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How to Delay Sending a Text Message

Most smartphones let you write now, schedule delivery later

spinner image an illustration of a text message with a clock and a 1 on its borders superimposed over a teal field
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The saying “There’s no time like the present” doesn’t apply to every situation, such as when you hear, read or see something you want to share via text with friends, family or colleagues.  

Sometimes because of differing time zones, weekends or holidays, you need to ask yourself: Can my text arrive tomorrow instead of now? Unless the message is so important that it can’t wait, sometimes delaying is better.

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But you can send it now while you’re thinking about it and get the task off your mental to-do list.  

Scheduling a text message delivery on a smartphone is just as easy as delaying an email delivery or a message on collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Slack. All it takes is a message, an app and your phone’s connection to a cellular network or Wi-Fi.  

But Apple devices come with a caveat. You can’t use your iPhone to schedule or delay a text message delivery in iMessage, the built-in iPhone messaging app.

Unlike Android or Samsung Galaxy models that allow you to press the Send icon and choose an option, an iPhone requires a workaround or two using its built-in Shortcut app or a third-party app. You’ll find that later. First, the easier task on Androids.

Google Messages for most Android phones

If you’re using an Android 7 operating system or newer, you can schedule texts whenever you choose in Google Messages, the default texting app on many Android phones. Newer Samsung phones have Google and Samsung message apps installed when you buy the phone.  

1. Open the Messages app, which looks like a blue speech bubble. Start a new conversation or open an existing one.  

2. Type your message, adding an emoji, GIF or photo if you choose.  

3. Touch and hold the Send icon, which looks like a paper airplane. When not scheduling a message, you would tap Send and wait for a response.  

4. Some options will appear in this case, such as Later today, 5:00 PM or Tomorrow 8:00 AM. You can select one of these or tap the bottom option, Pick date and time.  

5. If you choose Pick date and time, a calendar will open. Select your preferences for both, tap Next and then Send.  

If you want to open a previously scheduled message, a Scheduled message notification identifies the thread.  

Samsung Messages, available on Galaxy smartphones

Samsung’s Messages app is built into Samsung Galaxy smartphones as the default. It’s also available as a free download for Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets.  

1. Open the Messages app on your device and choose an existing message or tap the Compose speech bubble icon in the lower right corner. Select the desired recipient and tap Enter message in the field at the bottom to type out your text message. Here, too, you can add emoji, GIFs or photos.  

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2. Press and hold the Send icon, which looks like a paper airplane, to display your options when you’re done, just like in Google Messages.  

3. Set the date and time to deliver your message, even up to a year from the current date. Tap Done.  

4. Tap Set schedule later before you leave the conversation if you’re not ready with a date. The app will automatically save the message as a draft.

iPhone text delay via third-party apps

Scheduling a message isn't as easy for iPhone users. That’s where the workarounds come in.

Downloading a third-party app is an easier option than trying to go through features baked into the iPhone. Among these apps are Moxy Messenger and Scheduled; the apps Carrier Messaging and Reminderbase were both designed for the iPad but are also available for iPhones.  

Each app offers different capabilities and is free at first unless you’re looking for more advanced features. The steps to delay a text message using each app are similar.

The catch: The apps won’t send the message for you. Instead, they notify you when the time comes with a sound or vibration. That’s an Apple requirement that apps can’t get around.

So the iPhone apps act more like a reminder. You compose the message in advance using the app, and the app will remind you when to send it on your iPhone.  

This example involves Moxy.

1. Open the Moxy app and allow it to access your contacts.

2. Tap the Compose icon in the top right and press the plus sign to select a recipient.

3. Choose when you want to send your message by tapping Schedule Date. Now you can add a photo or other attachment. Type your message in the large field and tap Save when you’re done.

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4. Your phone will notify you when it’s time to send the message. Tap Send to confirm the delivery.

iPhone text delay using Shortcuts

Your second option is to use the Shortcuts app for iPhones running iOS 13 or later. If you do not have Shortcuts, you can download it for free from the App Store.

While you can schedule a timed delivery of a single message, Shortcuts is designed for recurring deliveries, meaning the same text is sent at the same time every day, week or month. To send a single message, you’ll have to schedule your delivery and then turn off the recurrences.

These step-by-step instructions may vary a little based on your operating system.

1. Tap to open the Shortcuts app.

2. Tap Automation at the bottom center of your iPhone screen.

3. Tap the blue box that says New Automation; on an older iPhone, you may see Create Personal Automation. Select Time of Day near the top of the screen.

4. Tap the digital clock to select when to send your message or choose Sunrise or Sunset and identify which hourly interval before or after each you prefer. If it’s a recurring message, identify Daily, Weekly or Monthly.

5. Tap Next at the top right of the screen and then tap Send Message. Within the Send box at the top of the screen, tap Message to type out your message, followed by Done.

6. Go back to the Send box and tap Recipients to address the message and tap Done.

In iOS 16 and iOS 17 , you may be prompted to tap Send the message, which opens a new screen that lets you set how often you wish to repeat the message, beginning with One time. Once the message is sent, Shortcuts will keep sending it at the same time and as often as you specified if you don’t delete the shortcut.

To disable future deliveries, open the Shortcuts app and select your timed message in the center. Swipe Enable this automation to the left to disable it. On iOS 16 and newer, you may see a red Delete warning pop up. Swipe again to the left to confirm you’d like to delete future sends.

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