Sync Text Messages To Your Mailbox

File this under “I didn’t know it could do that”

Using your smartphone to connect to your work email is a pretty standard thing nowadays.

They just about all support ActiveSync so your iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry will all do email, calendars and contacts to an Exchange server without much fuss.

However, the bit makes all this work, i.e ActiveSync, has some features that aren’t implemented on all devices. Some features will also be reliant on the version of Exchange server the mailbox is on.

One of those is the ability to have your phone sync your text messages with your mailbox.

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I spotted the option for this a little while back and initially didn’t see the point of it but I thought I’d turn it on and see how it worked out.

I’ve been using it for a few months now and there are two main things I’ve found useful

Sending text messages directly from Outlook

When a text message comes into your phone it’s copied to your mailbox.

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This means that if your phone is your pocket/bag or on silent you can read it on your PC without having to get the phone out. More importantly you can reply from Outlook too. Hit reply, type your message and when you press send the message is sync’d back to your phone where it sends the messages on your behalf.

Yes that’s the “magic”. Your phone is still sending the message.

You even get little smiley icons to use and it’ll tell you how many text messages will be needed.

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It’s something I found useful as I can type much quicker on my keyboard than on my touch screen!

I also find it less disruptive when I’m at work to not have to go to my mobile to view and reply to any messages.

Having a deaf wife does mean I send a lot of text messages so this is one of the things I’ve particularly found useful.

Backing up your messages

Depends on how much importance you place on your SMS I guess but because a copy is added to your mailbox if your phone dies, falls in a toilet or is crushed/smashed/whatever then your text messages are easily retrievable.

You can file them exactly the same way as you would any other email.

I’ve got an Outlook quick step I use to drop any want to keep into a “text messages” folder once I’ve read them.

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As mentioned above not all clients support all features so most notably this doesn’t work on iPhone.

Also as already mentioned it’s reliant on Exchange server so if you’re using Google Apps/Gmail, POP or IMAP for email this specific method isn’t applicable.

There a good list of features and what is and isn’t supported on this Wikipedia article.

Can you think of any other uses for this?

it’s also probably worth knowing about for the inevitable support call where someone has setup their own phone and want to know when their text messages have turned into emails. 

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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