This isn’t for looks, it’s how Apple indicates you’re sending an SMS text message (green) or an iMessage (blue). Back then, sending SMS messages was inconvenient—it required the painstaking task of inputting letters on a numeric keyboard. Then, smartphones came along with their onscreen keyboards, and texting quickly became a primary form of communication.

The combination meant we could more easily send pictures, videos, and other data in our text messages, making them even more useful. If you’re interested in unlimited texting, check out the latest Xfinity Mobile plans. iMessage isn’t enabled by default on an iPhone, but when you first set up the phone, you have the option to switch it on.

This is useful if you want to let your children “text” friends and family using an iPad, iPod, or old iPhone without signing up for a cellular data plan. Just keep in mind that SMS messaging is becoming an antiquated service, which may be obsolete in a few short years as cellular carriers focus on improving data connectivity.

There are already so many ways we can communicate using our phones, including messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Click here to find a mobile plan with data and messaging options that work for you.

How to Use iMessage on iPhone and iPad Without a SIM and Phone

How to Use iMessage on iPhone and iPad Without a SIM and Phone

Using iMessage in this manner comes handy to parents who want their children to send and receive messages without a phone number. As mentioned before, iMessage is Apple’s own instant messaging service like WhatsApp. You can send and receive messages between various Apple devices such as iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

You can send messages like images, videos, location, document audio, etc., through iMessage to other Apple users. But the SMS service needs a working phone number and a SIM card to function. You can use it without a phone number or a SIM card installed on your current device.

Also on Guiding Tech How to Pin Conversations in iMessage and Other Tips Read More. Step 1: Make sure an iCloud account is added on your iPhone or iPad.

Pro Tip: If no Apple ID is added to your device, you will be asked to sign in at this stage. Typically, when there is no SIM card on the device, Apple automatically shifts the profile to an email ID.

Even if you see Waiting for activation, you can send and receive messages via your Apple ID. You can send text messages, documents, videos, links, photos, etc., to other Apple users. Now you can use iMessage on any of your iPad or iPhone with the same Apple account without worrying about having a SIM card.

Thirdly, make sure your Apple ID shows up under Settings > (Your name) > Name, Phone numbers, Email > Contactable at. Also on Guiding Tech 8 Best Ways to Fix iMessage Is Signed Out Error on iPhone Read More.

Will the iPhone Work With Wi-Fi Alone?

Will the iPhone Work With Wi-Fi Alone?

The cell radio connects to your mobile provider's network and offers voice, text and data transmissions. Using one of several downloadable apps, however, you can make calls over Wi-Fi -- though many such services charge per use or per month.

If you need to send regular texts, download a texting app, such as TextFree, TextPlus or Google Voice -- these apps can text non-Apple phones and work over Wi-Fi.

Use your Apple Watch without your iPhone nearby

Not all features are available on all Apple Watch models. For GPS accuracy, you can also calibrate your Apple Watch.

Apple Watch Series 2 and later and Apple Watch SE have built-in GPS that allows you to get more accurate distance and speed information during an outdoor workout without your paired iPhone.

5 ways to text from your laptop

5 ways to text from your laptop

Texting from a laptop has its perks: it's (usually) free, typing is easier and faster, and best of all, you can look busy when you're not. If you know your friend's phone number and cellphone provider, you can easily deliver a text through email. Text by email: Combine your friend's phone number with the domain of their wireless carrier. Combine your recipient's 10 digit phone number with one of these popular domains:. Just put your text message into the body of the email, press send, and voila! Depending on what your wireless service provider is, you may be able to text other subscribers from your own carrier's website.

As long as Messages on your Mac is set up to receive texts from both your Apple ID and phone number, you should be able to text to both iPhones and other kinds of phones via the app. If you search the web, you'll find a ton of free unlimited SMS websites that will allow you to text internationally.

Unlike some of the ways listed above, you can send and receive text messages with Google Voice without knowing the recipient's carrier. However, Google Voice only allows you to send and receive text messages to phone numbers in the U.S. and Canada.

Related Video: Boston Dynamics tried to prevent ‘SpotMini’ from escaping, but the robot outsmarted them.

How to Make Calls and Texts From Your Smartphone Without Cell

How to Make Calls and Texts From Your Smartphone Without Cell

Smartphones have become an integral part of our lives, and carriers know it—so they charge a lot of money for something they know you’re going to pay. It’s true—it definitely comes with some caveats, but if you’re looking to ditch your cellphone bill altogether (or you never had one to begin with), you can still make calls and texts on your smartphone.

(Note: If you’re just struggling with poor reception in your house or office, this solution may be overkill—first, give Wi-Fi calling a try on your iPhone or Android device, if your carrier supports it. Between that and services like iMessage, which can send text messages over Wi-Fi, you may be pretty well covered. RELATED: How to Use Android's Wi-Fi Assistant to Safely Connect to Public Wi-Fi Networks (and Save Data). Android’s Wi-Fi Assistant feature can make this easier by automatically connecting to trusted networks, and if you have internet at home, you may also have free access to Wi-Fi hotspots around town from the same provider.

As long as you’re doing this from a phone (not a tablet or iPod touch-like device), 911 services will always work, but you have to use the stock dialer (not the apps we’re going to use in this guide). All phones are required to support 911 services—even without a SIM card—so you’ll never have to worry during an emergency.

It can make calls in the US over the internet and send and receive text messages, without you having to pay for any phone service. Click through the first prompt, then enter your city or area code to get a nearby number.

Keep in mind that Google doesn’t offer numbers for all locations, so you may have to choose something close by instead of your actual town. During the initial setup process, you’ll have to link an existing number to Google Voice (don’t worry, if you’re getting rid of cell service altogether, you can unlink it later). On Android, there are two tabs: one for messages, and one for the calls (which is only present once the Hangouts Dialer is installed). On iOS, the tabs are along the bottom, and there are four: Contacts, Favorites, Messages, and Calls.

Ultimately, these work the same way, and you really only need to worry about the Messages and Calls tabs on both platforms. On Android, choose your account, then find the Google Voice section.

On iOS, scroll down to the “Phone Number” entry and tap into this menu. Google Voice settings are synced across devices (and the web), so there are a few things you may want to tweak.

If you plan on using your new carrier-less setup as a standalone system, I wouldn’t worry about linking numbers. In the Voice app, open the Setting menu and scroll to the Voicemail section. The thing is, the combination of Hangouts and Voice is easily the most universal way to use your phone without the need for a carrier, and it’s the best option for an all-in-one solution that will handle both calls and texts. This is a great way to make calls and send messages to people you know, but the problem here is that everything is handled through your Facebook account—meaning you don’t have an actual phone number to give out in this example.

How to Use Your Existing Phone Overseas

How to Use Your Existing Phone Overseas

Being able to use Google Maps and Translate, staying in touch with friends and family at home, having easy access to booking sites like Orbitz and Expedia in the event of delays—these are only a few of the ways Internet access is invaluable while overseas. Option 1: Do nothing (or almost nothing).

These companies offer temporary data packs, but they’re also expensive. Public Wi-Fi is everywhere, and any data you use while connected to it doesn’t count as roaming. However, the more expensive the accommodation, the more likely it is that you’ll have to pay extra for Internet access.

Option 2: Temporary data passes. These have different names—Verizon’s $10 TravelPass, AT&T’s $10 International Day Pass, T-Mobile’s $5 International Pass, and Sprint’s $5 to $10 International High-Speed Data Roaming Pass—but all are the same idea.

If you can’t unlock your phone (it’s new, say), data passes might be your only way to use your phone while traveling without bankrupting yourself. And some monthly plans, such as Verizon’s Above Unlimited, include a few free data passes each billing period. As for Project Fi, it doesn’t sell passes, as you’re already getting 4G data, wherever it’s available, at the same rate you’re paying for data at home.

For most non-Fi people, a far better option to data passes is getting a local SIM card. Option 3: Get a local SIM card. When you land in a new country, just go to a local telecom store (the equivalent to Verizon or AT&T, in other words), and buy a temporary SIM.

It takes maybe half an hour out of my first day in the country, and makes traveling much easier; my phone works just as it does at home. There are also “travel SIMs” that you can buy ahead of time that claim to work everywhere in the world, but I’ve researched these extensively, and all are more expensive than buying a SIM at your destination. To find out more on how to do this, check out the Unlocking your phone section of our “Best Cell Phone Plan for Frequent International Travel” guide. I’ve seen prices in the under-$10-a-day range, which is expensive compared with other options, but for a family traveling for two weeks somewhere, the cost of getting local SIMs for everyone may rival the cost of renting a hotspot.

Option 5: Use an old phone (or get a cheap one) instead. Check with whatever cell phone company you used the phone with to make sure that the phone is unlocked.

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