I'm going to make a confession here: I don't like typing on a mobile device. Not one bit. I haven't spent the requisite time gaining a millennial-like agility with my thumbs and fingers, so typing on that small device (no matter how well the keyboard is laid out) is an exercise in inefficiency for me. Considering how jam-packed my days are, typing on a mobile device brings my flow to a stop.
And so any chance I can get to make that process a bit more efficient is one I'm certainly going to take. When I first read about Textto, I was doubtful. I've tried similar apps and services only to find they are either too unreliable or contain too many bells and whistles to make them usable as a daily driver for the simple task of texting. Textto is different. It does one thing and does it really, really well. On top of that, it's incredibly easy to use.
The feature list includes:
- Works with any texting app (only supports native text messages, so no Whatsapp support)
- SMS messaging
- MMS messaging
- Sending photos from your computer
- Group conversations
- Simple sign in
I know, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. However, in the case of Textto, it's exactly that—the best solution for texting from the desktop I have ever used. Still doubtful? Let me walk you through the installation and usage of Textto, so you can decide on your own.
The first thing you must do is head over to the Textto website and click the login button. You will be prompted to sign in with Google, as it's the only option. Make sure you've already signed into your Google account on that browser. Click the Sign in with Google button (Figure A) and then select which Google account to use.
Once you've connected Textto to the correct account, head over to your Android device (as Textto is only available for Android, sorry iOS users) and follow these steps:
- Open up the Google Play Store.
- Search for Textto.
- Locate and tap the entry by Modulo Apps LLC.
- Tap Install.
- Allow the installation to complete.
You should now see a launcher for Textto on your home screen or your App Drawer. Tap the launcher to open the app. When Textto first opens, swipe through the welcome screens and then tap the ALLOW ACCESS (Figure B), in order to give the app the necessary permissions to function properly (SMS, Contacts, Phone).
At this point, you will be prompted to login with your Google account. Make sure you sign in with the same account used on the web browser instance. Once you've done that, you'll be prompted to enable notification access on your device. Tap ENABLE, and then when the new window opens (Figure C), tap to give Textto access to the notification system.
That's it. You're ready to use Textto.
Head back to your web browser and the Textto site. All of your contacts should now be available. You can select one from the left navigation and start texting (Figure D).
If you find your contacts and associated conversations have yet to reach the web interface, go back to the mobile app and tap Sync Now (Figure E).
Message sync should happen automatically. The developer has done a bang up job of making sure this app is seamless and requires very little work on the part of the user. You can now select a contact and start texting directly from your desktop keyboard.
One thing you might have noticed is that Textto doesn't demand it become your default SMS app. For many users, that's often a deal breaker. Fortunately, the developers saw to it to not require that change of default.
A possible caveat
As of now, there is no record of how Textto is running the sync service. This could be considered a security risk (especially for those that might need to transmit sensitive data). If you do a lot of texting for work, you might want to either avoid using such an app, or use it in conjunction with a third-party encryption tool. Encrypt your message, copy and paste it into Textto, and send it. So long as the recipient has the encryption password, they could decrypt the message outside of Textto without worrying someone might intercept the message. Of course, if you're seriously concerned about security and texting, you're probably already using an encrypted texting app (such as Wire).
Give Textto a go and see if it doesn't become your go-to tool for texting while at your desk.
- Two features that make Wire Private Message a must have for business users (TechRepublic)
- How to send an SMS text message with Amazon Alexa (TechRepublic)
- How to change the way emails are deleted in Android's Gmail app (TechRepublic)
- How to set up cloud synchronization on Android using MobiDB (TechRepublic)
- How to migrate SMS messages from an iOS device to Android using iSMS2Droid (TechRepublic)
- Common shortcodes gain traction, as texting best engages customers (ZDNet)
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.