted via email from Vince.DeGeorge


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