How to Text Important Emails to Your Phone

All you need is a gmail account and a cell phone that will receive text messages. We’re going to find our cell phone’s email address, then set up a forward in Gmail so that we can automatically send emails that match certain criteria straight to text.

What’s my phone’s email address?

Did you know that your cellphone actually has an email address? The actual email address depends on your cell phone provider, but once you know the format you’ll be able to send text messages to yourself automatically. Here is a list of carriers and their corresponding email addresses. Note: Do not include country code, just area code.

  • Alltel [10-digit phone number]
  • AT&T [10-digit phone number]
  • Boost Mobile [10-digit phone number]
  • Nextel (now Sprint Nextel) [10-digit telephone number]
  • Sprint PCS (now Sprint Nextel) [10-digit phone number]
  • T-Mobile [10-digit phone number]
  • US Cellular [10-digit phone number] (SMS)
  • Verizon [10-digit phone number]
  • Virgin Mobile USA [10-digit phone number]

Add a Forwarding Address to Gmail

There are cases where you may want to forward every single email to text. You can do this too!gmail settings for forwarding

  1. Click the settings cog in the upper right hand corner
  2. Choose Settings.
  3. Choose the “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” tab in the settings area
  4. Click on the button that says “Add a Forwarding Address”
  5. Type in the email you want to forward to (this is where you will type in your phone’s email address).
  6. Click Next. A box will pop up that says Forwarding mail to
  7. Click Proceed, and it will tell you that you’ll be getting a confirmation code sent to the forwarding email to verify permission. Click ok
  8. Test Your Phones Email Address: If you figured out your phone’s email correctly, it should send you a confirmation “email” to your phone that contains an activation code. This links your gmail account to your phones email address
  9. Type the code it in the space provided (without the # sign before the code)
  10. Click “Verify” It should now be set up!
  11. Make sure “Forward a copy of incoming emails to…” is checked and also the option to “Keep Gmail’s copy in the inbox” is selected in case anything goes wrong so you don’t lose your email.
  12. Click “Save Changes” at the bottom

Decide on your Forwarding Criteria

The easiest way to text important emails to your phone is to find a specific email you’d like to forward, and start with that to gather your forwarding criteria or settings. You can choose to forward emails:

  • from a particular email address
  • to a particular email address
  • with a particular subject line (or certain words within the subject)
  • containing any word or phrase within the body of the email
  • that don’t contain a particular word

You can also check features to filter your choice even more, such as

  • forwarding only if the email has an attachment
  • not forwarding gchat messages (so that you just get email forwards)
  • forwarding emails only of a particular size.

Most of these settings can be combined so that your filter is very specific. 

Forward Etsy Order Confirmations to text

In my particular case, I want to get a text message every time I make a sale on Etsy. I’m going to do this by selecting a sale confirmation email I’ve already received from Etsy. Based on this email, I’m going to create my criteria for forwarding. I want to forward emails

  • from
  • with a subject of “Etsy Order Confirmation”  (notice how this is only a part of the subject)

If I get too specific, then nothing will forward. But I know that all of my orders are from that email address and all have that standard subject line to start.

Create a Filter to Foward Important Emails

Ok, lets work on setting up this filter now that we have our criteria set.

Use Gmails Filter Option to text important emails to your phone

  1. Place a checkbox next to an email you want to forward.
  2. At the top of your inbox, choose “More” then “Filter messages like these”
  3. Fill in the details of your forward. Typically the From box is pre-filled based on the email you selected. This is just a recommendation from Gmail so you can choose to uncheck that box or leave it depending on your filter criteria.
  4. Click “Create filter with this search”
    Define Filter Criteria and click Create filter with this search
  5. Now choose your settings for forwarding your email. These are my settings:
    Create Your Gmail Filter
  6. The only required option for this to work is to check “Forward it to”.
    Note: If your cell phone’s email address is not an option, click the Add a Forwarding Address and follow the instructions above to complete this portion. Once it’s set up, come back and follow the rest of these instructions.
  7. I like to check the box that says “Also apply filter to X matching conversion” so I can test to see if my settings work.
  8. Click the blue Create Filter Button. You should get a message that says your filter was created.

Want to Forward ALL Email to Text?

There are cases where you may want to forward every single email to text. You can do this too! You need to go back to the settings page where you originally added and verified your forwarding email address.

  1. Click the settings cog in the upper right hand corner
  2. Choose Settings.
  3. Choose the “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” tab in the settings area
  4. Click on the radio button that says Forward a copy of incoming mail to…”  Make sure that your cell phone email address is selected.
  5. Decide what you want to do with the email that arrived in your inbox. You can leave it as-is, mark it as read, archive it, or delete it (not recommended)
  6. Don’t forget to click “Save Changes” at the bottom

Wrapping Up

There are a lot of great reasons to text important emails to your phone. You may even want to turn this feature on only when you are out of the office, then take it off when you get back.  Forwarding order confirmations, or emails from your boss is a great way to stay on top of things so you don’t miss something crucial. Let me know if you have any questions or comments. I’m happy to help!