4 Ways to Send Timed Text Messages in 2024

February 23, 2024 (Updated) | By Sam Pelton

Texting is a natural part of everyday life for most.

After all, people send over 2 trillion text messages per year.

That’s unbelievable, and hard to comprehend.

Texting has its limitations, though.

One of those limitations is… how do you send timed text messages?

What if you want to send a text message, but you don’t want it to go out until a later date or time? Can you do that?

The question seems simple enough but the answer is… it’s complicated.

But never fear! Here we’ll walk you through 4 ways to send scheduled messages using an SMS platform.

First, a couple of questions about sending these messages via iPhone or Android…

Can You Send Timed Text Messages via iPhone?

Nearly 49% of smartphone users in the US have an iPhone.

It’s a highly popular product owned by a large number of people, and has many user-friendly and useful features.

Despite this, the iPhone’s messaging app unfortunately does not yet include capabilities to send a timed message for later.

That being said, there are a couple of workarounds for this.

These workarounds include sending via the Shortcuts app, setting up a reminder via the Reminders app, or using third-party apps that offer text scheduling capabilities.

Sending a scheduled text via iPhone was discussed more at length in a previous article, so here we’ll just do a quick overview of these options.

Send via Shortcuts

The Shortcuts app is a default app on iPhones.

It allows you to set up different automations on your phone, and one of those automations is to send automated pre-filled texts.

Just set up a new “automation,” designate the time you’d like your message to go out, and select “Send Message” as the action.

This works best if you want to send the same message out on a regular basis, because it sets up an automatically recurring message.

But if you only want your message to go out once, you can simply delete the automation after the message sends.

This method also primarily works best when sending on a small scale, rather than on a large scale basis (so it wouldn’t be the best option if you’re working for a business and trying to text all your customers, for example).

Set Up a Reminder

Another workaround is to set up a reminder via the Reminders app.

You can simply set up a new reminder and put the content of the text message in the “Notes” field. Then set the time that you’d like to be reminded to send the message.

The obvious downside to this is that it doesn’t actually send the text, but just gives you a reminder to send it.

Then when the reminder comes up, the text message content is pre-filled so it’s much easier to copy and paste it into a text message.

person texting on phone

Use Other Apps

You can use apps like Mobile Text Alerts to manage and send timed text messages. Taking advantage of a third-party app will be a lot easier and more intuitive than trying to do one of the workarounds mentioned about.

Can You Send Timed Text Messages via Android?


Most Android phones now allow you to schedule messages for a particular time.

And it’s super easy.

This article describes a bit more how it works. But essentially all you need to do is…

  • Hold the “Send” button before sending (if you’re a Samsung user)
  • Hit the “+” button before setting up your message (if you’re a non-Samsung user)

You’ll see an option to schedule out your text for the exact time you’d like it to go out.

Again, this works best for small-scale texts (primarily texts sent on a personal level).

If you’re wanting to send scheduled texts on a broader basis, you’ll still want to use a separate app.

Person texting on android

4 Ways an SMS Platform Can Help with Sending Timed Text Messages

For individual interactions, the above-mentioned solutions for iPhone and Android may work.

But if you’re sending texts on a broader scale (for your business, for example), you’ll want a more robust solution.

SMS platforms like Mobile Text Alerts have built-in abilities to schedule texts to dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people at once.

One-Time Scheduled Texts

You can schedule a single text to go out at a specific date or time.

Here’s an example of how:

  • Step 1: Go to the “Send Message” section of your SMS platform
Send Message page
  • Step 2: Select the recipients for your message
Screenshot of recipients for sending a message
  • Step 3: Type out the message you want to schedule
Screenshot example of sending a text message

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  • Step 4: Add any other elements you want to include in your message (such as an image attachment, a trackable link, or a "variable" that will insert each recipient’s name)
Screenshot of icons for sending a text message
  • Step 5: Click to select the date and time you’d like your message to go out
Screenshot of scheduling a message
Screenshot of scheduling text message

You’ll be able to view and make changes to the message you scheduled from a “Scheduled Messages” dashboard.

Then the message will be sent on the date/time you designated.

Recurring Scheduled Texts

In addition to sending a one-time pre-scheduled message, you can set up a message to repeat on a recurrent basis.

The process will be largely the same as what was described above for a one-time text (see the screenshots there as well), but there are a few added steps:

  • Step 1: Go to the “Send Message” section of your SMS platform
  • Step 2: Select the recipients for your message
  • Step 3: Type out the message you want to schedule
  • Step 4: Add any other elements you want to include in your message (such as an image attachment, a trackable link, or inserting each recipient’s name)
  • Step 5: Click to select the date and time you’d like your message to first go out
  • Step 6: Select how often you’d like the message to send again - options may be as follows:
    • Every day
    • Every week
    • Every 2 weeks
    • Every month
    • Once per year
  • Step 7: Designate the following…
    • If “every week” or “every 2 weeks” is selected: Select the days of the week, as well as how many times in a week
    • If “every month” is selected: Select whether you’d like the message to go out each month according to the date of the month, or according to the day of the week (for example, if the first message goes out on Monday, Dec. 5th, this option will determine whether it will repeat each month on the 5th, or each month on the first Monday)

And as with a one-time scheduled text above, you’ll be able to view your recurring timed text message from your Scheduled Messages dashboard.

Your message will then repeat according to the options that you selected.

Time on phone

Timed Drip Campaigns

A drip campaign is a series of automated messages that goes out over a designated period of time.

So with an SMS drip campaign, you can set up a workflow of messages.

You can then insert a period of time between each message - for example, 1 day, 3 days, or 10 days.

Thus the messages are timed out and recipients will receive the flow of messages according to the designated time schedule.

What does a timed drip campaign look like?

Here’s an example:

  • A message is sent immediately when your recipient is added to the campaign
  • Another message is sent after a 3-day delay
  • Another message is sent after another 7-day delay
  • Another message is sent after another 14-day delay
  • A final message is sent after another 30-day delay

A drip campaign like this gives you the freedom to set up a workflow of automated text messages, without having to designate the specific date that you’d like the messages to send.

You can also select a particular date for the drip campaign to start and/or end.

Timed Texts via API

If you’re a web developer or have access to developers, another option an SMS platform provides is to program your message sending.

You can use API to set up your pre-scheduled SMS programmatically, according to your preferences.

But how does it work?

SMS platforms will often come with an “API key.” They’ll also come with API documentation.

Developers can “plug in” this API key into the requests mentioned in the documentation using a programming environment.

Being able to program things in this way opens up a lot of flexibility, if you have the resources for it. You’ll have more control over exactly how you want your texting efforts to function.

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Being able to schedule texts is a helpful way to have more control over when your messages go out.

Being able to do this will allow you to be more intentional about when you send your texts. And if you’re texting customers, you’ll be able to send messages at the times that work for your customers.

You can get 50 free texts to try out scheduled SMS using the Mobile Text Alerts platform today.

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