Windows 10 Tip: Read, Reply To, and Send Text Notifications Via Your Android Handset

Posted on July 8, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 28 Comments

Windows 10 Tip: Read, Reply To, and Send Text Notifications Via Your Android Handset

If you’re using an Android smartphone, you can sync notifications between that device and your Windows 10 PC. This is particularly useful for text messaging.

Note: I’ll be adding this tip to my e-book, the Windows 10 Field Guide, soon. –Paul

For this to work, you will need Windows 10 version 1703 or newer, and you will need to have signed into Cortana with your Microsoft account. You will also need to install the Cortana mobile app on your smartphone, and have signed in there with the same Microsoft account. Then, you will need to do a bit of configuration in each location.

On Android, open Cortana and select the little account “weeble” (as I think of it) in the upper-right corner. Then, select Settings > Sync notifications. Here, you can select which notification types to sync.

To see (and respond to) incoming text messages, you will need to enable the option “Incoming message notifications.” You will then need to grant Cortana access to your SMS messages and contacts before you can do so.

On your PC, open Cortana and select the Settings gear. Then, scroll down to the option “Send notifications and information between devices” and enable it if it is not already enabled.

Next, select the “Edit sync settings” button and ensure that the option “Get notifications from this PC on my phone” is enabled.

Now you can do the following.

Send a new text message from your PC. Open Cortana and type “text message” or similar, and you will be presented with Cortana’s new text message UI. From this panel, you can specify one or more contacts and a message, and Cortana will send it as if it came from your smartphone.

Read an incoming text message. When you receive a text message on your phone, Cortana will display a notification on your screen so that you can read the message.

Reply to an incoming text message. As you can see from the screenshot above, the text message notification includes a Reply field. Type your reply there and then select the Send (paper airplane) button. Or, you can just select Dismiss or ignore the notification.

In my experience, text messages sent through Cortana on the PC are delayed by several seconds in each direction. But this is still a huge convenience. And if you find it easier to type on your PC than on your phone, as I do, this may just be the killer Cortana feature that puts Microsoft’s personal digital assistant over the top.

The text messages as they appear on the other phone.

As you can see, Cortana can sync many other notifications back and forth between your PC and phone. I will examine some other interesting uses of this functionality soon.


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