Send SMS Text Messages to Cell Phones from iChat

Feb 16, 2007 - 10 Comments

Messages The title says it all, you can send and receive SMS text messages through iChat by following these simple instructions. If you are so inclined, there is even a simple bash script allowing you to interface with iChat through the command line for such purposes. This is a great tip, and apparently the ability to send SMS messages through the AIM protocol has been around a while (note the date on their article is from 2003!).

  • Hit Command-Shift-N to bring up a New Chat window
  • Enter in the phone number you wish to text message in the following format: +18005551212
  • +1 is the country code for the USA, so if you want to try other countries, change it accordingly. +44 for the UK, +49 for Germany, etc
    • Note: I have only tested this in the USA, so no guarantees with other countries
  • Type your message and click send
  • Now you can talk with any mobile phone through IM and Text Messaging

As you can see from the screenshots, you will get often a message confirming that the instant message was sent to a mobile carrier. Because it is AIM that allows for this, technically this tip should work for Adium and other AIM supporting protocols as well, but I haven’t tested them.

You can also send IM’s through iChat via the command line with this simple bash script, though you must have an AIM account configured to do so (found in the comments on MacOSXHints, credit to their user ‘below’):
#!/bin/sh
# Apparently, iChat wants it that way
osascript< tell application "iChat"
repeat with a in (every account where id is "AIM:$1")
send "$2" to a
end repeat
end tell
DONE

Simply paste that into a text file with nano, save it as sendsms.sh, chmod +x sendsms.sh, and type ./sendsms +18185551212 "hello"

Note that the above bash script still requires iChat to be open, and still sends the SMS through iChat, allowing the conversation to continue in a typical iChat window.

Nice little find from the MacOSXHints

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Fun, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

10 Comments

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  1. Aditya says:

    This works much better on the commandline:

    #!/bin/bash
    # I got my wisdom from http://rsvp.atsites.de/stories/storyReader$194
    # Apparently, iChat wants it that way
    osascript -e “tell application \”iChat\”
    repeat with a in (every account where id is \”AIM:$1\”)
    send \”$2\” to a
    end repeat
    end tell

  2. steve campbel says:

    i use it

  3. Buster says:

    doesn’t work here (netherlands), sadly. SMS is bloody expensive here, it’s the milk cow of the mobile world, so that’s why I guess.

  4. Buster says:

    doesn’t work here (netherlands), sadly. SMS is bloody expensive here, it’s the milk cow of the mobile world, so that’s why I guess.

  5. Steffen says:

    Doesn’t work in Germany either…

  6. SMS says:

    Essentially, I’m wondering what happens if you send an SMS from iChat, subsequently sign off of iChat, and then the person tries to reply to your SMS. Does that person get any indication you cannot receive the message? Does the message show up when you log on next?

    I’d be extremely grateful if someone could test this- I would, except I’m in Australia and without my iPhone.

  7. sms spy says:

    That is definitely impressive. I know it’s asking much but how cool would it be if this worked´╗┐ across different platforms?

  8. [...] note: even without iMessage, you can send SMS through iChat right now just by using AIM or Google Chat and messaging a phone number prefixed with a +, although standard [...]

  9. Crankph says:

    I’ve been using this method for what seems about five years. Saw it on some Mac tips and tricks page. And once you sign off, replies don’t come forward once you log back on.

  10. $$ girl says:

    i dont understand how or why when i am trying to send an SMS under FILE it is grey and wont let me select the option to send a text??

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