Text messages on Windows PCs


Hi Paul,

I was just reading your article “The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants” and had originally drafted this as a comment, but it was kind of too off-topic and too ranty. In any event, I hope you see this, as I’m in the throes of helping my partner upgrade away from her 2013 Macbook Pro. I would love to get her back on the MS side of the world, and she is really intrigued by the HP Spectre X360 (ash and copper – she loves the look). I’d also like her to take a look at a Surface Laptop, which here in Canada are only $50 adrift of the similarly equipped HPs – both are in the $1600 range with an 8/256 configuration, and are still less than the heart-stopping price of $1800 for the Macbook Pro 13″.

The only thing stopping her? iMessage. She’s on the laptop all day, working and not. She runs her own company. iMessage has become incredibly important to her workflow. And if she has no comparable program (I believe her when she says she isn’t married to Apple), she can’t make the switch. It’s inefficient for her to switch back and forth between a phone and a computer, and I can see that.

Is there anything even close on the horizon? Yeah, I’ve got cortana set up on my phone and laptop – and it’s flakey. There was a time under the Windows 8.x days (8.0 I think!) where I had this working perfectly with my Lumia. Now… it’s all gone. I have the Samsung thing, but that just virtualizes the whole phone. As an app, I have to hand it to iMessage – it’s simple, familiar, and gets the job done.

The heart wants what the heart wants. But for a technology company that is so concerned about productivity, MS needs to remember that they have to not just support phones because that’s where people are for some apps – they need to support ALL platforms with ALL apps so that if I’m using my computer, I don’t have to take my hands off the keyboard. Honestly, the more she talks about how she relies on it, the more I hate it every time I get a ping on my phone while I’m at the computer…

Comments (11)

11 responses to “Text messages on Windows PCs”


    If she is an iPhone, just get her a new MacBook Pro. Switching back to Windows would be needless trauma. But wait a couple months... Apple will likely update the MacBook pro to 8th generation Core Processors, with twice as many physical cores. Or if performance isn't an issue - look for the $300-$400 off deal on last year's models at BestBuy.com.

  2. AnOldAmigaUser

    If she has an Office 365 Business account, then she might get by with Teams and Skype for Business. She could also try Slack.

    If she is dependent on iMessage, though, it might be that her clients and/or coworkers are using it, and that could be a hurdle that can't be easily cleared. When you are in business for yourself, it is important to be where your customers are.

  3. Jules Wombat

    Whats iMessage ?

    I get SMS messags directed to my Windows 10 PC (via Lumia 650) and can reply at the PC faster than getting to my Lumia phone. messaging seems pretty integrated and robust on Windows 10/Mobile.

  4. Chris_Kez

    I have a Nexus 5X and get messages on my Windows 10 PC using Cortana, and on my Windows 8.1 PC using Pushbullet. Both are okay, but I imagine they're inferior to the experience of using iMessage across iPhone and Mac. You could try out Pushbullet for yourself and see if it works any better than Cortana on your existing setup. If it does work better then maybe that's your path forward to a PC. Otherwise I would be hesitant to move her away from Mac. I guess you could always try it for a couple of weeks and return the PC if it doesn't work out. Over the years I've tried to introduce lots of folks to new tools, workflows, etc. and 99% of the time it doesn't stick because people don't like change. If she's happy with Mac, why rock the boat?

  5. jt5

    I too like to not have my hands leave the keyboard. I recently switched to TMobile(I don't know if they are available in Canada) and now get my messages and calls on all my devices. The only annoyance is that I cant use imessage- as it currently does not sync with digits. I miss doing it through Cortana when I had my 950- but I get calls and texts and it is pretty seemless. Just a thought- that has really helped me.

  6. kshsystems

    I couldn't agree more. the SMS relay that Cortana offers through mobile and PC is flakey at best.

  7. evox81

    It seems everyone is answering from the Windows Phone/Android arena and giving you the "duh, this is obvious" response. That or they're suggesting wildly inconvenient solutions that have nothing to do what you're asking.

    Sadly, what you're after isn't possible with an iPhone. Apple restricts applications from accessing the SMS/iMessage cache, so there are no 3rd party apps that allows sending and receiving those messages from a non-Apple PC.

  8. helix2301

    I agree I like imessage on my mac its addictive and works seamlessly

  9. Roger Ramjet

    I have only very infrequently used iMessage via my iPad, so I am not entirely sure of everything it can do. But if I understand your question correctly, I think WhatsApp can do on 1 Windows computer at a time, the things that imessage can do on MacOS/iOS devices, maybe several at a time (but since the user can only be in 1 place the advantage should not be that big a deal).

    WhatsApp can provide a desktop interface for text type messages via a QR code based link. With WhatsApp your phone will be linked to only that computer, only during that session, (although it persistently recognizes the computer after 1 time set up), but you can always move to another computer and link it to that at any time, with a very small setup penalty. All the messages are in the phone, and don't persist on the computer unless the phone is in near proximity. So, it is basically a sort of streaming text messages and any attached media to the computer from your phone.

  10. rickcosby

    You can't really swap to Whatsapp, Teams, Skype, or anything else without causing all of your clients to swap as well. Apple does not allow access to SMS messages on the iPhone so iMessage is the only way. If you can get her to move to an Android phone, then you can get a similar workflow with SMS and MightyText. I use it daily and it works like iMessage and iPhone.