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Pebble Time Smartwatches Gain Ability to Send iOS Texts on AT&T


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Smartwatch maker Pebble last night announced a new feature coming to the Pebble Time, Pebble Time Steel, and Pebble Time Round line of smartwatches that will allow users to send abbreviated text messages to friends and family through iOS (via Engadget). Called "Text Reply for iOS," the beta feature will mark Pebble as the first non-Apple Watch smartwatch to introduce voice and text replies linked with an iPhone.

If eligible, the company says that the feature will allow users to send voice messages and "pre-defined" text messages to other iPhone users. Currently limited exclusively to AT&T customers, Pebble mentioned that it's working to expand carrier support for the feature in the future, but gave those who can currently take advantage of the system a detailed step-by-step list of instructions.

To get started with iOS Text Reply, follow these steps:

-Update your Pebble Time iPhone app to version 3.4 or higher.
-After updating the iPhone app, update your Pebble Time's firmware to version 3.7 or higher. Select Menu » Support » Update Your Pebble if you aren't prompted automatically.
-From the iOS app, navigate to Menu » Settings » Actionable Notifications to set up Text Replies for the first time.
-Follow the setup instructions.
-After successful setup, notifications received from the Messages app will have the option to reply with voice or a list of pre-defined responses.
-Note: Successfully sent Pebble replies will NOT appear in the iOS Messages app. The reply is sent as an SMS through AT&T directly, and not the Messages app.
There are some limits to its functionality, however. Pebble Time owners who want to get in on iOS messaging -- and eventually use the full-featured Text Reply system -- must be on a postpaid AT&T data plan. Once activated, the feature sends replies from the Pebble "through your wireless carrier," meaning that the Pebble user's side of the conversation won't appear in Apple's threaded iOS Messages app. The replies are also sent as SMS messages, not Apple's traditional iMessage alternative, so some possible carrier charges may be applied.

Check out Pebble's full Q&A on the new Text Reply for iOS feature to learn about more of its functionalities.

Article Link: Pebble Time Smartwatches Gain Ability to Send iOS Texts on AT&T


macrumors 6502
Jul 19, 2008
Why such a ridiculous kludge? Is it THAT hard to implement the features that Android users have with the Time on our iPhones? You'd think that using the mic and text-to-speech would be fairly easy to do...
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Dec 6, 2012
Pebble trying to stay relevant as Apple walks away with the market. I hope they succeed in doing it right though. That should help others and finally open iMessage to the non-Apple world.
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macrumors member
Mar 21, 2009
Why such a ridiculous kludge? Is it THAT hard to implement the features that Android users have with the Time on our iPhones? You'd think that using the mic and text-to-speech would be fairly easy to do...
They already had speech dictation. The problem is that iOS doesn't allow them to send text messages. They got around the problem by dealing directly with the carrier.
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macrumors 68030
Mar 4, 2007
As a huge proponent of smartwatches, this is an area Apple needs to open up. The Apple Watch just isn't right for me. I've been spoiled by the always-on screen and battery life of Pebble (maybe future Apple Watches will be better). Unfortunately Apple has this area of the OS pretty locked, so competing watches are quite limited compared to what is offered on Android.


Sep 15, 2012
So much effort to simply send a message. Just pull your phone out of your pocket for 8 seconds.

Why bother?

Effort? It takes less effort to send a simple message from your smartwatch. The steps outlined in the article are a one-time action. Did you read them?
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macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
In between a rock and a hard place
i just told people i won't text them if it's green. i like my communications encrypted.

I've never sent a text worthy of encryption so, meh. Besides, if I thought that way I'd rarely ever send a text. Most people I know have more important things to worry about besides whether their texts are encrypted. But good for you. It's nice to have if that's your concern.

except when you have a valid reason to not want to send simple plain text unencrypted SMS.

I'm going out on a limb to say the vast, vast majority of people don't have a valid reason, or actually care for that matter. For those who do, it's good to have that option.
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macrumors 68000
Sep 19, 2010
I have the Pebble Classic and rather like it. Why? Well, with bigger iPhones, I have taken to using a wallet case so I can minimize the amount of stuff I carry around. I find I only really need two card (ID and credit) unless I am traveling. Anyway, the notifications on the Pebble let me preview calls, texts, and email, so I only pull out my phone and open the wallet case when necessary.

I should also mention that the Pebble Classic and Time are now selling for $69 and $129 on-line. So, this is an inexpensive smartwatch for someone that wants just the basics; date, time, notifications, steps, weather, sports scores, stock quotes, etc. Heck, a Timex at Target cost about $40.

Now, if I could send a brief reply to a text from my watch, that would be pretty cool....something like "ok", "sounds good", "thanks", "nope", "yes". A scrollable selectable short list of responses would be great. However, I would absolutely want to see the response in my threaded messages. If I could not see the full thread, I would never use the capability....
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macrumors 6502
Mar 13, 2012
The downside: you have to be on AT&T and be price gouged if you go over your data limit.

Really, if you want this functionality just get an Apple Watch. You can even finance them at T-Mobile if the price tag is too high to pay all at once. :)


macrumors 68040
Aug 20, 2015
Cool. Watch-based texting really takes care of the main problem I have with texting on my phone: it's just too easy to type and I want it to be even harder.


macrumors newbie
Aug 1, 2011
Hey, I've got one of those pebble time things, and I'm looking forward to this feature. It allows me to acknowledge a text from my wrist, which is often important to be able to do quickly.

I did feel pretty bad when the apple watch actually materialized, and I was still waiting for my kickstarted pebble steel. But I'm pretty happy with the watch, that is receiving notifications, and being able to reply will be better.

I probably will check into the second generation apple watch, but water resistance was paramount when making my purchase, so we will see how Apple Watch Version 2 handles that.


macrumors regular
Sep 7, 2005
Western North Carolina
i just told people i won't text them if it's green. i like my communications encrypted.
Have your friends/family switch to Telegram - it's very, very secure [encrypted], and 100% free and not affiliated with Facebook [eg: WhatsApp]. Has all the features of iMessage with some features of DropBox thrown in. And it works on desktop/laptop computers and tablets as well. if you're interested.
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macrumors 6502a
Oct 15, 2008
I wish they were able to add it to the original and Steel Pebbles, as I wear an OG everyday. I love it for it's always on screen and ruggedness. I never have to worry about it like I would with an Apple Watch. Plus, I got it $60 new back in the spring.

I really wish Apple would open up a bit. As useful as the Pebble is with an iPhone, it was 10x as much with the Fire Phone (android) I used for the month interim between selling my 5s and getting my 6s. It synced perfectly every time and the little pre-canned responses for texts was a nice feature.

The Pebble has sold me on smart watches and I will probably get an Apple Watch after the 2nd or 3rd revision.
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