iMessage & SMS - Integration?

Have a macOS desktop and one iOS device (tablet). Yes, some folks I know have Apple phones, but many do not. Most all things outside my front door wish to provide at times critical information to me via SMS. Yes I have a uber cheap $5 cell with a minutes plan I almost never use), but my question is what integration is there between iMessage and SMS. Going in both directions. For both what may be called “continuing” conversations and for brand new ones.

Apple does provide a reasonable integration, but it requires an iPhone as an active participant, so it won’t help you. Of Apple’s devices, only iPhones have the necessary cellular voice/SMS hardware connection.

It’s theoretically possible to get a Google voice number and use the iOS hangouts app to manage incoming messages. But you’ll only get them when you’re on WiFi.

If you have an iPad with a data-only cellular radio, you could deploy the google voice hack with constant connectivity.

I tried all sorts of hacks then gave in & got an iPhone SE.

There is a Google Voice iOS app - you wouldn’t need to use the Hangouts app. And Google Voice has a setting to forward messages to all of your linked numbers, which should work for messages to the phone.

On Mac, you’d have to use the Google Voice web site; I don’t believe that there is a desktop os app for Google Voice. (Well, there is an extension for the Chrome browser.)

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On Mac, you can use the Hangouts app (in addition to the extension) for Chrome, or you can wrap the GV website in a wrapper app like Unite by BZG for text/voice.

Stay tuned for upcoming information about an amazing little app called GVConnect, which makes a happy bridge between Hangouts and GV on iOS for truly free voice and SMS/MMS on your data plan or free WiFi.

But, as stated, without an iPhone as proxy, the only way to “integrate” with Messages is to use a relay method, and that’s not a first resort unless you’re determined, but it’s possible.

Last option is to use a pay-for-what-you-eat data service like Ting, get a $50 iPhone 5, and use it as a proxy. You might even be able to move your existing SIM card into an old iPhone.

I feel like there’s another solution, but I’m exhausted; if it comes to me, I’ll post again.

Thanks for the replies guys, I guess silly me for thinking that integration with SMS may happen at the head end… thus supporting their tablets. The work arounds sound awfully painful, truth be told. I wouldn’t have an issue of being forced into their messaging IF it actually integrated with what the rest of the world is doing… and NOT requiring I go out and buy one of their phones when I already have one that suits my needs!

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It actually used to work that way, even for a short while after they switched from AIM to their own pure encrypted service. There was a long time when I did not use my cell plan or Google Voice to send SMS messages; and I did it for most of the year with an iPad, I think on iOS 9.

If I had to bet, I would tell you it’s the fact that they wanted to use end to end encryption, and weren’t willing to compromise ( not to mention the blockades that the carriers put up to this because if they cannot charge for it they don’t want to play) even if it meant shutting out “free riders.“