Now that iOS 8.1 is out, with iOS 8.1 running on your iPhone, you can set up SMS Relay. This is one of the features of Continuity, which further integrates and connects your Mac and iOS devices, running Yosemite and iOS 8.1. Continuity also includes Handoff, iPhone Cellular Calls, Instant Hotspot, and AirDrop.
With iMessage, when you are messaging people using Apple devices they appear in blue bubbles. Those messages sync onto all of your Apple devices so that way you can text someone from your Mac, iPad or iPod Touch. Previously, the people you texted in green bubbles were not using iMessage because they were not on Apple devices. Those conversations were not syncing over to your Mac, iPad or iPod Touch, which forced you to respond back to them only on your iPhone. Now with SMS Relay, your non-Apple using friends’ messages will sync to your Mac, iPad or iPod Touch while all connected to the same Wi-Fi Network, so you can respond from whichever device you prefer.
Before even setting up SMS Relay, you do need to be logged into the same iCloud account on all of your devices for Messages. If the whole family is using the same iCloud account it is a good idea to change the iCloud account to avoid confusion. On your iOS device you are going to open up Settings and tap on Messages. Then tap on Send & Receive to make sure you are signed in with your Apple ID. On your Mac you are going to open up Messages, press on the word Messages in the upper left hand corner and select Preferences. Then you are going to make sure you are signed into your account.
By default, SMS Relay is turned off. To enable it, you need to use your iPhone that has iOS 8.1 installed on it. Open up Settings and then scroll down until you see Messages and tap on it.
Then you are going to tap on Text Message Forwarding. Doing so shows you a list of your devices that are activated and signed into iMessage with the same iCloud account. You are able to decide which devices will receive text message forwarding, which allows for you to have control as to which devices will receive your SMS messages.
When you turn on text message forwarding, a pop-up displays on the device with a confirmation code. On the iPhone you need to enter the confirmation code in order to confirm that you want that device to receive your text messages, as well as confirming you own and use that device.
Now that you entered in the codes to activate SMS Relay, you will now receive SMS messages on your Mac, iPad and iPod Touch.
With SMS Relay, it can be a little bit confusing if you have friends that are cross platformed that use an iPad, iPod Touch or a Mac and do not have an iPhone. For example, my parents have Android phones and iPads so we use both SMS and iMessage. Before SMS Relay, there would be two different conversations listed indicating which device they were on. Unfortunately this is still the case when using iOS devices but on the Mac it is now one smooth conversation.
When texting on the Mac, the Messages app by default sends the message out through iMessage as opposed to SMS. You have to manually select the cell phone number to send it out as an SMS. To do so you would click on the person’s name and select their cell phone number.
That is how you set up and use SMS Relay. Let us know if you find SMS Relay to be a benefit to your workflow.