Forwarding Gmail messages as text messages or SMS

I love my gmail account because of all the integrated features Google offers, such as the ability to synchronize email contact lists and browser favorites via Google Chrome, to name a few. Additionally, I don’t consider a new website for a client complete unless I integrate Google Analytics into their meta data. It seems no matter the need, Google has an answer.

My most recent “need” involved the desire to forward email messages from a specific sender as a text message (SMS) to my cell phone. I use Mozilla Thunderbird as my email client on my desktop, but I wanted a way to forward the messages as soon as gmail receives them and before I view them on my desktop via Thunderbird. Sure enough, Google had the answer!

Getting this to work involved a bit of tweaking of my Gmail account settings as well as determining my cellular carrier’s text messaging address format. Here is a simple two-step process I used to make this happen:

1. Determine your cellular carrier’s text messaging (SMS) address

Most, if not all, cellular carriers will provide the ability to send a text message via an email address. Here is a listing of the major carriers. Please note I have not verified all carrier’s addresses, only AT&T as this is my current carrier.

  • (the text message sender will be a random phone number)
  • (I prefer using mms because the text message sender will be the email address that is forwarding the message)
  • (mms)
  • (text)
  • (mms)
  • (text)
  • (text)
US Cellular:
  • (mms)
  • (text)

If your carrier is not listed, do a Google search to find it. Chances are, the service is available.

2. Set up a Gmail email filter

You will need to sign in to your Gmail account via any web browser. ( is the URL). Once signed in, do this:

  • Click on the Settings link in Gmail. This is located near the upper right when clicking on the little gear-looking icon.
  • Click on the Forwarding an POP/IMAP tab that runs along the top of the window.
  • Select Add a forwarding address under Forwarding section.
    • You do not have to select Forward a copy of incoming mail to for this to work; Disable forwarding can be selected under Forwarding:, and your existing Gmail forwarding settings will not be changed.
  • Enter the address to which you want Gmail to forward mail under Add a forwarding address. This will be one of the cellular carrier text message addresses listed in step 1.
  • Click Next, and on the next screen click Proceed.
  • Now click OK under A confirmation code has been sent to verify permission. You will receive a text message with a confirmation code. Enter that code into the confirmation box in in the Forwarding an POP/IMAP tab and click verify.
  • Back in Gmail settings, go to the Filters tab.
  • Click Create a new filter at the bottom.
  • Enter your search criteria under Choose search criteria.
    • To forward all mail (like the standard Gmail forwarding does), enter “@” in the From: field, for example.
    • To forward mail from a certain sender, enter their email address, name, domain or any part of these under From:.
  • Click Create filter with this search ».
  • Make sure Forward it to: is checked.
  • Select the desired email address to receive the forwarded emails under Forward it to:.
  • Click Create Filter.

Follow these two steps and you will be pleased with the result. It works like a charm for me!

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