Testing SMS Texting apps with app inventor


two emulators used to test an app inventor app

I stumbled upon a solution to a long-standing issue I’ve had with App Inventor which is how to test, without a phone, apps that process SMS texts in some way. The issue is important because not all schools and developers have phones, but texting apps are fun and important so you’d like to be able to develop and test them even if you don’t have an Android.

So I was trying to build a screencast for the No Texting While Driving tutorial, and I  wanted to be able to test/show the app on-screen. So I googled (go figure) and found out that the emulator id# serves as a phone number (go figure again, and why didn’t I try this before). So the solution is to open multiple emulators (click new emulator in app inventor twice). Connect one of them to app inventor and run the app on it, then use the normal texting app on the other to text the emulator running the app (with phone number something like 5554)

So now you can build/test SMS texting apps without owning an Android phone. I’m happy!



6 Responses

  1. 3 Question:
    1) How to get the “delivered notification” ? The built in texting has that feature, how to get the same in appinventor?

    2) And how to know if a text is successfully sent? I use Axis in Indonesia that oftenly failed in sending messages. Using appinventor it told me nothing, i never know wether it is ever leaving my phone or fail.

    3)And how to make the sent box appeared in the built in sent box? Any text sent by appinventor didnt apear anywhere in my samsung galaxy mini.

  2. Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Spending some time and actual effort
    to produce a great article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.

  3. I am trying this but when I try to send a message it just keeps saying sending and never sends – is there a way to set up the phones?

  4. Is it possible that I want to create a button for SMS. When click the buttonSMS, then got to phone message box – create new message.

  5. I can’t seem to click on the emulator button twice.. Once the first one gets set up, the button goes grey and un-clickable. Do you have any advice on how else I can send an sms to an emulator?

  6. This post may be dated and should be taken down. As mentioned by @lisaparksy, only one instance of emulator can run at a time. The AppInventor pages do not mention any support for doing what is described here. It may have worked with earlier versions of AppInventor but is not supported any longer.

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