How to send an SMS text message with AOL Instant Messenger

DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for any annoyance or high phone bill that you inflict on others using this information. Please don't use this feature to annoy your so-called friends. Thanks.

NOTE: themanwho tells me that this only works in the USA and Canada.

The ability to send SMS text messages to cell phones in a quick and easy manner is an under-known and highly useful feature of AOL Instant Messanger. To do it, simply do "Send Instant Message", and then in the "To:" box, type the person's number instead of an AIM handle using the following format:


A is the person's area code, and N is the rest of their phone number. I believe that this works for phones on most, but not all, cell phone networks. The person receiving the message can even reply and you'll receive it as an IM. My friend tells me that this works in Gaim as well. This feature can come in handy if you use AIM and need to remember some bit of data later; you can just send it to your cell phone and be on your way. You don't even have to get up from your computer to create your little reminder. Some people may wax nostalgic for times when technology wasn't so present in their lives, but come on, are you really going to get out of your seat to find a pen and paper? I think not.

It's also possible to add mobile phone numbers to your Buddy List in the same manner you add anyone else.

AOL's SMS feature is also good for copying and pasting MapQuest directions into AIM and sending them to a lost friend's cell phone. This service is, of course, always free for the sender (if not the receiver). How would they charge you anyways?