Jitterbug Text Message

Jitterbug text messages are easy to send and receive once you activate the service. That's right, you have to activate it. Because this cell phone is designed to be easy to use, the company set it up so only the basic services are installed. This makes it easy for those who have difficulty using a cell phone to perform its most basic tasks, which is to make and receive calls. However if you're comfortable with the basic functions you can start to add the additional services.

Activating Text Messaging

You have to call up Jitterbug customer service to activate the text messaging service. (Note: When you call you always have to verify your Jitterbug phone number and your complete address including zip code.) As long as you have the J model or later, they can go ahead and activate the "Simple Text" text messaging service.

They say you have to make sure to leave the phone on for up to the next four hours so that the update can take place. In practice, however, these updates have taken only about 15 minutes so far.

How it Works

Once your phone has updated, there will be a "Text Messages" menu item. All you have to do is select it and press "Yes". Then you decide whether to send, receive or delete a text message. Since you've just installed the service, let's send a message.

Sending a Text message

You will be asked if you want to create your own message. If you choose "Yes", then you can start composing your message in the standard way (there is no predictive text or iTap etc). To choose a letter on the key, you press it once if it the first letter on the key, twice if it is the second letter on the key, and thrice if it is the third letter on the key.

Once you're "Done?" select "Yes" to choose a recipient. You can choose anyone in your Jitterbug's phonebook or type in a new number and select "Yes" when you're done. The Jitterbug text message is immediately sent.

Receiving Texts

When a messages arrives, you can just click Yes to indicate that you want to read it. If you've signed up for their Health Tips service, these will arrive as text messages once a day.

Pre-Written Messages

There are also 20 pre-written messages you can send. These are quite useful, and more important very convenient. Instead of clicking "Yes" to Compose your own message", don't click "No", but rather press the down arrow which take you to the pre-written messages. You just select which one you want by clicking "Yes", then choose the recipient from the phone book or dial the number and click "Yes" to send.

These are the pre-written messages:

  • How are you?
  • Call me
  • Yes
  • No
  • I'm busy
  • Love you
  • I miss you
  • Thank you
  • Congrats!
  • Happy Birthday
  • Doing fine
  • Thinking of you
  • Feel better
  • Have a great day
  • Good night
  • You're welcome
  • Where are you?
  • Will arrive soon
  • Will call you later
  • On my way

Text Message Quick Start Guide in the Mail!

About a week after activating the Simple Text service, I receive a Quick Start guide in the mail. This is a fold-out brochure that goes through everything in detail with pictures and text. I even learned a few things:

  • The "0" button enters the "0" character in any text message
  • The "#" button adds a space
  • Pressing the "*" button switches the modes from 123, ABC,Abc-s,Abc-W and abc (more on this below)
  • The "No" button moves back a space or deletes the previous character
  • You press the "1" button to cycle through these special characters: ". , - ' @ " ! ? / 1"


  • 123 Mode is for entering numbers in your text message
  • ABC Mode is for entering capital letters
  • Abc-s Mode is for capitalizing only the first letter of a sentence
  • Abc-W Mode is for capitalizing the first letter of every word (this I didn't know)
  • abc Mode is for entering all lower case letters

I'm impressed by the clarity and completeness of the guide.

So, I hope you can see that sending and receiving text messages on your Jitterbug phone is pretty easy.

Update: No Left-Right Arrow Keys

jitterbug flip phone arrow keys

One aspect of texting with their flip phones that I didn't notice until recently is that there are no left-right arrow keys on this phone, only up-down keys. If you make an error while composing the message, you usually have to delete what you wrote after the error instead of navigating to the typo and correcting it.