As more businesses have shifted to remote work, it’s become increasingly common for many to have fewer work boundaries. 

And while we all have a tendency to impulsively check our phones with every ping, sometimes we just want to hang out with our friends and family without work messages taking over our lives. Enter scheduled text messages. 

Sending a scheduled text can allow you to respect the time zone your business colleagues and partners are in. You can even suggest the feature to the people you work with if you find yourself getting too many messages in the evening. In this article, we’re going to share how to send a scheduled text so you’re not sending messages back and forth outside of your working hours. Plus, we’ll share other ways to set expectations without feeling the pressure to always be available on call. 

Can you schedule a text message on your iPhone?

Yes, you can schedule a text message on your iPhone. However, most people prefer sending scheduled text messages through third-party apps because iMessage doesn’t allow you to send scheduled texts natively.

OpenPhone is an app that allows you to schedule messages on your iOS device, but you’re not limited to your phone with OpenPhone. If you prefer to text from your computer, you can also schedule text messages on your computer using the web or desktop app. 

Ensure contacts opt in before scheduling text messages

First things first: Before sending texts, make sure any recipients opt into receiving texts from you based on the type of messages you’re going to send.

For example, if you intend on texting them appointment reminders, you can make this clear to anyone in advance within your opt-in form (your opt-in form can either be a digital or hard copy form).

Be sure also to include an opt-out with every message you send (“To opt out of messages from us, send STOP.”). If not, your recipient’s carrier could flag your business phone number as spam. 

How to schedule a text message using OpenPhone

All you need to do to get started scheduling and sending text messages from your computer is an OpenPhone account. With OpenPhone you can get a new US, Canadian, or toll-free business number (or port over your existing number) so you can easily automate specific touchpoints with your customers all while saving time texting.

You can try out OpenPhone free by signing up for a free trial.

How to schedule a text message in OpenPhone from the web or desktop app.

Once you have an OpenPhone account, you can schedule texts in just a few clicks. Simply type out your text in OpenPhone, then click on the clock icon beside the send button to set a time for your message to send. 

How to schedule a text and select the time you want to schedule a text message within the OpenPhone desktop or web app

The good news about sending scheduled texts with OpenPhone is that you can edit or delete messages before it’s sent.

How to schedule a text message: Specifying whether you wish scheduled text messages to cancel if your contact messages you first.

If you hear back from someone earlier than expected, OpenPhone can also automatically unschedule your message if they text you first. That message saves as a draft in your conversation thread if you want to use it later. That way, you can skip any confusion on your contact’s end. When you draft up a text message this option is selected by default.

In case you just change your mind on a queued-up message, before it goes out you can also cancel the message. 

If you want to send the message regardless of whether they message you or not, you can choose “Even if they message first” as an option too.

Then can choose any time to send your scheduled message. OpenPhone provides a list of suggestions, just in case you aren’t sure exactly what time to schedule your text for. You’ll see options for later today, this evening, and tomorrow morning.

Trying to calculate late at night the right time to send a message based on a different time zone is only a math teacher’s dream. For the rest of us, message apps like OpenPhone allow you to schedule a message around the recipient’s time zone if your contact lives in a different part of the world. By default, that’s based on their phone number’s area code

However, you can update that to any time zone if they live elsewhere. So if you’re hoping to send them a text at 9 AM in their time zone, you can do that with just a few clicks. 11 PM finger counting math crisis avoided

If you’re waiting to speak with a colleague before sending off a scheduled text, you might choose later today.

Tag teammates internally as comments only visible to your team in OpenPhone.

When you and your teammate want to work together in context, you can even comment and mention them in the conversation. 

How to schedule a text message from the OpenPhone iOS app

With the OpenPhone mobile app, you can also schedule text messages from your iPhone or iPad.

If you’re an Android user, stay tuned this feature is coming your way soon.
Here’s how:

How to schedule a text from your iPhone or iPad using the OpenPhone mobile app
  1. Type your text message.
  2. Click on the clock icon beside the send button.
  3. Under “Condition”, you can specify whether you wish or not you wish the message to go out if your recipient texts you first.  (By default, this setting automatically cancels a scheduled text, if the recipient does message you first).
  4. Set a time for your message to send based on any time zone.

When to send messages to multiple recipients vs one-to-one 

Like any engaging conversation, context matters. And in some circumstances where folks opted into receiving texts from you, you may want to text multiple recipients at once.

Besides marketing campaigns, below are the most common overarching scenarios in which you can automate and schedule texts to reach multiple contacts concurrently. 

3 situations where you schedule texts to multiple recipients

1. You want to confirm or remind your contacts of a booking

Consider scheduling automatic touchpoints with your contacts if they request an appointment with your business. Appointment confirmation texts can go out after they book time with you. Be sure to include an opt-in checkbox with your form as a record that they opted into receiving texts from you. 

If you experience a lot of no-shows or last-minute cancellations, check our guide to learn how to use Zap delays to send out appointment reminder texts.

2. You belong to the same community

Members of a community may expect or want a notification if something comes up that immediately impacts their day. For example, a condo board might send a message to all community members when there’s an elevator down, water shut off, or another relevant issue that needs to be addressed. In this case, people who live in the building will appreciate knowing this information as it directly affects them — and they may not have checked their email inbox.

Looking to send messages like this through OpenPhone? Reach out to our sales team.

3. You are gathering feedback

If you’re collecting customer feedback for your team or conducting a research study, you can also break outside people’s crowded list of unread emails. People tend to read text messages at a higher read rate of 42% instead of email which is only 32%. People also respond to text messages much faster than emails. For instance, an individual will typically respond to a text within 90 seconds, whereas an email will typically take about 90 minutes. 

If you’re looking to schedule a text asking for feedback to a small handful of people, you can create, share, and use snippets. A snippet is basically your go-to template message that you can send to multiple people, without having to rewrite the entire message multiple times or hit copy and paste. 

Creating a text snippet in OpenPhone.

When you type /snippet into a text box and select “Create snippet”, you can compose and save any new snippets with anyone that has shared access to a specific OpenPhone number or a teammate.

In the OpenPhone app, share a text snippet with teammates via the shared numbers they have access to or by specifying the which team members you want to have access to a snippet

Once you’ve written a handy dandy snippet, you can share it with specific teammates or shared inboxes your team accesses. 

When to send one-to-one messages 

In most other cases, scheduling one-to-one messages works better as you can personalize texts further based on your contact notes, conversation history, and call recordings. As mentioned above, scheduling text messages one-to-one in OpenPhone is also particularly clutch if a recipient texts you before your scheduled message goes out.

That said, scheduling one-to-one messages to 100% cold leads isn’t effective and can violate FCC’s guidelines — so build up that relationship first. 

Bottom line: When you’re nurturing relationships, have ongoing conversations, or just want to provide a more tailored approach, one-to-one messages are the best option. 

What time should you schedule texts for?

A good general rule of thumb is to schedule a text message to reach your recipient between 10 AM and 2 PM. That way, you’re not potentially reaching them during their commute.

The type of message you’re sending can also play a big role around when you should send a text message. For example, you can send a reminder 24 hours in advance of an appointment as that time of day may generally be more available for them.

Ultimately though, you’ll want to take an iterative approach as you discover specific contacts respond faster when you message them during the afternoon vs the morning (or vice versa).

How to schedule a text message on your iPhone using the Shortcuts app 

iPhone users looking to schedule texts can use the Shortcuts app. However, you’re unable to schedule texts as a one-off message via Shortcuts.  Using OpenPhone allows you to easily send scheduled texts. But if you’d prefer to send the Shortcuts app, you can follow these steps. In the past, using this app was easier but it’s become more complicated after newer updates. 

1. Open the Shortcuts app if you have an iPhone running with iOS 13 or later. If you’re running on an older iOS,  you can download an older version of the app from the App Store. 

How to schedule a text:  Using the Shortcuts app on an iPhone

2. Select “Automation” at the bottom of the screen.

3. Click “+” on the top right corner of the screen.

4. Press the “Create Personal Automation”.

How to schedule a text: Setting up an automation from an iPhone.

5. Click “Time of Day” and set a time and click “Next”.

How to schedule a text: New iPhone automation screen after clicking set up.

6. Click “Send Message”.

How to schedule a text: Adding an action from automations on an iPhone.

7. Type your message in the “Message” box and then add your recipients to the “Recipient” box, click done then next.

How to schedule a text: Creating a text message customized based on the recipient from an iPhone.

8. Make sure the “Ask Before Running” button is clicked if you want to double check the message before sending and click “Done”.

How to schedule a text: Created automation from instructions above on an iPhone.

9. After the message has been sent, delete the automation so it doesn’t repeat the next day unless you want it to.

This scheduled text tool allows you to add multiple automations but as mentioned, the downside is that you can only add recurring automations rather than a one off, making it less convenient than an app like OpenPhone. 

How to schedule a text message using the Reminders app on your iPhone

While you can’t actually send a text with the Reminders app on your iPhone, you’ll still be able to remind yourself to send a text later. This isn’t a traditional SMS scheduler like OpenPhone, but could be helpful if you want a reminder to schedule a text but haven’t drafted the message yet.

1. Open the Reminders app and click “New Reminder” on the bottom of the screen.

Using the reminders app on an iPhone to remember to send a text.

2. For your title write “Send a text to [name of recipient].

Adding reminder details from the Reminders app.

3. Click “Details” and include the date and time then “Add.” You could also add “When Messaging” and include a contact name to remind you to send the message when you’re speaking with that person via text.

Setting additional details for a reminder.
Can you schedule a text message on an Android device?

With an Android 7 or later version, you can schedule a text message. Some of the features are limited, so third-party scheduling apps might be a better alternative. Text scheduling is coming soon to our Android app, but in the meantime, you can still schedule texts from your business phone number via any computer. 

How to schedule a text message on Android 7 or newer using Google Messages

1. Open your Messages app and write a text in the message section without sending it yet. 
2. Press down on the “Send” button by holding it down.
3. Choose the date and time you’d like to schedule text messages then tap next and send.

Stay responsive and set clear expectations with OpenPhone

As long as you’ve got WiFi, you can use OpenPhone to send 1:1 text messages or automatically queue up messages with Zaps ahead of schedule. That way, a recipient receives it in their time zone or a more convenient time for both of you. 

However, if your team is quickly growing, you don’t have to go it alone. OpenPhone also lets you stay responsive by working with teammates from a shared number

Auto-replies that go out when you receive texts after hours

You may also be feeling the pressure to always be on call to your customers and want to make sure your team can relax outside of working hours. You can add auto-replies that set proper expectations on when your contacts can expect to hear back from your team.

Want to test out scheduling texts and auto-replies in OpenPhone? Sign up for a free seven-day trial.  

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Austin, TX-based storyteller and content strategist that's helped businesses communicate with their audiences for over seven years. Catch me on the greenbelt or a patio.

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