Yesterday Google started rolling out the ability to text from the web with Android Messages. The feature gives users a lot more flexibility in choosing how and where they can carry on conversations. As long as your Android smartphone is powered on, you can text from a desktop computer or even other mobile devices — including iOS products like an iPad if you just open up Safari. Aside from text, you can also send emoji, stickers, and images over the web.
Using Android Messages on the web requires using Android Messages as your main texting app on your phone. I like it just fine, and Google is clearly planning big things for the future, but if you prefer, say, Samsung’s default messages app or something else, the two don’t work together.
With that out of the way, getting started and setting things up is fairly simple.
- Make sure you’ve got the latest version of Android Messages installed on your phone.
- Go to messages.android.com on the computer or other device you want to text from. You’ll see a big QR code on the right side of this page.
- Open up Android Messages on your smartphone. Tap the icon with three vertical dots at the top and to the far right. You should see a “Messages for web” option inside this menu. If you don’t, just give it some time. Google is rolling out the feature gradually to everyone over the next week.
- Tap “Scan QR code” and point your phone’s camera at the QR code on your other device. In less than a second, your phone will vibrate and the two will be linked up. You should notice your conversations show up in the left column of the browser window. Google says that “conversation threads, contacts, and other settings will be encrypted and cached on your browser.”
Note: this doesn’t mean your actual text conversations are encrypted. They’re not.
And that’s it. To make sure you don’t have to repeat the QR process, you can keep your computer paired with your phone by enabling “Remember this computer.” That’s in the settings menu, which you can access from the web version of Android Messages by clicking on the three-dot icon to the right of “Messages.” You shouldn’t turn this on if you’re using a public PC that other people can easily access.
- Microsoft Edge
You can remove a computer’s access to your messages from your Android phone.
If you want to revoke a web browser’s access to your conversations and messaging, you can quickly do so from your Android smartphone. Go back to the “Messages for web” area of Android Messages and you can choose to sign out of individual computers or all of them with a click.
There’s a dark mode!
Android Messages doesn’t have a dark theme on mobile, but Google has created one for the web, where all the app’s whites and light grays might overload your eyeballs at night. You’ll find “Enable dark theme” in settings (on the web) right above the “Remember this computer” option mentioned earlier.
Keep your phone powered on.
Android Messages on the web can’t work independently of your smartphone. So if your battery dies or if your phone shuts off for any reason, you won’t be able to send any texts from your computer.
Drag media into the Android Messages conversation to attach and send.
Sending a photo from Android Messages on the web is dead simple. You can either use the attachments icon — to the right of emoji and stickers — or just drag and drop media into the conversation window to send an MMS.