SMS Connect Comes to Skype Insider Preview

Posted on September 10, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Skype, Android with 20 Comments

Microsoft is now offering its first external peek at SMS Connect for Skype, which lets you receive Android-based text messages on your PC.

“Starting today, SMS Connect will be gradually rolled out to Skype Insiders on Android phones with 8.30 builds and higher,” a Microsoft employee identified only as Karah explains in the Microsoft Answers forums. “With this new Insider build for Android you will be able to pair your Windows PC or Mac (both must be on the Skype Insiders build as well) to your phone to start receiving your SMS conversations to your desktop. No more grabbing your phone every time it buzzes with a new SMS, you’ll be able to respond directly from your desktop.”

If this functionality seems familiar, it may be because it sounds an awful lot like the text message functionality in the Your Phone app for Windows 10, which debuted last week in preview form.

Or maybe it’s because it sounds like the Messaging Everywhere/SMS Relay feature that Microsoft first promised in 2016, sort-of delivered in Skype in late 2016, and then never really came through on.

So why have both Your Phone for Windows 10 and SMS Connect in Skype? My guess is that it’s because Your Phone is only available in Windows 10, whereas Skype 8.x works in all supported Windows versions. But yes, I’m just guessing.

Anyway, assuming you meet all the prerequisites—e.g. are not using an iPhone—you can read and respond to individual and group text messaging conversations, receive photos and videos, and start new text messaging conversations from your Mac or PC.

What you can’t do is replace your Android messaging app with Skype.

“SMS Connect is a desktop only experience,” Microsoft says. “Continue to use your default messaging app on your Android phone to view your SMS conversations [there].”


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Comments (20)

20 responses to “SMS Connect Comes to Skype Insider Preview”

  1. sevenacids

    Microsoft really seems to have lost track when it comes to consumer products. Their whole portfolio starts to feel like a rag rug: The Skype experience is horribly broken and fragmented, the Office suite brings no value-add to end-users for years (I don't get why normal, non-business people still pay for these basic applications on a monthly basis that could easily be replaced with free and open source solutions given their real needs), and Windows 10? Well, I'd like to quote Paul here: It "has the makings of a train wreck". It really has, in many aspects. There are many tings that are nice about it, and then there is Candy Crush...

  2. nerdile

    Two words: Google Voice

  3. ponsaelius

    Android users might finally get the integration promised to Windowsphone users. However, this is Microsoft. This Skype feature is so late to mobile the platform it was originally supposed to work with doesn't exist.

  4. Captain_Eric

    Yea. This IS confusing. And a don't like it. As Nbplopes said, they need to get this settled and integrated.

    But I'm not holding my breath (Skype has bigger fish to fry) so three thoughts:

    1) if someone is a Skype user, with SMS Connect, they pick up SMS without another app.

    2) I'd rather see a Android SMS app than a PC SMS app. (Oddly, you can send SMS, but the receiver can't reply. Instead they have to send a regular SMS. Strange.). So, especially in international environments, if my recipient could just hit reply and the SMS found its way back to me on Skype, it would make some of my international travels easier. I'd even pay for the return SMS.

    3) Somewhat off topic, but I don't like using those data scrapper apps like WhatsApp and Facebook where they make their money collecting my data. I know many people feel otherwise. But Skype works fine for me.


  5. Maktaba

    Where is Satya Nadella? Where is Rajesh Jha? Where is Joe Belfiore?

  6. helix2301

    skype is chance at unified message platform on mac and pc this is a good play for skype

  7. panderse

    We should also not forget, that there was a time - long ago - when you could sync your text messages from Windows Mobile 6.5 to Outlook desktop and send/receive messages there. As I recall it, this was pretty solid at the time, but as with all (ALL!) other attempts at bringing your text messages to the PC it was abandoned quickly.

    Have a look here for those wanting a trip down memory lane :).

    Oh, and how about those Cortana notifications from Android Cortana to your PC, also sort of attempting to solve this. Almost forgot that one.

  8. nbplopes

    Microsoft should stop this nonsense.

    They should have a Microsoft Message and Microsoft Talk, for iOS, Android and Windows. It should come bundled by default with Windows 10.

    O smartphones it should integrate as much as it can with the host OS. Which means that in Android it can basically replace the messaging and the call app.

    Want SMS and Vouce relay to the PC? Install these apps on the phone.

    This might be impossible for MD technical skills and current internal management status quo but for sure it would clarify things for the user.

    PS: By now, everyone know that Skype is Microsoft

  9. fbman

    Do people actually still send sms text messages. I have maybe sent like 5 in like 2 years.

    I use whatapp and so does most people I know, and If I load the whatapp from windows 10 store, i can get these messages on my pc too, and if you dont want to load the app, then you can use the whatapp web client.

  10. Necron

    I’ve been using this for years with iPhone and iMessage on my mac. I can read and send sms and make phone calls. I can even start typing a message on my phone and then switch to mac and continue it there. Or answer phone call on phone and switch to mac with loud speakers (when my family wants to greet someone of our friends). Works like a charm.

    • Maktaba

      In reply to Necron:

      No wonder people buy Apple products even though they’re expensive!

      • Necron

        In reply to Maktaba:

        Expensive indeed. But they usually stay actual longer. Like my MacBook pro from 2012 which still have nice specs even today: quad core i7, 16gb ram, 512gb PCIe ssd and beautiful hidpi screen. 6 years is a long story for computers and I haven’t even changed the battery.

  11. Jhambi

    So there is Skype, "your phone" and the messaging app...clear as mud

  12. daveevad

    Fool me once...

    T-Mobile's Digits app has kind of filled this void for me. The desktop app isn't perfect but it's 1M times better than the last time Skype tried.

  13. Winner

    Good show Microsoft!

    You keep up the consistency in making the same functionality as complicated and varied as possible across various apps and services you provide. No disappointment this time!

  14. MixedFarmer75

    If it works like it should, this is what I have been waiting for. Kinda had this functionality when I was on WP8, then 10 came along and took it away.

  15. toph36

    "What you can’t do is replace your Android messaging app with Skype." I use Facebook Messenger for my SMS on Android. Microsoft should be working to be able to do that in Skype.

  16. coeus89

    I see Microsoft has it's messaging ducks in a row just about as well as Google does.