How to Send and Receive Fax with Your Cell Phone
There’s a new portable fax machine in town. It’s small, includes notifications, it doesn’t need a landline at all. And is called…
...a cell phone!
If you’ve ever wished to be able to send and receive faxes without having to sit next to a fax machine, you’re in luck. Even though you can't connect a fax machine to a cell phone, thanks to the advances in online fax technology you no longer need a machine or a landline, you can send and receive faxes with a computer, including portable ones like smartphones and tablets, using just your Internet connection.
There are two ways you can do this:
- By Faxing from your email
- By Faxing with an app
Fax from your Cell Phone's Email App
For this method you’ll need the help of an online fax service with fax-by-email capabilities. They provide the technology needed to send and receive fax on cell phone as email attachments.
With this alternative, you can send and receive faxes with any computer, and your cell phone is no exception.
Open your preferred email app (we recommend using a Gmail address and the Gmail app, but any app will do) and compose a new email message.
Now, on the TO field, enter the fax number like this: firstname.lastname@example.org. Every fax service has a unique email fax domain, make sure you enter it correctly. Depending on the number don’t forget to add an area code, or an exit code with country code (for international faxes).
Then simply attach the file you want to send as fax. Since you don’t usually go around carrying DOC or XLS files on your cell phones, you can pull them from a cloud storage service, save them on your phone and send them. If you have a physical document, you can take a picture and attach it to the message. Services are able to convert JPG files to fax too.
You can add cover page if you want on the subject field, but if not just press Send.
What about receiving fax on a mobile phone? With a fax by email service, you get a virtual fax number that is linked to your Gmail address at the moment of signing up. Once you pick your number, faxes will start arriving on your inbox automatically. You can read them from your email app or save them for later.
Faxing with a Mobile App
This alternative uses a better integration with your phone. Although faxing by email is extremely easy, who doesn’t love an app that has been designed for that purpose and acts like a portable fax machine on cell phone? Having said that, not all fax apps work the same. It’s important to know the differences:
There are apps that work with online fax service subscriptions, and apps that charge you per faxed page (using with money or “credits”).
We would only recommend using a pay-per-fax app to send a quick document, they have a much higher price per page than monthly services, but it’s no big deal if you are just sending a couple of faxes. When working with stand-alone apps, you should start by learning what types of documents are compatible with their servers.
Apps provided by online fax services have more advantages. The main one is that you can receive faxes on your cell phone using to your online fax number. Depending on the app, you’ll also be able to sign documents electronically without having to print them. Just tap on your digitized signature, move it to the document and send it back!
They way all fax apps work is very similar. To send a fax you use a simple form where you have to enter the fax number, a cover page message and upload the files to be converted to fax. Apps that let you receive faxes will grab incoming faxes from your account and send a copy to your phone, from where you can save it, resend it or store it for later.
Best Fax Apps for iPhone and Android
If you don't know where to start, here are our recommendations of the best mobile fax apps.
eFax Mobile: For Those Who Need to Fax Often
If your business relies on faxing, you need an app that connects to an online fax service. Instead of paying per page, you can pay a small fee to send hundreds of pages per month. Although there are services that have lower prices, it's eFax the one that has the best app on the market.
This app lets you read, send, receive and sign faxes on the go without having to enter your online fax account on a mobile browser. The interface is clean and the app doesn't crash in the middle of transmitting a fax.
Sending a fax is as easy as uploading a file from your phone, from Dropbox or OneDrive but you can also take a photo of a document or get it from your phone's Gallery. The app counts with technology to optimize your documents' photos, making it 100% readable on fax machines. The service is compatible with more than 140 different file formats.
eFax Mobile displays instant notifications of incoming faxes and you can read them right on your app. Faxes arrive automatically through your virtual fax number.
Adding your signature is pretty easy: you "scan it" with your phone's camera or trace it directly in the app. Unless you have a pen to draw your signature in a tablet, the first option is much easier to integrate. eFax's mobile app will optimize the photo of your signature to then save it on your account. Next time you need to sign a fax, you just press on Sign and the app will take care of the rest.
If you want to try how this app works, you don't have to spend money on a new account. Efax lets you try for free their service for 30 days. With your account you can fax from the app, from your email or from your desktop online fax account.
Runner-ups: RingCentral Fax, MyFax.
EasyFax: For Those Who Just Need to Fax a Couple of Pages
From all the alternatives that work with in-app purchases, EasyFax is the one that is easier to use, with a clean and easy-to-use interface that makes faxing a breeze. It's also one of the few pay-per-fax apps that also let you receive faxes. You can purchase a number and receive notifications whenever you send a new fax.
Like most of these apps, it only works with PDFs and image files. But since this is an app that only works over your cell phone, it's enough. You can use your camera to "scan" a document, but the resulting images are not optimized for fax machines.
For new users, EasyFax gives 15 free credits, but if you want to keep on faxing you'll need to start purchasing credits. It costs between $0.25 and $0.50 to send a page, it depends on the location you are sending the fax to. Currently it supports sending international fax to over 30 countries all around the Globe.
Sending a fax is easy with the built-in form, and it is able to integrate with accounts in cloud storage services like Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive and Evernote.
Runner-ups: FaxFile, Genius Fax.