How to schedule text messages on iPhone

Although Apple doesn’t provide a built-in solution in the iPhone Messages app to schedule text messages, there are other ways that allow you to do just that. In this tutorial, we show you two methods to schedule a text message, SMS, or iMessage on iPhone. All you have to do is set the custom text, add the recipient, and the message will be delivered at the specified time.

Apple Calendar and Messages app icons on a dark blue background

Can you schedule a text on iPhone?

Unlike Android, you cannot schedule a text message on iPhone using the Messages app. But thanks to other services like Shortcuts Automation and third-party apps, you can set a timed message and have it sent at the desired time in the future.

Here are two easy ways to send a scheduled text on iPhone:

1. Use Automation to schedule text messages on iPhone

Using the Automation feature of the Apple Shortcuts app, you can schedule a message and send it at a delayed time. Here’s is how you can set and send iPhone scheduled text in the future.

1) Open the Shortcuts app and tap Automation.

2) Tap Create Personal Automation. If you don’t see this, tap the plus icon.

3) Tap Time of Day.

Create Personal Automation in iPhone Shortcuts app

4) Set the time when you want the message to be sent. Make sure to select AM and PM correctly.

5) Tap Monthly and select a date. Now, tap Next.

Set time and date for the scheduled message automation

6) Under Next Action Suggestions, tap Send Message. If you don’t see it, tap Add Action, search for Send Message, and tap it.

Send Message action in Shortcuts automation on iPhone

7) Now, tap the faint blue “Message” word and replace it with what you want to say. I’m going with Happy Birthday.

Type the message you want to schedule

8) Tap the faint blue “Recipients” word, type the person’s name, and select it from contact suggestions. You can also enter a phone number. Tap Done when finished here.

Enter recipient for your scheduled text, SMS, or iMessage on iPhone

9) Tap Next.

10) Under “When,” check everything is correct. Just so you know, this message will be sent every month at this date and time unless you disable or delete this automation. Next, turn off Ask Before Running. This will ensure the scheduled text automation runs without your confirmation.

11) Tap Done.

Scheduled Message automation successfully created on iPhone

You have successfully scheduled the text message to the concerned person at the set time and date, with the desired words. Now you can sit back and let your iPhone do the job for you. Optionally, to ensure everything goes smoothly, make sure you don’t force quit the Messages or the Shortcuts app.

In the screenshots below, you can see that the scheduled message automation we created above ran successfully at the set time and sent the SMS.

Scheduled message automation successful on iPhone

To delete this automation

The scheduled text you created above will be sent each month. Unfortunately, you have to choose a time interval (repeat daily, weekly, or monthly) and you cannot set the automation to run only once. If it’s a payment reminder or something that happens monthly, you can leave it as it is. However, for most types of schedules messages, you may not want to send them each month. So, here’s how to disable or delete the automation.

1) Open the Shortcuts app and tap Automation.

2) Swipe left on the automation and tap Delete.

3) Or, tap the automation and turn off the switch for Enable This Automation > Done, to disable it. In the future, you can switch it back on if required. Plus, you can make changes to it, like setting a different time, date, message, and recipient.

Disable or delete scheduled message automation

2. Use Scheduled app on iPhone to schedule text messages

As mentioned, Apple doesn’t provide a way to schedule text messages from the official Messages app. But thankfully, some third-party options allow you to do just that. An app called Scheduled, as featured in our apps of the week roundup, is one of those.

Via a clean and simple interface, Scheduled lets you draft messages to be scheduled and sent using iMessage, SMS, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, WhatsApp, or even email. For the purpose of this post, we will only look at the iMessage/SMS option.

The limitations of Scheduled

Like other App Store alternatives, scheduled SMS cannot be sent without final interaction with the user. Unfortunately, this is a limitation set by Apple.

Scheduled will allow you to automatically send SMS for a fee, but I doubt this service is valuable enough for most people to actually fork in $1.99 a month.

The way Scheduled works is that it lets you select a recipient, draft a message, and schedule a date and time when you want to be reminded to send this message. When the day and time come, you will receive a notification from Scheduled. After opening that notification, you will then select what method you want to send the message with and hit Send.

So again, this is more of a workaround than a direct scheduling system. The only way to get around this limitation is to use jailbreak tweaks such as Nova, Kairos, or Columba, which will let you schedule iMessages/SMS and send them in the background for you without any interaction when the time comes.

How to schedule SMS or iMessage for later

1) Download Scheduled from the App Store for free. Open the app and allow it access to your contacts and notifications when prompted.

2) Tap the Create Message button.
schedule sms or imessage for later

3) Tap the Select Recipient(s) button and select a contact from your contact list.

4) Tap Your Personal Message and then type your message.schedule text messages on iPhone - type message

5) Tap the Schedule Date button, and select a date and time when you want to be reminded to send that message.

6) Once everything is ready, tap Schedule Message.schedule text messages on iPhone - pick date

7) When the time comes, you will receive a notification reminding you to send that message. Tap the notification to launch the app. It will take you directly where you need to be.

8) Tap the Send With button.

9) Select iMessage/SMS as the way to send the message. This will open up a messaging sheet pre-filled with the recipient and, of course, the message to be sent.

schedule text messages on iPhone - notifications

10) Send the text message or iMessage as you normally would.

schedule text messages on iPhone - text message

While not perfect, Scheduled offers the closest thing you can get to schedule text messages on your iPhone. The app is simple and elegant and offers additional options, such as the ability to import birthday information from your contacts. This is definitely a nice addition to the app.

We’ve talked about similar applications in the past, such as Delayd (free in the App Store), which takes a slightly different approach. I invite you to check out our review of Delayd and figure out if you like it better. Personally, I prefer the Scheduled approach.

Bonus tips related to scheduling text messages on iPhone

Many sites recommend using iOS shortcuts to schedule text messages. It works, but for that, you will have to keep the iPhone unlocked and on the Shortcuts app screen at the time the scheduled message goes out. These conditions make it unusable for almost everyone.

The second option is to create a reminder a few minutes before the scheduled message time. Like if you have to wish someone “Happy Birthday” at midnight, set an 11:55 PM reminder. Then manually create the message and send it. Not an elegant solution, but something you may do.

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