Make SMS Useful Again: 7 Services That Use SMS Messages Cleverly

Thanks to instant messaging apps, you probably don’t use plain old SMS on your phone too often. Messengers like WhatsApp and Telegram are faster, more reliable, and have tons of other modern features SMS lacks.

But SMS is around to stay on your phone and despite what you may think, it has a lot to offer. We’ve rounded up several cool services that make good use of SMS.

1. Send Automated Reminders With Remindr

Automate SMS with Remindr

Because many people receive SMS messages infrequently, surveys suggest people have a tendency to attend to texts more promptly than IMs. A service called Remindr leverages this by letting you easily schedule SMS reminders.

Once you’ve signed up, Remindr allows you to compose groups of contacts. You can automate a reminder and send it at a specific time to everyone with the click of a button. You have the option to schedule messages days, weeks, or even months in advance. Remindr is thus ideal if you’re planning a party or running a business.

Since Remindr sends messages for you, it’s not free. A one-time fee will top up your account with 250 credits; you can buy more depending on your use as you go.

Visit: Remindr ($13)

2. Set Up Kitestring for SMS-Based Checkups

Kitestring SMS service

If you often venture into the wild, you probably can’t connect to mobile data all the time. Kitestring, an SMS-based service, is a way to let your loved ones know you’re safe when adventuring.

After signing up for the service, tell it what time you’re going out. During your expedition, it will send you texts every so often. If it doesn’t receive a response from you, Kitestring will alert the contact you’ve chosen with a personalized message. The service works overseas, which means it’s suitable for trips. Just keep in mind that roaming charges may apply.

Kitestring is free, with a limit of three sessions a month and one emergency contact. To avoid these limits, you’ll need to pay $3 per month.

Visit: Kitestring (Free, subscription available)

3. Get Critical Weather Alerts Over SMS

Get weather alerts over SMS with WeatherWatchAlerts

During national emergencies, you might not be able to count on internet-based services for accurate updates or reliable connectivity. Fortunately, you can enroll for updates on weather conditions through SMS with WeatherWatchAlerts.

This website allows you to sign up for forecast alerts by SMS or email. The service relies on the National Weather Service for data and is capable of informing you minutes after a new broadcast releases.

You can also pick which type of warnings you’d like to keep tabs on, such as Flood Watch, 911 Telephone Outage, Severe Weather Statement, and more. Plus, it lets you configure alerts for more than one location and add multiple email or SMS contacts.

There’s a free 30-day trial, after which you have to shell out for a subscription.

Visit: WeatherWatchAlerts ($15 per year, free trial available)

4. Configure SMS-Based Anti-Theft Protection (Android Only)

If you lose your phone, internet-powered Android anti-theft apps can help you locate it, but they don’t always work perfectly. SMS is often a more dependable medium in such situations. On Android, a few anti-theft services, such as Cerberus, can trigger a bunch of actions from commands transmitted by SMS texts.

For instance, when you text “Cerberus password find” from a different phone, Cerberus will return your lost phone’s coordinates. Similarly, the “Cerberus password takepicture” command will snap a photo with the front-facing camera and email the picture to you. In addition, you can send an email or SMS alert to an emergency contact when it detects a swapped SIM card.

Download: Cerberus ($5 per year, free trial available)

5. Take Advantage of IFTTT’s SMS Applets


IFTTT has the ability to supercharge SMS by letting you pair it up with any other platform. The service offers a wide range of applets, through which you can link your favorite apps with SMS. The majority of these add-ons are built for notifying you whenever a new event occurs.

For instance, if you own a Google Wi-Fi, you can opt-in to get a notification as soon as a user connects to your network. While browsing the catalog, you will also find several fun recipes to try. One of them lets you play music on your phone by simply texting yourself “#playmusic”.

IFTTT is one of the most powerful services available on the web. But it can be overwhelming the first time you log in. For people unfamiliar with it, we have an in-depth guide on how to use IFTTT like a pro.

Download: IFTTT for Android | iOS (Free)

6. Stay Connected With Twitter and Facebook

Enable SMS notifications on Twitter

If you’re in an area with a weak connection but still want to stay on top of your social profiles, you can do so with SMS. Both Facebook and Twitter are compatible with SMS and can keep you updated through texts.

Both services let you get notifications over SMS. Twitter even allows tweeting via a text message, though Facebook does not have any like this. All you need to do is ping your country’s shortcode to use these services.

Before you do so, though, you need to add your phone number to your account (if you haven’t done that already). Once that’s done, head over to the Facebook Texts help page or Twitter’s SMS help page for info.

7. Enable Two-Factor Authentication

SMS can also help you secure your online accounts through two-factor authentication. The feature adds an additional layer of security and requires you to enter a one-time code sent via SMS along with your password to log in.

It doesn’t cost you anything and is free to activate. Two-step verification is available for most platforms such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, and many more. Note that every two-factor authentication method has drawbacks, so SMS might not be your best choice.

View and Respond to SMS Texts on Your Computer

These services open several new doors for SMS and make the aging messaging standard an essential aspect of your digital life again. internet-based services still have their own downsides and with the aforementioned tips, you can effortlessly fill those gaps with SMS.

If you’ve begun to use SMS more often now, you’ve probably felt the need for a desktop client. Here are the best ways to view and respond to SMS texts on your computer.

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