7.3 SMS Messaging

SMS messaging is very popular in Asia and is growing in popularity in the U.S. Teenagers can often input text faster (using numeric keypads on the phones) than some adults can type on a computer keyboard!

If you haven't tried sending an SMS message from your phone, the following description may put you off the idea entirely (but read on for a way to use your Macintosh to send and receive those messages).

Each numeric key on your phone is assigned three to four letters, shown in Table 7-3.

Table 7-3. Mapping numeric keys to letters




a, b, c


d, e, f


g, h, i


j, k, l


m, n, o


p, q, r, s


t, u, v


w, x, y, z

To form a word, you must press the corresponding digits that make up the letters of that word. For example, to form the word "is," you would press "4" three times ("i" is the third letter on this key), then press "7" four times. This input method is commonly known as the multitap method.

Most mobile phones sold today support the T9 input method. T9 stands for "Text on 9 keys." Here is how T9 works. Look for the letters that you want and press the assigned digit once. Using the same example, to form the word "is," press "4," followed by "7." A phone utilizing the T9 technology has a compressed database of all the commonly used words. In this case, the database returns "is" as a likely word.

There are many cases when a particular key sequence may generate multiple words, such as the sequence "4663." Two possible words are "good" and "home." In this case, you just need to select the word you want from a menu on your phone. If a desired word cannot be found in the database, you can add it in. For more information on T9 input, go to http://www.t9.com/.

Even with T9 turned on, it's much easier to use your computer keyboard to type messages. Chapter 6 shows how to use Mac OS X to easily send SMS messages.