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Smartphones are able to send text messages to other smartphones as a SMS (Short Message Service) or MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service). These are usually sent directly from phone to phone by typing in the recipient’s phone number when sending.

If you type in someone’s email address instead of their phone number, your text message will be converted to an email message and sent to the person’s email address.

The recipient will receive an email from an unfamiliar address based on your phone number, such as (where the xxxx represents the last four of a Verizon number). In this example, the area code is 319 and the 321 are the common Verizon prefix for numbers in the Iowa City area. A similar message from an AT&T customer would have a slightly different email address.

Here are a few factors that may cause the recipient to delete the message:

  • NO NAME. The email will probably not display your name as the sender.
  • UNKNOWN EMAIL. The sender email address will probably not be familiar to the recipient.
  • NO SUBJECT. The message will not have a subject.
  • NO MESSAGE. Depending on the recipient’s email service, the message will probably not have an easily readable message. Instead, it will contain a text file attachment text_0.txt which they would need to open and read.

Guide for Recipients

If you are a recipient of a message like this, search your contacts for the phone number to find out who may have sent it. If it’s someone with a new phone number, you may not see it listed. If you feel confident of your tech skills and are sure it’s not a trick message designed to infect your computer, you can open the text file and read the message from the sender. Assuming it is a legitimate message, you can add the email address to your friend’s contact information. Any future emails with this address will display the sender’s name.

Guide for Senders

It is generally best to send text messages to someone’s phone number.

Once fully setup your phone should be able to send and receive email messages using a separate email app rather than the messaging app. The email app allows you to send and receive emails using your existing email service such as AOL, Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo.