Hackberry, not Blackberry, using Gmail & any cel phone


So I was helping a friend at work try and set up his new cel phone to send emails and I got to thinking about how losers (like me) that don’t have fancy pda phones can get important email pushed to them.

The key is that most cel phones on major networks have a built in capability to receive emails, so everyone who has a phone has a mobile email address (i think). Take my provider, Cingular, for example; you can send a short text message to anyone on the cingular network by entering their phone number @cingularme.com. i.e. 3335551234@cingularme.com

The way I have it working is that Gmail forwards email to my phone’s email address. But I don’t want gmail to send every email I get to my phone, so I set up an email filter in Gmail.


Under the ‘create a filter’ section of Gmail, type a word in the ‘Has the words’ section. Make it something relevant, but somewhat uncommon, so you don’t gut accidental forwards to your phone.


Click on ‘Next Step’ and check the box next to ‘Forward it to:’ and type in your phones email address.


Now all you have to do is tell anyone you want to be able to email you in important situations to include that word in their subject or email body. Tada! Somewhat instant round-a-bout gmail mobile email push thing.

Great for:

  • Send quick address info
  • Brief turn by turn directions
  • A phone number
  • Bank account updates (you will need to set up your online bank account to notify you when your balance drops dangerously low)
  • Grocery lists (an ongoing obsession of mine)

A small caveat regarding this method, mobile text messages are restricted in length, so tell yer peeps to keep it short, and to remove any lengthy signatures or those pesky legal disclaimers, otherwise you will receive the entire email in a series of chopped messages.

UPDATE: For those interested in trying this out, you can try to find your phone’s email address here. It looks like each provider has multiple email setups, so i would try emailing your phone until it buzzes. Also, when trying out different email addresses for my phone, some arrived with better formatting than others. i.e. @cingularme.com arrives in a better layout than @mobile.mycingular.com Ymmv

23 thoughts on “Hackberry, not Blackberry, using Gmail & any cel phone

  1. blmjr

    That’s a wonderful hack!


    How would I find out my email address from T-Mobile? Or other friends on other networks?

    I would LOVE to text message from my desk instead to laboriously typing on a phone keypad…

    Thanks for the tip!

  2. U

    your phones email address? What do you mean by this. – is that US only?

    In google calendar there is a option to recieve sms when the appointment is due.
    Can’t you just type the phone number?

  3. Jim Stahly

    I figured mine out (a Sprint) by text messaging my e-mail from my cell phone. From there, it was just the “from” address.

  4. ziret

    Why not just send it to your phone’s email address directly, rather than through gmail first? I don’t see the advantage of adding an extra step, but I’m sure there must be one.

    Also, if you don’t know your phone’s @whatever.com address, you can use @teleflip.com. Bank of America does this and sends me my bank balance and notice of any deposits every morning.

    Lastly, your phone may be able to use Google’s Gmail client.

  5. Ben Murphy Post author


    Are you able to receive regular SMS messages?

    Not sure why it wouldn’t be working. Might have to do with your Cingular account, or make sure you enter the email as xxxxxxxxxx@cingularme.com with only the 10 digit phone number, no dots dashes or 1 at the beginning.

    Also, I’m not sure how Cingular is handling the merge with ATT, and if that might effect some people’s experience with this.

  6. Jim C.

    In Chicago, there is an informal public transit alert via http://www.ctatattler.com . You’re supposed to include the rail line or the bus route number in the message. I suggested filtering through Gmail so you only get the messages you’re interested in.

  7. jo

    gmail already has a little java ap that can be downloaded (and on my motorola v360 (vodafone nz) is accessed from the java apps folder) which i use to access my gmail – which is my primary email application – i use it all the time when i’m away from my computer …

  8. Solanum

    I cam up with this on my own, too. I had the filter add a star to the desired message and forward it to my Verizon phone’s SMS email. I tested the filter by sending myself a message with the keywords. Gmail added the star (indicating that it did filter the message), but my phone never got the txt message (I previously tested to make sure I had the right SMS email).

  9. Andrew

    hi guys…….
    i use a Vodafone(previously known As HUTCH) connection….im in India(CHENNAI)
    how do i forward my mails to my phone……
    ANy Solutions…….

  10. Pingback: MakeUseOf Extra #34 | MakeUseOf.com

  11. sankalp


    Emansio is a Windows Mobile plug-in for pocket Outlook that enables push mail for most email providers like Google etc…

    A free fully functional trial is available for download from http://www.emansio.com .


    Sankalp (Emansio Team)

  12. J.R.

    Well done. Thanks a lot. I was just about to try to hack together a Greasemonkey script to do just that, but this works perfectly.

    Thanks for sharing.


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