Text Message Forwarding: How to Forward SMS to Other Devices

April 2, 2024 | By Sam Pelton
Cartoon representation of a smartphone screen with a message being forwarded to another device

You know how you sometimes might have your mail or email forwarded to a different address?

Like if you’re on an extended vacation, or move to a different location, or want someone else to monitor your messages for a period of time.

Well, a similar thing can happen with text messages.

For example, let’s say you’re a parent who wants to monitor the messages your child is receiving.

Or let’s say you’re a sales rep at a company (we’ll call you Mark) who wants to be able to monitor text messages sent to the company—but who doesn’t want to give out your personal phone number. (We feel ya, Mark.)

Those types of situations illustrate how text message forwarding can be a helpful feature allowing you to read messages without being the direct recipient of those messages.

So how do you actually go about text message forwarding?

This article will walk you through different questions related to forwarding text messages and how to do it.

What Is Text Message Forwarding?

Text message forwarding refers to the ability to pass a text message intended for one device on to another device.

Text message forwarding can be either manual or automatic. It usually refers to forwarding from one mobile device to another but it can involve other devices (such as computers and tablets) or mediums (such as email) outside of text messaging.

In some ways, text message forwarding is a bit like passing a note along in class. The “note” (text message) is written by the original person and then submitted to a recipient, who then “passes it on” (forwards it) to another recipient.

Can You Forward Text Messages?

With the topic of forwarded text messages comes the question of whether text messages even can be forwarded.

The answer is, “Absolutely!”

With just a few taps, you can effortlessly share a message with a friend, a family member, or a colleague, allowing you to spread information, share jokes, or keep the conversation flowing.

Or you can set things up automatically so that it all happens behind the scenes.

Let’s get into the how

General Manual Text Message Forwarding to Another Phone

For virtually all messaging apps, there’s an easy way to forward a message.

Simply tap and hold the message bubble and some kind of forwarding option will appear.

You may have to tap a “More” option in order for the forwarding option to appear, and in some cases you can select more than one message to forward before selecting the “Send” or “Arrow” icon.

Some messaging options will show you your list of contacts and allow you to forward directly with a single tap for whichever recipients you select.

Others will take you to a new messaging window after you tap the “Arrow” icon, or after you tap the desired contact—and from there you can confirm/enter the recipient(s) for your forwarded message. You’ll also be able to view and edit the forwarded message before sending.

Automatic Text Message Forwarding on iPhone

In addition to the general manual text message forwarding option mentioned above, you may be able to set up automatic message forwarding on your iPhone:

  1. If your messages are set up on iCloud, all of your messages will be viewable across all of your connected devices, so you’ll be able to view “forwarded” messages on any tablet, Macbook, or additional phone you have connected to your iCloud account.
  2. If your messages are not set up on iCloud, you may be able go to your Settings→Messages and select “Text Message Forwarding” to configure your text messaging forwarding options from there.

There are also third party message forwarding apps you can download and try if the above options don’t work for you.

Automatic Text Message Forwarding on Android

Since Android doesn’t have a native way to automatically forward messages, you’ll need to download a third party app.

One high-rated app you can use is SMS Forwarder.

It works by:

  • Creating a filter to organize the forwarded recipients for your messages
  • Inputting the recipient(s) you’d like to receive your forwarded messages
  • Setting up conditions for which you’d like the automatic message forwarding to be triggered (optional)
Screenshot walkthrough of how to forward a message

(Image sourced from SMS Forwarder)

Another app you could look into would be Forward SMS.

Text Message Forwarding: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile

Are there carrier-specific things you should know when trying to forward text messages?

In other words, how do you forward text messages on Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or whatever other mobile carrier you use to send messages?

The simple answer is that the mobile carriers don’t offer any inherent functionality to forward text messages.

Forwarding text messages is a function of the mobile device itself and the mobile carrier doesn’t have any bearing on the information provided in this article.

Therefore, there is no special information you need to know about forwarding on these mobile carriers.

Text Message Forwarding App

As mentioned above, there are a few different mobile apps that allow you to forward your text messages.

If the other mentioned ways of forwarding text messages don’t work for you for one reason or another, you can try one of these apps and see if they will work for your situation.

(These apps primarily apply to Android as Apple doesn’t seem to have many message forwarding apps available.)

Here’s a list of a few of the available apps for message forwarding…

Text Message Forwarding to Email

All of the instructions mentioned above can be applied to email if you enter the recipient for your forwarded message as an email address rather than a phone number.

For example:

  • When manually forwarding a message, select the email address(es) which you’d like to be the target of your forwarded message as the recipient(s) for your message
  • On iPhone, if the email address in question is connected with your Apple account, you shouldn’t have a problem selecting the email address as the message forwarding recipient under your Settings→Messages→Text Message Forwarding—alternatively, you could use a third-party forwarding app
  • On Android, the third-party app SMS Forwarder allows for email addresses as the intended forwarding recipient(s)

Google Voice Text Message Forwarding

Google Voice used to support forwarding text messages to other phones.

Google Voice unfortunately no longer supports this capability.

However, you may still be able to forward text messages to your email address.

Text Message Forwarding Without a Phone

What about if you don’t want to forward text messages to a mobile device?

What if you want to forward it to a computer, or to the cloud in general, to be accessible from any device?

That is possible!

As mentioned, if your devices are connected to your iCloud account, you can access text messages across devices. Or you can set up your text messages to forward to an email address, in which case you’ll be able to access the forwarded messages from anywhere that you can access your email.

Another option is to use a forwarding app or, particularly if you’re using texting for your business or organization, an SMS platform such as Mobile Text Alerts.

With Mobile Text Alerts you receive a virtual phone number that can send and receive text messages, and all messaging is handled either via an online dashboard or via API.

And when someone sends a text message to your virtual phone number, the message is viewable in your online dashboard.

(You can also have the responses forwarded to your actual phone number if you’d like.)

Get a Free 14-Day Trial with Mobile Text Alerts

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Cartoon representation of text message showing up on an iPad

Text Message Forwarding to iPad

As mentioned above, if your Apple devices are connected to iCloud, you can receive and access any messages sent to your phone.

Which, of course, means that you can view the messages on your iPad.

You could also use a third-party app or services to set up a virtual phone number, and then set up your iPad to get notifications whenever a message is sent to that number. Then you’d be able to forward messages per the “General Manual Text Message Forwarding” section above to your virtual number, and your iPad would get notified.

Text Message Forwarding to Mac

Also as mentioned above, your Mac can receive text messages sent to your phone, if it’s connected to your iCloud account.

Thus, if you have an iPhone, all of your text messages can be “forwarded” to your Mac.

As with the iPad, another way to receive messages on your Mac would be to set up a virtual phone number and configure the virtual phone number app to ping your computer when a new text message comes in (if possible).

Why Forward Text Messages?

Before we close out the article, let’s briefly touch on why you would even need to forward text messages.

We mentioned a few examples in the introduction, but how useful is this type of feature, really?

The potential answers to that question are almost limitless, but here are a few ideas…

  • Convenience: Text message forwarding can allow individuals to streamline their communication process by consolidating messages from multiple devices onto a single platform
  • Accessibility: For individuals who own multiple devices (such as a smartphone, tablet, and computer), text message forwarding ensures that they can access their messages from any of these devices
  • Collaboration: In professional settings, text message forwarding facilitates collaboration and teamwork by allowing colleagues to share important messages and updates with each other
  • Backup and Archiving: Some individuals may use text message forwarding as a means of creating backups or archives of their messages
  • Remote Access: Text message forwarding enables individuals to access their messages remotely, even when they're away from their primary device

FAQ (Summary)

Here’s a brief summary of some of the top questions answered above.

How to Forward Text Messages?

Any phone can manually forward text messages by tapping and holding the text bubble and then selecting the forwarding option (it may take a step or two to get this option to appear).

If you use an iPhone, your text messages can be “forwarded to” (viewed on) any Apple device that’s connected to your iCloud account.

If you use an Android, you can use a text message forwarding app such as SMS Forwarder to forward your text messages

Alternatively, for either iPhone or Android, you can use a virtual number (such as one that comes with Mobile Text Alerts) and set up message forwarding via an online platform.

Can You Forward Texts Through Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile?

No, you aren’t able to forward texts through your mobile carrier provider, whether it’s Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or some other carrier.

Text message forwarding is handled via your device or via a third-party app rather than through the mobile carriers.

What Text Message Forwarding App Should I Use?

There are a limited number of text message forwarding apps available. For iPhone there are minimal options. For Android, you could try out the app SMS Forwarder.

If you’re using text forwarding for your business, you could use other apps such as ours at Mobile Text Alerts.

How Text Message Forwarding Works with Mobile Text Alerts

We’ve touched on it above, but our platform Mobile Text Alerts is an online texting platform that gives you access to a virtual phone number and user interface/API to send text messages as needed (whether on a mass scale or individually).

Whenever somebody sends a text into your platform’s virtual number, the text message is automatically “forwarded” to your account’s Inbox.

You may choose to have text messages forwarded to your phone as well. This can be useful if want to be notified immediately whenever a new text message comes in—that way, you don’t have to constantly monitor and check your Inbox.

Get Text Message Forwarding for Your Own Phone

And those are the in’s and out’s of text message forwarding!

If you’re interested in trying out an SMS platform to help with text message forwarding for your business or nonprofit, get a free trial account now to see how it would work for you.

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