Send Free SMS with iPhone and iPod Touch

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 16, 2008
Updated • Dec 1, 2012
Mobile Computing

Phone Providers are making lots of cash from SMS, the Short Messaging Service. It's interesting in my opinion that they charge that much for such a small data transfer. A new trend that they probably do not like that much is the addition of new technologies that create free or low cost connections on the Internet because those connections can be used to send text messages for free.

It's just a matter of finding the right service that is compatible to the mobile phone. In the case of the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch the My Digital Life website posted a nice trick. Users can grab the AIM client for their clients and install it on the device. Then it's merely a question of adding phone numbers as clients in iChat or any other instant messaging client on the phone. To be precise the account name will be the complete phone number of the contact including country and area codes. A valid phone number would be +123456789 for example. The + sign has to stand at the beginning.

Now start the AIM client software and send the new contact a message. He will receive it as an SMS. His reply on the other hand will land directly in the AIM client software.

The benefit of this method is obviously that it is completely free if the Internet connection is free. Do you know other ways to send free SMS with the iPhone, iPod Touch or other mobile devices?

Update: Applications like What's App recently have put the pressure back on. They allow you to message people who are also running the app without having to pay each time you write a message. While you need an Internet connection instead, it is certainly a lot cheaper than sending SMS.


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  1. april said on December 29, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    hey!! i have a question!

    how do u get sms and mms on a ipod touch any answers hit me up!!

  2. sellabuf said on December 27, 2009 at 9:00 am

    but you can keep AIM open while doing something else by minimizing it.
    install backgrounder via Cydia
    and you’re able to minimize apps

  3. marlon said on July 17, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    does anyone know of a way to send and receive free texts internationally? in particular i am going to Thailand and really soon!!

  4. antek said on January 18, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    i have a question!
    i try to send a sms to a friend but it says you cant send it because the number is unable to receive offline messages..and i dont know what to do!
    so please help me :P
    by the way i am from germany and have to dial +49
    but it isnt working anyway.. :S

  5. Frank said on November 5, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    I use to text for free + any texts get notified to my iPhones email client

  6. rudy said on September 13, 2008 at 2:57 am

    Nice article
    Question, can you still use the free sms over the edge/3g network?

  7. Max said on July 16, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    One negative aspect of this is that you have to keep AIM open and stay online in order to receive replies or new text messages. But sometime in September Apple will roll out that notification service so this won’t be a problem anymore.

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