How to Send Text Messages with Alexa

Author Dragan Berak 1.3.2018. | 13:57

You can now send text messages with Alexa, Finally!

At the end of January Amazon announced a new messaging feature for use with its Alexa devices. However, this update allowing users to ask Alexa to send text messages using voice commands is restricted to use the US for now. Hopefully, it won’t be long until this is rolled out to international markets.

Ok, I know this was possible before by using IFTTT (If This Then That) to send text messages to numbers setup but that was a hassle and required you to set up IFTTT recipes for each number you wanted to text. This new Alexa feature can actually send the messages without any messing about. Well if you have a phone running Android 5.0 or later and live in the US that is.

Amazon also announced there are no plans to expand this functionality to iOS so if you own an iPhone you are just plain out of luck. This is because Apple doesn’t offer their messaging API to third parties. Boooo. 🙁

If you have a Phone running Android 5.0 or later here is how you set up SMS with Alexa.

  1. Open the Alexa app
  2. Open Conversations tab.
  3. You should see a pop-up appear, this will explain the new SMS feature. (If you don’t see the pop up you may need to update your Alexa app.)Alexa text message
  4. Tap the “Go To My Profile” at the bottom of the notification.  (alternatively, access your profile by tapping the Contacts icon in the upper right corner)
  5. Find Permissions and then enable the Send SMS option.
  6. Tap OK to continue
  7. Tap Allow to give send and view SMS messages rights to the Alexa app.

send a message with Alexa

Now you have set up text to speech text messages on your Alexa Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Spot, Echo Plus or Echo Show device.

To send a message you can use commands like

“Alexa, send a text message”
“Alexa, send a text message to [contact name]”
“Alexa, send an SMS”

“Alexa, send an SMS to  [contact name]”

These commands will let you dictate and send a message to individuals, note you won’t be able to send SMS group messages or send MMS.

 

How to send a text message using IFTTT

Google doesn’t have an official method for sending text messages just yet, although I’m sure they are working on one. Until then your best bet is to use If This Then That.  You can also use IFTTT with Alexa as well.

IFTTT has a setup for sending text messages with Google Home as well as Alexa.

However once again it is limited to Android devices. You also have to enter the contact so it is really only helpful for people you message regularly.

Setting up IFTTT is fairly simple. Just remember that all text messages are sent from the phone number of the primary Google account holder setup with your Google Home.

  1. First, download and install the IFTTT app on your device from the Google Play store.
  2. Once installed open the app and create a new account or sign in with an existing account.
  3. Select the My Applets tab. then the + Symbol at the top of the page to create a new Applet
  4. Click +This that appears in blue
  5. You will see a bunch of apps that IFTTT can integrate with. Scroll down until you find the Google Assistant then select it.
  6. In the options window chose “say a phrase with a text ingredient
  7. In the next field fill in the command you want to say e.g. “Text Paul” you can also set up another way to say this, e.g. “Send a text message to Paul”. At the bottom of this page, you can enter a response that Google Home should say to confirm it has understood the request.
  8. Now select the blue +that link and select Android SMS, then select send an SMS
  9. Enter the number to which you want to send the SMS. Include the country code here as well. The field below this should have textfield already in it. Then select the tick at the top tight and you’re done.
  10. IFTTT will provide a summary of the new applet. You can check it over or select Finish.
    Now when you give the command “Text Paul” to your Google Home you will be able to send a message to Paul at the preset number.

You can also use IFTTT to send text messages from you Alexa assistant as well.

Author Dragan Berak 1.3.2018. | 13:57
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