I send and receive a lot of SMS and have always missed the feature of forwarding messages. I was also looking for a cheaper SMS service (cheaper, not free :)).
I thought that carriers would not allow any other SMS app that competes against iPhone’s native SMS app. Surprisingly though, the App Store does have number of iPhone apps that claim to send free SMS. Unfortunately, none of these apps deliver and have barely managed to get past the single star rating in the App store.
Note: biteSMS only works if you have a jailbroken iPhone.
Finally, I found a perfect app called biteSMS at Cydia, the application management/installation package for jailbreak apps, and it has been a delight ever since I downloaded this app. I have been using this app for quite sometime and wanted to write about it so others can take advantage.
How to get this app?
Launch Cydia and type ‘biteSMS’ in the Search section.
Click and install the one that reads ‘from BigBoss & Planet iPhone’. (this app should be the first one in the list and has a symbol of little pink box)
biteSMS app does not claim to be a free SMS service, it charges a certain amount for sending a set number of SMS. I think the reason its cheaper is because it uses iPhone’s data connection and not over the iPhone carrier’s network.
Once you have installed the app, it will ask you to buy credits. Each credit allows you to send one SMS, you can choose from the available list of credits and if required change the Payment Currency that suits yours.
In order to send SMS, you can buy credits from biteSMS for 10 cents a message. If you want to send the messages using your phone carrier then you should go for the full license for $5.95 (remember that it does not include any credits).
You then have to enter your mobile number (iPhone) and select the relevant country.
I found it extremely easy to switch to biteSMS as my primary SMS app. Once you have installed the app and bought credits, go to the Settings section in the biteSMS app and select ‘biteSMS’ option under “Send SMS Messages via”. The app will keep a display the number of credits left with each SMS that you send using this app.
When you open the biteSMS app, it will show you all the existing conversations similar to the way they are shown in iPhone’s native SMS app.
You can delete a messages by swiping your finger across it and hitting the ‘delete’ option, or by using Edit option to remove the messages.
If you want to send a new message then just click on the new message icon at the top right. This will open up a New Message screen, select the recipients and type the message.
Note: Next to the text box, you will see a big button that will read ‘Send via biteSMS’ or ‘Send via Carrier’. You can switch between carriers by pressing and holding this button.
biteSMS comes with many features that go beyond the current capabilities of iPhone’s native SMS app. Although, the iPhone OS 3.0 should be able to bridge some of these gaps.
Forward Messages: The most notable feature is the ability to forward messages. Just swipe across any conversation or message bubble and it will come up with an option menu. If you select ‘Forward’ then it will take you to a new screen (with the selected message already typed in). Just select the contact(s) that you want to forward the message to and hit the send button.
Landscape Mode: You can type text messages in landscape mode. As I am more comfortable typing in landscape mode, I found it really useful.
Quick Reply: This feature allows you to send an instant reply to an incoming message, while using any iPhone app so it saves you the trouble of exiting the iPhone app and launching biteSMS to reply to a text message. The ‘send’ buttons displays a small bubble on top, pink colour indicates that the message will be sent via biteSMS app and blue color indicates that the message will be sent via the phone carrier. Switching carriers is easy, just press and hold the ‘Send’ button and a nice little glow will let you know that the carriers have been switched.
Quick Compose: This is another smart feature. In order to quickly compose a new message while you are using any other iPhone app, simply press the Volume Up button and then click on the ‘Quick Compose SMS’ button that appears on your iPhone screen.
Privacy: Under the ‘Settings’ option, you can choose if you want to hide the identity of the sender or the entire message from getting displayed.
Emoticons: Just right-swipe on the text box and you will see the list of emoticons. Simply click the one you want to use. This feature is only available for iPhone firmware 2.2 and higher.
I found this app to be a good replacement to the built-in SMS application on iPhone. biteSMS comes with loads of smart and very useful features and most importantly it works! The iPhone OS 3.0 will come with most of the features that biteSMS currently has and biteSMS is gearing up for it by planning to introduce MMS, full landscape and more features that will eventually get clearer with time.
Let me know what you think about biteSMS in the comments section below!