Who leaves voicemail messages anymore? In the modern era, text messages are the primary mode of communication. However, if you’re like me, sometimes you just know you’re going to forget to send a text message when you need to.
“Text me when you get home safe!”
“I might want some pizza. Text me before you order?”
Yeah right. What do I look like, the Rainman? No way I’m going to remember to do that.
Fortunately, technology has stepped in to make sure that forgetful people like me don’t have to think too hard about remembering to interact with the important people in their lives. Here are two methods that take responsibility for the “send” button and let you set up automatic SMS messages while you’re thinking about them.
Method 1: Schedule Messages with Textra
In my opinion, Textra is the ultimate SMS app for Android. In addition to a slew of gorgeous interfaces, Textra offers per-contact customizations and seamless integration with Google Wear. It also pulls from a database of animated gifs, so the appropriate reaction face is right at your fingertips when you need it. Most importantly, Textra lets you schedule text messages ahead of time, a feature that doesn’t exist on most standard Android SMS apps.
Textra can be found in the Google Play store. The free version recently began displaying ads, which appear at the top of your messages list. If these irritate you, the ad-free version of Textra is only $1.99.
Download Textra here:
Once Textra is installed, you’ll need to silence your old SMS client. Otherwise, you’ll get two notification for every text message you receive, and that can get old very quickly.
To do this, go to Settings and then Sound & Notification. From there, tap “App notifications.”
Find your stock messaging app, and select it. (The app may also have a name that begins “SMS-” or “Text-”)
Turn Block on to prevent notifications from showing up.
To schedule a text message, access Textra and tap the relevant conversation.
Compose your message as you would normally. However, do not tap send. Instead, tap the “+” icon to the left. This will bring up a list of options including emoji, pictures, and other attachments.
Select the clock icon.
Choose the date and time you want the message to send, then click the send arrow icon.
You’re set! The message will send at the time you specify without any further attention from you.
Be aware that scheduled messages are unusual creatures. If you want to delete a scheduled message, you will need to hunt back through your conversation and find it at the time you drafted it. Once it sends, that draft message will vanish and reappear as a new message.
This can lead to some counterintuitive considerations. If you regularly delete old text messages, for example, and you delete the draft before its scheduled send date, then the text message will not send. Furthermore, if you uninstall Textra and begin using a new SMS app, any scheduled messages will disappear.
Finally, Textra does not notify you when it sends scheduled messages. If you scheduled a text for something you knew you were going to forget, you’re probably also going to forget that you scheduled a text message for it. Don’t be an idiot like me.
Method 2: Setup Context-Sensitive Messages with IFTTT
Say you need to send a text message that isn’t dependent on time but rather some other variable. What’s your best recourse then?
“IF This Then That” or IFTTT is a free and extremely useful service for automating many of your Android device’s functions. It’s very simple and intuitive: when something specific happens (and you choose what), then IFTTT makes something else happen (which you choose as well). The possibilities with this are endless.
For example, you may set up:
IF I leave work THEN send a text message, “I’m on my way home.”
Download the IF app in the Google Play store and create an account.
IFTTT uses “Channels” to automate services. This means that you will need to give IFTTT permission to use each of these channels before setting up a new triggered event. The app will prompt you whenever it needs new permissions.
Choose a Triggering Event
There are many ways you could set up automated text messages with IFTTT, and I encourage you to experiment with it. For the purposes of this How-to, let’s set up a simple trigger based on location.
Touch the mortar and pestle icon to access recipes, then tap the “+” icon to add a new one.
Touch the “+” again to craft one from scratch. Then there’s yet another “+” to touch. Hang in there.
Pick a trigger. Let’s go with Android Location and select when you exit an area.
If the app asks for permissions, allow it, then zoom in on an area. Tap “Next” when you’ve got it.
Tap the “+” button again, and pick an effect.
Let’s choose Android SMS.
Now enter the phone number and message you want to send and hit continue.
Bingo! Now whenever you leave that location, IFTTT will send a text automatically. IFTTT doesn’t stop with locations, however. There are many other potential circumstances you could set up to automate your text messages.
IFTTT runs whether you’re thinking about it or not, so it’s always good to keep an eye on all the things it’s doing in your name. If you’re using this tutorial recipe, for instance, it will trigger whenever you leave the set location, even if you’re just stepping out for lunch.
Setting up automatic text messages can really add an element of efficiency to managing your interpersonal relationships. Just be careful when you’re using these methods, texting automatically is a lot like talking automatically, and both have the potential to get you into trouble!
These are our recommendations. What is your favorite way to automate SMS messages on your Android?