There may be instances when you’d like to send a text message, but the timing isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s too early, a bit late in the evening, or it would make more sense to send something a few days from now. But waiting to send a text means you risk forgetting about it completely. So how do you write a text and send it later?
Well, you can schedule a text message or use a work-around.
The method available will vary depending on your mobile device, but we lay out a few ways to get the job done (or get close to it) on Android and iOS. And if you’re interested in sending scheduled messages to your customers, we include a section that explains the most efficient way to do so (and it doesn’t depend on your mobile phone).
How to schedule a text message on iPhone
While there's no feature to schedule a text message directly from iMessage, there are a few ways to work around the limitation.
Option 1: Use a Shortcuts automation
The Shortcuts app allows you to create various useful automations, including sending scheduled text messages. This option requires some maneuvering, but it’s free and comes preinstalled if you have iOS 13 or later. If you have an earlier version of iOS, first download the free Shortcuts app from the App Store, then move on to step 1.
This method will set up a recurring message. Later, we’ll cover how to remove the automation when you no longer want to send recurring messages.
Step 1. Open the Shortcuts app. Pull down on the home screen and enter “Shortcuts” in the search bar if the app isn’t accessible.
Step 2. Tap the Automations tab at the bottom of the screen. Tap Create Personal Automation if this is your first time creating an automation.
If you’ve created automations before, you’ll see your existing automations here and will need to tap the + sign in the upper-right corner. Then, tap Create Personal Automation.
Step 3. Create your automation. Select the Time of Day automation for a scheduled message. Then, set the time when you want to send your message.
Next, in the Repeat section, select Daily, Weekly, or Monthly, depending on the desired frequency. Then, select when you want to send the message (such as weekly on Mondays). For a one-time message, select Month, choose the date, then follow step 6 to remove the automation before it recurs. Finally, tap Next.
Step 4. Compose your message. Tap Add Action once you’ve created your automation, then select Send Message. Type your text in the Message field and choose the recipient. Then, tap Next.
Step 5. Review and finalize the automation. Double-check the date, time, recipient, and message to ensure everything is correct. Then, take a look at the Ask Before Running option. This is the default, but you can tap the toggle to disable it if you want the automation to run automatically without asking for confirmation. Finally, tap Done to finalize the automation.
Step 6. Set a reminder to delete the automation. Set yourself a reminder to delete the automation when you no longer need it if you want to send a one-time message or only need a recurring message for a few months since this type of automation will set a recurring message.
When the time comes, go back to the Shortcuts app, navigate to the message automation, slide your finger to the left, and tap Delete. This will remove the automation.
Option 2: Use a third-party app
The App Store has plenty of third-party applications—like Scheduled or Text Delay—that you can use to schedule a text message. Some apps are free, and others will require a fee to access advanced features. And a few options don’t actually send the text message you’ve scheduled—instead, you’ll get a notification to send the message yourself at the scheduled time.
Option 3: Use the iPhone Reminders app
If you’d rather not download anything new, you may want to consider using your iPhone’s preinstalled Reminders app as a work-around. The Reminders app won’t send your text message at a desired time, but it'll give you the option of writing out your message in advance. Then, you can set up a notification to send the message yourself.
Step 1. Open the Reminders app. Pull down on the home screen and enter “Reminders” in the search bar if the app isn’t accessible.
Step 2. Add a list. Tap on Add List in the bottom-right corner. (Or if you want to add the reminder to an existing list, tap on +New Reminder in the bottom-left corner, title the reminder, and go to Step 5.)
Step 3. Enter your details. Title your list (such as "text messages") and choose a color.
Step 4. Add a reminder. Tap on + New Reminder in the bottom-left corner and title your reminder (such as "text Zach").
Step 5. Choose a time and date to send and write out your text. Tap the details icon to the right of the label (the “i” enclosed in a circle) to include a date and time to get your notification. If you’d like to write out your text so that you don’t have to do it later, enter it in the Notes section. Tap Done. Or if you just want a general reminder to send a text, tap on the calendar icon that appears right above the keyboard (it has a clock icon on it) and choose to send the reminder to yourself today, tomorrow, or over the weekend.
Step 6. Copy and paste the text into iMessage when you get your reminder. Open your reminder when it pops up at the scheduled time.
- Open the reminder details.
- Double tap the note—a highlight will appear.
- Drag the highlight to select the entire message.
- Tap Share.
- Choose your recipient from the pop-up options and paste the selected text into the blank field—or tap on the messages icon, add your recipient, and paste the selected text into the blank field
How to schedule a text message on Android
Android users have a few options to send a scheduled text message. Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel device owners have the fewest steps, while everyone else will need to use a work-around method or download a third-party app.
Option 1: Use the Samsung Galaxy Messages app
If you have a Samsung Galaxy phone, you can schedule a text message using the default Messages app.
Step 1. Open Messages. Swipe up on the home screen and enter “Messages” in the search bar if the app isn’t accessible.
Step 2. Compose your message. Tap Compose in the lower-right corner, then select your recipient and write your text.
Step 3. Schedule the message. Tap + or the arrow on the left side.
Step 4. Set a time and date. Tap the schedule message icon and enter a date and time up to a year from today’s date.
Option 2: Use the Messages by Google app
Messages by Google is the default texting app on some Android devices, like the Google Pixel and certain Samsung phones, and it has native text message scheduling. If not preinstalled on your device, you can download Messages by Google for free from Google Play and set it as your default texting app. Then, move on to step 1.
Step 1. Open the Messages by Google app. Swipe up on the home screen and enter “Messages” in the search bar if the app isn’t accessible.
Step 2. Compose the message. Select an existing text conversation or tap Start chat to begin a new one, then select the recipient and type your message.
Step 3. Schedule the message. Tap and hold the Send arrow until the Schedule send menu appears. Choose from the suggested send times or select Pick date and time to manually select when you want to send your message. If you’re doing it manually, use the calendar to select the date, then tap Next. Use the clock to select the time, then tap Next.
Step 4. Finalize the send. Confirm that the date and time in the preview window are correct, then tap Save. Finally, tap Send to schedule your message.
Option 3: Use your Google Calendar app
This option is a work-around to schedule a text message that serves more as a reminder with the option to write the text ahead of time. The steps below are for Google Calendar since it’s the default calendar app on every Android phone, but you can do something similar with another calendar app if you’d prefer.
Step 1. Open the Calendar app. Swipe up on the home screen and enter “Calendar” in the search bar to access the app.
Step 2. Create a new event. Tap + (Create), then tap Event.
Step 3. Choose a date and time to send and write out your text. Swipe up to edit the event details. Add a title (such as "text mom"), include the date and time you’d like to send the text, and enter your text message in the Notes section. Then, set the time for a notification reminder. You may want to set the notification to a minute before the event so that it’s as close as possible to the time you want to send it.
Step 4. Receive your reminder, then copy and paste the text to your recipient. Open the event when you get your reminder notification.
- Open the event notes.
- Select the text and copy it.
- Open your default text message app.
- Choose your recipient and paste the selected text into the text field.
Option 4: Use a third-party app
If you’re open to downloading an app, you can use a third-party messaging app that comes with a scheduling feature. A few popular, well-reviewed apps are Pulse SMS and Textra SMS. Keep in mind that some apps display advertisements, and others will require a fee to access advanced features.
When to schedule a text message to customers
Using texting software to send scheduled messages is a time-saver and can be helpful in the following scenarios:
- Marketing campaigns: Preplanning is a must when it comes to marketing campaigns. Schedule timely messages to let customers know about upcoming sales or special events.
- Deadline alerts: Sometimes customers need a little nudge. Get their attention for registration deadlines, sending signed documents, and more.
- Appointment reminders: Missed appointments waste time and hurt revenue. Instead of reminding yourself to compose a reminder text the day before, schedule it right after you’ve made the appointment.
- Billing date reminders: Some customers prefer a notification when you charge their credit card or when they need to make a payment. A text message ensures they’ll see the message right away.
- Follow up with prospects: Building a relationship with prospects is an essential sales strategy. Stay in touch by scheduling a few follow-up texts throughout the sales cycle.
Schedule a text message with Twilio
Want an efficient way to schedule messages to customers? Try Twilio Message Scheduling. This feature enables you to schedule an SMS, MMS, or WhatsApp message for a fixed time in the future.
Are you looking to expand the reach of your social impact organization beyond scheduling text messages? Twilio.org can help you expand its reach and scale its mission. With Twilio, you can build your first application and start engaging your audience at no cost with product credits from the Impact Access Program. Learn more about eligibility and how to start your benefits today.