You remember you need to text your friend something, and you remember it right in the middle of the work day. Sending the message now potentially means starting a whole conversation, and not sending it now means forgetting it altogether. Or you send it anyway and wait in angst for them to reply….when they eventually have free time. You could use reminders and calendars, but that could mean getting reminded while doing yet another thing, like driving somewhere.
We constantly have these problems. iPhone users traditionally have had no options since most ‘text scheduler’ apps aren’t available in the US app store. And while there are send-later apps for Android, they don’t work if you’re in airplane mode. Plus, I wanted to schedule texts from my computer instead of pecking on a tiny keyboard.
If you use Gmail and Google Voice, you’re in luck, all you need to do is setup Boomerang, an extra service for gmail that schedules emails to be sent or read later, but with some more setup it can also be applied to scheduling texts.
Setup a Boomerang account. (This is a referral link to get you 10 messages/month for free).
Setup Google Voice to email your text messages, by going into the settings and the Voicemail & Text tab. If you’re about to yell “no, my inbox is going to be stuffed with texts!” relax, we’ll fix that in the next step.
Go into Gmail‘s settings and setup a filter by:
a. Going into settings>filters>create a new filter
b. Setup a search for text emails from Google Voice (*@txt.voice.google.com), click continue.
c. Set it up to be filtered, archived away, and marked as read. This is so messages don’t clutter up your inbox, but the log of old texts will be there for when ya need em.
If you’ve never done step 2 before, the messages in the filter are going to be empty. You’ll start to see them for people you’ve received texts from going forward - this is done just to prevent folks from spamming anyone’s number at will. But to test it out now, do the following:
a. Send a text using the Google Voice website or app.
b. After getting a reply, go back to the text in Gmail, or in the Boomerang mobile app. Since it’s not cluttering your inbox, a quick way to do this is to search for their name and “SMS” afterwards, since these messages all have that in the title. Alternatively, you could use your texts field and search “label:texts YOUR_FRIENDS_NAME”
c. Open the message and reply using Boomerang’s Send later feature.
d. You're done, now get back to work, you can even switch to airplane mode. If you're OCD and want to check later that the message was actually sent, you can always double check within the google voice app or website by going into the Texts section.
But wait, you might ask “Hey, what if my friend suddenly texts me, I don’t want to send that text I scheduled!” - there’s a few options:
1. Check the 'only send if no reply' option. ![Silvrback blog image](boomerang_send_later_gmail_except_if_reply_large.png) ![Silvrback blog image](boomerang%20send%20no%20response%20mobile_medium.png) 2. If you forgot to do #1, you can always go to the Boomerang website and cancel the text there.
Yes, this is a convoluted way to send a text later, but I’m happy with it.
It means you can schedule all your friends to wake up at the same time as your alarm for a trip.
It means your ride from the airport gets a message to check your flight status and start driving to pick you up, while you’re still in “airplane mode”.
It means you can be a more effective helicopter parent and text your kids something right when they get out of class.
It means Silicon Valley startup founders get a little virtual text operator to feel more “on offense and never defense.” :P
There’s a ton of possibilities with a little time delay.
You can also do this using RightInbox, but decided Boomerang was better since it had better mobile support and is priced about the same.
Similarly, I do this for Facebook messages for the occasional friend I don’t want to text and don’t know their email address. Just use the name in their Facebook profile url, and add @facebook.com to it.