Forward Emails to Your Phone

Category: Email , Mobile

Most people prefer not to be notified (bothered) by their phones every time an email hits their inbox. But email from a spouse, child, boss, or other important contact may be something you want to know about right now. Here is a free, easy way to receive a text message when those things happen…

How to Forward "Important" Emails via Text Messaging

You don't want your phone dinging, buzzing or flashing every time you get an email. But you might want to know right away when certain people email you. Here's how to make it happen.

The technique I'll describe here will enable you to forward emails from one or more people to your phone, via SMS text messages. And if your phone and mobile provider support long messages, you'll get the entire text.

The first thing to know is that your phone has an email address, even if you don’t subscribe to data service. Each carrier maintains an SMS gateway, essentially an email-to-text forwarding service. Your phone’s email address is your phone number plus the @ symbol and the domain name of the SMS gateway.
Forward email to phone

Below are the gateway names and formats for several popular U. S. carriers;

  • Verizon: [your number]
  • AT&T: [your number]
  • T-Mobile: [your number]
  • Sprint: [your number]
  • Nextel: [your number]
  • Virgin Mobile: [your number]
  • U.S. Cellular: [your number]
  • MetroPCS: [your number]
  • Dozens more can be found at Email Unlimited

All you have to do is create a filter (also called a rule) in your email client or Webmail settings that forwards mail from a specified sender to your phone’s email address. Here is how to do that for Gmail, Outlook,, and OS X Mail.

Gmail: -- First, add your phone’s email address to Gmail’s list of forwarding addresses. To do that, log in to, click the gear setting, and select Settings. Open the “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” tab and select “Add a forwarding address.” Enter your phone’s email address, click Next and then Proceed.

A confirmation number will arrive on your phone via text message. Enter that code in the box provided on and Click “Verify.” Now your phone’s address will be available in the drop-down list next to the “Forward a copy of incoming email to…" IMPORTANT: Leave the "Disable forwarding" radio button selected, or you'll forward ALL your emails to your phone!

Now create a Gmail filter. Click the “Filters” tab and choose “Create a new filter” at the bottom of the page. Enter the email address of that special someone whose email you want to receive via SMS in the “From” field and click “create filter with this search” at the bottom of the window.

On the next page you can choose your phone’s email address from the “forward it” drop-down list, and tell Gmail what else to do with the sender’s message (keep it in the inbox, label it, archive it, etc.) Click the blue “create filter” button and you’re done.

Do NOT check the box that says, “Also apply this filter to matching conversations” unless you want every email that special someone has ever sent you delivered to your phone instantly!

For about a week, a pink banner reminding you about the forwarding will appear at the top of your Gmail window for a few minutes each time you sign in. It's annoying, but it's an important safety precaution. -- Sign in to your account, click the gear icon, choose “Options". Click “Rules for sorting new messages" and then “New.” “Sender contains” is the default condition; just enter the desired sender’s email address in the next box.

Select “Forward to…” in the drop-down box under "Do the following" and enter your phone’s email address in the input box.

Unlike Gmail, does not let your select multiple actions to be performed on a message, such as moving it to a folder after forwarding a copy to your phone. You will have to set up separate rules for such actions, and specify the order in which they are performed.

Outlook (desktop): -- The Outlook desktop mail client in Microsoft Office offers more options than the settings. You can specify multiple actions to be performed on a message in addition to forwarding it to your phone. You can also specify exceptions: conditions under which the sender’s mail will not be forwarded.

To open the Rules wizard in Outlook 2013 or 2013, click “File,” then “Info” and then “Manage Rules and Alerts.” In Outlook 2007 or 2003, click “Tools” and then “Rules and Alerts.”

Depending on your version of Outlook, choose “From people or public group” or “From people or distribution list” to specify that you’re looking for a sender. You can also specify other conditions that must be met before any action is taken.

Select the desired sender from your Contacts or enter the sender’s email address in the “From” box at the bottom of the window. Click OK and then Next.

Under “What do you want to do with the message?” select "Forward it to people or public group" (or "people or distribution list"). Enter your phone’s email address in the “To” field at the bottom of the window. Click OK.

Caution: further down the options list is an option to “forward… as an attachment.” Do not select that one by mistake.

Click “Finish” if you want to receive all messages from the specified sender, or click “Next” to add one or more exceptions to this forwarding rule. For example, you may not want to instantly see an email whose subject contains the words “can I borrow…” Click OK to exit the Rules wizard.

OS X Mail: -- On your Mac, click Mail > Preferences > Rules > Add Rule. Name the rule, then select “From” in the first drop-down menu. Choose “Contains” in the second drop-down, and enter the desired sender’s email address in the text box.

Select “Forward Message” in the “Perform the following actions” drop-down menu, enter your phone’s email address in the “TO” field and anything you wish in the “note” field, and click OK.

As I warned with Gmail, do not “Apply” this rule to all messages in OS X Mail unless you want all of them forwarded to your phone right now. Choose “Don’t Apply” instead.

Yahoo Mail: -- Unfortunately, Yahoo doesn't let you forward your email with any selectivity. You can forward ALL your mail to another address, but you can't select certain people with rules, like other civilized email services allow. Just in case you want to do that, use the Gear Icon, then select Settings. Click Accounts, then click Edit beside "Yahoo account." Select Forward, and enter the address to which you want to forward (ALL) your email.

Ready to start forwarding emails to your phone? Give it a try, and let me know how you like it. Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Forward Emails to Your Phone"

Posted by:

03 Feb 2015

IFTTT (If this, then that) free service is also great for doing things such as this. The possibilities are almost endless.

You can forward such e-mails to from your registered e-mail address, then choose an action, such as a push notification, a phone call, a text message, etc.

Posted by:

ray mcdonald
03 Feb 2015

Not possible with Thunderbird?

Posted by:

03 Feb 2015

Doesn't work. Phone does not receive confirmation :(

Posted by:

03 Feb 2015

A lot of work. I forwarded my yahoo email and my corp email to my gmail account then downloaded the gmail app to my cell. Done. Got email from 3 locations on my cell.

Unless I'm missing something that is a whole lot easier.

Posted by:

03 Feb 2015

When I got my 1st smart phone 2 years ago
at Costco, the kid there set me up a G-Mail
account, and set up a sharing app on my
LG phone with a sharing folder, and I receive
all of my e-mails on my phone. Very handy
when traveling. At home I check my e-mails
before I turn on my phone and that keeps them
off my phone if I don't want them there. Also
I set up the same accounts on my Pad and it
receives everything too. Take Photos, and they
are on my pad and desk set too. Very handy.

Posted by:

04 Feb 2015

GMail already lets you set levels of notification for "important" addressees. I.e you can let it stay silent for all mail received unless it comes from certain addresses.

I haven't really used it yet, but Inbox (from Google) is supposed to be even more powerful.

Lastly (as already mentioned by another poster above) check out IFTTT

Posted by:

04 Feb 2015

I have no trouble checking my email on my old Samsung. (It can do this even tho is come over in a short yellow box.) At this point, my email is not my master.

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