Text+ vs. TextFree vs. AIM?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by tbm248, Aug 12, 2009.

  1. tbm248 macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2009
    Hey what's up everyone?

    I've been researching free texting apps for my iphone 3G, and these three seemed to be most popular/common alternatives to paying for texting.

    As far as I can tell, each of these lets you SEND texts for free, no problem. TextFree seems the best as the "display name" shows up as whatever you want, and the person on the other end can reply easily.

    I saw a video using Text+ and when you send a message, the first thing the person sees is not your display name, rather, "60611", and only after they open the message to read it, do they see your display name. And after that, to reply, they have to start the text by entering "T6", which I think could confuse some people, and so this one seems like the most confusing of the three for the recipient of texts.

    AIM sends fine, and I registered a screenname that is in the format of First name, last name, and my favorite number, e.g. JohnSmith12, so I think it should be recognizable.

    Now, the main problem seems to be RECEIVING texts when the other person is the one who INITIATES the texting conversation. As far as I can tell, TextFree lets you register a email with them, so something like JohnSmith12@textfree.us or whatever it is, and that is the address for others to text in order to initiate conversation without me being charged a regular SMS. Problem I read with this is some phones don't allow people to text to emails? How common is that these days with newer phones? Even the basic ones should be able to text to an email, yes?

    For Text+, they don't offer any solution for initiating conversation, other then the person replying to the last text you sent them and replying from there.

    For AIM, I wasn't sure, as I couldn't find anything. Any way people can initiate a text conversation with me, assuming they don't have AIM, and just regular SMS?

    I seemed to conclude that TextFree seems like the best, although you can only send 15 messages a day for the free app, which can be of course limiting. However, at least there is a way for the other person to initiate conversation with you and not have you be charged like Text+ would, and again, not sure how it works with AIM.

    Am I understanding all this correctly? Is there any way/app/whatever that someone could initiate texts with me that doesn't include texting an email, that possibly just reroutes what would have went to the stock SMS, but instead goes to the free app?

    My preference would be to figure out AIM, as I like how it's free to send as many as possible, doesn't have that "60611" or reply confusion; but doesn't seem like a way to initiate texts from their end without me getting charged. I wish I could tell the person I texted to just save my screenname or whatever and just text to that...

    Thanks for your help and time everyone!!
  2. Ryuukumori macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    I use AIM, and only AIM to send text messages. Although the other user sees a number like "6011", they always know it's me, because I am usually the only one they know of out of all contacts who use AIM to text. My screen name appears just fine within the text. I have never had issues with limitations for text messaging. I have held 5+ conversations with other phones at once, for hours at a time! :)

    The only flaw I see is notifying the recipient before the text is sent (IF it's the first text I ever send to the phone). This is because AIM asks the recipient to accept or deny text messages from the screen name. I have had 2 instances where they denied, not knowing it was me, and I cannot find a way to undo this. If anyone knows, that would be awesome.
  3. tbm248 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2009
    Thanks for the reply

    Ok, so I just have a couple questions if you don't mind answering.

    1. For the textfree app, would it also show the initial message with the random number, like you say AIM does? And they wouldn't see that it's actually me until they open the app? I don't know if you have used textfree, but just thought I'd ask! And so there is no way to change it in AIM for the other person to see your screenname first, instead of just a random number? I made a new screenname which is basically my name, but if they decline from the start because they just saw the random number, wouldn't do me any good.

    2. How do your friends initiate text conversations with you? Since by the sounds of it, they don't all use or have AIM, what do they put in their phones to send a text to your AIM and not the regular SMS which would cost money? It seems like it could get costly if there is no way for them to text me first at my AIM screen name, as I certainly am not the one who starts all conversations.
  4. Ryuukumori macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    Good questions, and I have good answers for ya.

    1. I have never used the freetext app before, so I wouldn't know much on it. However, it sounds similar to AIM. There is no way I know of to change the random number to your screen name in the recipient's contact list. The best thing to do so the recipient does not decline your screen name is notify him or her before you send the text to accept. :)

    2. The cool thing about AIM is that the new version for the iPhone/iPod Touch has better notification. You CAN receive texts without initiating the conversation first, even when your iPhone is in sleep mode. The text message will appear at the "slide to unlock" screen to view instantly. However, the only way I have found this effective is that the recipient must save a "sample text" from your screen name (or star it, whatever way to store it on the phone) so they can always send texts to it. This is proven effective if you keep your AIM signed on at all times. The only other issue with AIM is you cannot receive texts this way if you are signed off. You will never end up receiving the text. So make sure to keep your screen name online always! :)
  5. tbm248 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2009
    Cool, thanks again for the help!

    1. Yeah, seems like I'll just have to let people know that it's me, might be a bit tedious, but this shouldn't be too big of a problem.

    2. The notifications sound great. Also, when you said they can save a sample text/whatever and then send texts to it, THAT'S HUGE! I really needed an effective way for them to start conversations with me and not have it go through regular SMS and have me charged. Now I can just tell them to save that text and from this point forward when they want to text me, just send a text to that.

    I wonder though, how much does battery life suffer having AIM on/being signed in at all times? I hope it's only a small price to pay for this texting alternative.

    Oh, and related to the other person saving a text and just responding to that to start conversations, will that mean I will have one long ongoing conversation saved? Or will the app/phone know when one conversation started and ended? Not really a big deal, but just curious, and since you seem to be an expert, just thought I'd ask!

    Thank you very much, you've been very helpful!
  6. Ryuukumori macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    I haven't done serious battery tests with signing on/off AIM, but I know from experience that when AIM is signed on and you end up exiting/starting the app many times, it has a little "connecting" message before your list of contacts "refresh" themselves to relay new incoming texts. With this in mind, I wouldn't imagine this has hardly any suffering from the battery with your AIM constantly logged on! Only serious things like 3G, Bluetooth, etc.

    AIM will store all texts in one ongoing conversation for each mobile contact. However, when you reach the end of your conversation, on the top right corner, you can press "clear", then again when it changes to "close" so you can keep up with new conversations each session. You won't be confused from one conversation one day to conversations another. Also as a side note, AIM will organize your "ongoing conversations" with dates and times. So when I don't clear my conversations, I am never confused anyways! :)

    Haha, I'm no expert, I have just used AIM for texting for over 2 years!
  7. tbm248 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2009
    Thank you so much!!

    Glad to hear AIM won't be too much of a drain on the battery (these devices go through the battery pretty fast as is!), and the conversations are organized well enough so they don't get confusing.

    I think I'm just going to go ahead and use AIM as my texting alternative. Hopefully my contacts remember what I tell them with regards to initiating a conversation (which is probably the only legitimate questionmark, but as long as they know how to favorite/star/whatever my text, shouldn't be an issue). Oh, and probably last question, and not much of a big deal either, but is there a way to change my display name when I text using aim, or will it just be my screenname? Not a big deal for me since I made a screenname that was essentially my full name, but was just curious (haven't used the actual AIM in years, let alone using it for texting).

    And using AIM for texting for over 2 years is an expert in my book! :D

    Hopefully this works out well for me (the monthly bill was already killer for me, had to get rid of texts as I just don't text too often, and so this seems like a good alternative for me).

    Thanks again, very much appreciated!
  8. Ryuukumori macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    Like any AIM client out there, unfortunately, you cannot change your screen name to a nickname. Very smart of you though to make your screen name consist of a good identity check! Always reassuring to the recipient. :) Hopefully in the future, AIM will allow a user to substitute a nickname over the original screen name.

    And for the same reasons, I had a texting service on my phone for Verizon, and the bills became too high for my budget. So I too returned to AIM to seek saving dollars. You are very welcome, and best of luck in your texting endeavors! :D
  9. tbm248 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2009
    Ah well, can't have everything perfect.

    Thanks, I'll try and post back in this thread or PM you if I have any other questions/run into any unanticipated problems! :)
  10. agkm800 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 18, 2009
    textPlus (Text+) sucks big time.
    Yes, it's unlimited and it's free, but it will only work when it wants to work which is not often.

    TextFree is much better even though the free version only allows 15 texts a day.
  11. caligurl macrumors 68030


    Jun 8, 2009
    for me it's opposite...

    text+ works every time i send a text whereas text free only sent them if we were both in the same room on wifi!

    just reinstalled text free lite to try again.... OMG the ads are OBNOXIOUS in that program! ya.... i'm sticking with text+
  12. tbm248 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2009
    ^Yeah, that seemed to be a common problem. I would read Textfree AND Text+ users say they had problems with sending. I figured, that obviously could happen to me, too, and of course we want reliability. That's why AIM seems like a good choice to me, haven't read anything about messages not being sent when using AIM...
  13. ejrizo macrumors 6502


    Jun 26, 2007
    Los Angeles
    BeeJive is the only way to go... well worth $10
  14. Resist macrumors 68030

    Jan 15, 2008
  15. byulasfjazz macrumors regular


    Jul 5, 2009
    Yahoo is the best messenger for free text... reasons.

    1. unlike AIM you dont get logged out after 24hrs..you can stay connected for 2 weeks!

    2. Also unlike AIM people that recieve the text can save it to thier phone as a contact and reply anytime.. with aim you have to text first.. then they can reply, but cannot save it as a contact.. so they have to go through all the old messages to find yours.. (annoying for non iphone users)

    3. pictures can be sent! (but just to other yahoo messenger users.. but its still cool)

    4. no annoying commercials... and its FREE!

    5. is it me or does it seem faster than aim? anyone?

    one downside however... the noise from the push notification can be rather annoying.
  16. Camaro6700 macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2008
    I have been using textfree since I got my 3GS phone on day one. It works great for me. All my friends know to send the txt to my txtfree address and they havent complained about it yet. I started off with the free version and paid the 6 dollars for the unlimited. It has saved me a lot of money now that I can just keep the $5 option of 200 txt. This allows me the option of still sending and receiving to the few people that don't have the ability or need for my txtfree account.
  17. tbm248 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2009
    wrt Yahoo messenger:

    Issue I am having is signing up a username that is close to my name. With AIM, I was able to get something very close, everything seems to be taken with yahoo (other than FirstnameLastName1224336).

    Oh, and as far as other people being able to save my message as a contact and consequently being able to initiate a message in the future (without having to go through and find an old message from me); can't the same thing be done with AIM?
  18. tbm248 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2009
    Ok, so anyone using Yahoo Messenger --

    How can I change my "nickname" so that it shows up when I text someone from my iphone?

    I googled it, and changed the settings according to the instructions. But I made the change on my DESKTOP Yahoo Messenger. I put the nickname I wanted, but when I went to my iphone and texted a few people, they said all that showed up in the "from:" field was my screenname. So obviously changing/adding the nickname in Yahoo Messenger on my desktop didn't carry over to my iphone app (even though I'm using the same screenname obviously).

    Any ideas?
  19. joekun macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2005
    I use AIM (through Beejive), my brother uses TextFree. Is there a way for him to send me a text from textfree to my aim account?

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