Use Bluetooth for SMS

by Wei-Meng Lee

Apple seems to be popularizing Bluetooth much in the same manner as it did for USB, 802.11b, and FireWire technologies.

Although Apple has done a good job supporting Bluetooth technology, not much has been done to educate users about what it can do. Recently, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the little nifty Address Book (in Mac OS X) has built-in Bluetooth functionality that allows you to send and receive SMS (Short Message Service) messages through your Bluetooth-enabled phone, all via your computer!

If you've ever hammered out an SMS note using the buttons on your tiny cell phone, then you know it would be much easier to use your full-sized computer keyboard instead. In this article, I will show you how to use Mac OS X to easily send SMS messages.

You will need a Bluetooth adapter (such as the D-Link USB Bluetooth Adapter) for your Mac, and a Bluetooth-enabled phone (such as the Ericsson T68i).

Pairing Up Your Phone with Address Book

With your Address Book powered up, the first thing to do is to pair it up with your Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone. To do so, you need to turn on the Bluetooth radio on your phone, and then click on the Bluetooth icon on the Address Book:

Bluetooth Icon
Figure 1. The Bluetooth icon connects to your Bluetooth-enabled phone.

If the pairing is successful, you should see the icon in blue, (else it will appear grayed-out).

Sending SMS Messages

With the pairing done, you are now ready to send a SMS! To send someone in Address Book a SMS message, select the name and click on the phone number of the user. Three options will be displayed:

Sending an SMS message using Address Book
Figure 2. Sending an SMS message using Address Book.

You can display the number in huge fonts, send the person a SMS message, or make a call to the person. If you select SMS Message, you can key in the message (maximum of 160 characters) and simply click Send. Tired fingers are now a thing of the past!

SMS Messaging using your Mac
Figure 3. Sending SMS messages using your Mac.

Receiving SMS messages

Besides sending SMS messages, your Address Book will also inform you of incoming SMS messages:

Receiving an incoming SMS message on your Mac
Figure 4. Receiving an incoming SMS message on your Mac.

When an incoming message is received, Address Book will prompt a window displaying the message. You can save the message to the Address Book (more on this later) or reply to the message. Address Book will automatically match the number of the caller (supplied by your mobile phone, which requires Caller ID service) with its name list, and display the person's name.

To reply to the message, simply click on the Reply button. You can now reply to a SMS message directly on the Mac.

Replying to an SMS message
Figure 5. Replying to a SMS message.

Handling Incoming Calls

When your phone rings, Address Book will notify you and provide three options--reply to the caller via SMS, activate Voice Mail on the mobile phone (the phone will then stop ringing), or simply answer the call.

Incoming call displayed on your Mac
Figure 6. Incoming call is displayed on your Mac.

If you clicked SMS Reply, you can then send a SMS message to the caller, perhaps to inform him that you will call him later.

Using SMS to reply to a call
Figure 7. Using SMS to reply to a call.

Saving Incoming Messages

When you receive an incoming message, you can save it to your Address Book for archiving. Clicking on the Save to Note button in the Incoming SMS Message window will append the message to the contact information:

SMS messages can be archived in Address Book
Figure 8. SMS messages can be archived in Address Book.

Final Thoughts

Apple has done it again. I am slowly but surely integrating my Mac into my digital lifestyle. With my Bluetooth-enabled phone and Mac, sending SMS messages will never be the same again. And to the critics of Bluetooth, Apple has provided yet another reason to show that Bluetooth is alive and kicking!

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