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Stuck at a computer? Here's how to message your friend's phone without picking up your own

There’s more than just email, you know.

Image: Edward Smith/EMPICS Entertainment

REPEATEDLY TAKING YOUR phone out to text a friend or colleague while you’re using a computer can become a bit of a pain.

Before the rise of instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and Viber, the only main way around this was by using webtext – but you only get a limited number of these, and they often don’t offer an easily accessible record of your texting history.

Now that non-SMS messaging apps are pretty much the norm, there’s a wealth of options. Facebook Messenger is most obvious (although some were put off by the idea of having to download a separate app for it). Here’s a quick overview for some of the main ones:

Telegram

Slowly but surely rising in popularity, this quick, clean, and simple messaging app works strikingly well across a number of platforms.

Visually similar to WhatsApp, Telegram boasts of superiority by way of heavily encrypted messaging, and cloud-based storage to help access messages quickly on both your phone and computer. And, it’s free.

800px-Telegram_Desktop_Screenshot Source: Wikimedia

It’s available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, as well as Linux, Mac OS, and desktop versions of Windows. You can also access it straight from your browser, which is probably the handiest option.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp allows you to log in to the service on your desktop browser by opening the app and scanning a QR code.

PastedImage-39821 Source: WhatsApp

You’ll then have access to all your conversations online, but there’s one small catch – WhatsApp will still use your phone’s WiFi or 3G connection, rather than your computer’s, to send and receive messages.

How to login in differs from phone to phone, check here for more information.

Skype

It hardly needs mentioning, but people often forget that Skype can be used just like other messaging apps as it isn’t limited to your computer and laptop. It has yet to to gain much popularity in this area.

But watch this space – Skype for Web is coming soon, allowing you to send and receive both messages and voice calls from your browser.

PastedImage-13202 Source: Skype

You can also access it directly from an Outlook account, but it isn’t a straightforward task, as these instructions reveal.

A crucial advantage Skype has over its competitors is the ability to send SMS messages (it hasn’t gone away, you know). Windows 10 phones will integrate both SMS and Skype similar to Apple’s iMessage.

Viber

Unlike WhatApps and Telegram, Viber has the added advantage of voice and video calls.

This turns it into something of a Skype-killer.

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desktop_main Source: Viber

There’s currently no option to log in from your browser, which isn’t convenient for people trying to access Viber on a work computer where you can’t download new programmes (but surely you wouldn’t be texting your friends in work, right?).

It’s available for Windows, Mac, and 64-bit Linux.

Still need to use SMS or iMessage?

Mac OS users will already be well aware of the built-in Message app, which allows you send iMessages to iPhones. This isn’t currently available on Windows (unless your phone is jailbroken, but we didn’t tell you that).

lp-img-6 Source: Mightytext

Android users have a plethora of options for sending standard SMS messages from their computer. One of these is MightyText, which while it’s not the most beautiful of messaging apps, it does the job. Simply download the MightlyText app to your phone and then log in online. You’ll still be charged for these texts as per your normal price plan. Check it out here. MySMS is also worth a look, available here.

If you’re still clinging on to your beloved dumbphone, things won’t be a walk in the park if you want to text like in the examples above. You can check out this Mashable list of options.

Do you use something different? Let us know in the comments.

Read: Your WhatsApp messages will be getting an extra layer of security >

More: There is a ‘Skype facility’ in Leinster House after all. Well, sort of… >

About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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