How to Fax from Your Phone Using a Fax Service
Did you know that you can fax from your phone in just a couple of taps? Since the release of smartphones, people have used them for all kinds of tasks, from instant messaging to posting photos on the go, but few people know that they also have the power of a fax machine in their pockets.
Not too long ago, the only way to send a fax was through a big, bulky fax machine that required it to be connected to a dedicated fax line or phone connection. This meant that in order to receive or send faxes you had to stay in the office or hire someone to take care of the fax machine.
In this article you'll learn how to send and receive faxes online using just your cell phone and forget about having a fax machine. What you'll learn here works with all phones, iPhones and Android devices.
What Do I Need to Fax from a Cell Phone?
In order to take advantage of mobile fax, you need the help of an online fax service.
An online fax service will let you use the power of their fax servers to convert physical fax into digital fax and vice-versa. They let you fax from your computer using dozens of different file formats that are automatically converted into fax images, remaining compatible with the oldest fax machines out there.
At the same time they give you a virtual fax number. This number works online which means you only need a connection to the Internet to access your faxes, and it is active all day every day.
There are plenty of great Internet fax services in the market. But we prefer to use those that let you connect to your faxes either by a mobile fax app or a browser-friendly website. We recommend RingCentral Fax or eFax, because they offer both and they let you create a free account for a full month, which is perfect if you've never faxed online before and want to learn the ropes.
Method 1: Installing a Smartphone Fax App
This is the easiest method to fax online, and it's very easy to use. You download the app from the Google Play Store or Apple's Marketplace, and then simply login using your credentials to access your faxing functions.
You must know that there are two types of apps out there: those that work alongside your fax service subscription, and those that charge you per fax or per minute.
We recommend using the first ones, not only you can use them for free with a test-drive account, but they are the only ones that give you a way to send and receive faxes through a free fax number. Unfortunately not all companies have corresponding apps, so make sure to ask before deciding on a service.
Stand-alone apps are great to send faxes occasionally, but they don't provide you with a fax number or advanced features such as scheduling.
Faxing from an app is a pretty straightforward affair. Open the app using your username and password and select the task you want to do. You can send a fax, receive and sign faxes on the go. Here's how the send screen looks on RingCentral as an example:
How to Send Faxes from a Phone
You have different ways to attach the file you want to fax:
- By taking a photo of a physical document.
- Uploading documents or photos stored on your mobile device.
- Pulling documents from cloud storage services like Google Drive or Box. (Not all services have this feature).
Just fill out the details on the fax and press the Send button or schedule it for later. The documents will be converted to fax images prior to being sent. Afterwards, you'll receive a confirmation message letting you know all the details of the transmission.
Faxing providers are able to convert multiple file types. You can fax a PDF document, or a Word document without having to take extra steps.
Receiving Fax on Your Phone
Receiving faxes is an automatic process. Since your virtual fax number automatically "grabs" incoming faxes you only need to activate your notifications to see if you have received new faxes. You can then read them on your fax apps and forward them from the app.
A cool little feature some apps have is the ability to sign faxes electronically. To configure this option you'll have to upload your digitized signature, either using a phone or a pen tablet.
Once it is saved in your account, you can use them in all incoming faxes by dragging it into the part of the document you want, the app will send a fax back. This is perfect for contracts and business proposals.
You can receive fax from any fax machine, even the really old ones. Fax servers convert this fax image to a digital document you can read on your screen.
Method 2: Using Your Phone's Web Browser to Fax
While only some services offer mobile apps to fax online, all of them let you fax through their webpage. On your chosen provider's members area you can find all the tools you need to send, receive and manage your faxes.
Just log into your member's account with your user info following the instructions of your fax service provider and enter the fax transmission section.
The main advantage of using this method is that it gives you access to some advanced features that are not present in the apps.
For example, in this area you'll be able to link your fax account with third party services that you can then use to have your faxes stored in the cloud.
In your account you'll also find a complete log of all the faxes you've sent and received during the time of your subscriptions. These faxes will remain stored always in case you need them for future reference.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Can I Download Fax Apps for Mobile Devices?
They are easily found in the your App store. Remember that not all services offer a fax solution for mobile devices, so please check before signing up through an app.
Do I Need Extra Equipment?
No, you just need your cell phone and an Internet connection. Your fax number is always active so you can always receive fax on your app and another copy will be stored in your email inbox. You may only need a printer if you want to have a physical copy of the document.
Do I Need A New Phone Number?
No, you keep the same cell phone number to receive calls using your mobile telephone network. Virtual fax numbers are only linked to your app or email via your online fax account.
Do I Need A Special Operating System for my Phone?
Users can fax from Android and iPhone OS, just make sure you have the latest update to avoid bugs and apps crashing. When you download the app you can check its OS requirements.
What Happens If My Fax Provider Doesn't Have an App?
If your fax company doesn't have an app, check that at least you can send faxes through your web browser using a page that is mobile-friendly for its users.
What Are the Advantages of Mobile Faxing
Freedom to Fax Anywhere
Fax anywhere without having to stay connected to a physical fax machine, send, receive and sign faxes electronically in just a few taps.
Send and Receive Faxes Fast
Faxing online is a whole lot faster than traditional faxing, and what's better, once you press Send it is a totally hands-free process. You can send faxes using your app just by filling out a form or via email, receiving fax is automatic.
Your Own Fax Number
Receive faxes automatically on your cell phone fax app and your email address thanks to the free number that is given to you at the moment of creating your account. Choose between a local, toll-free fax number or keep your own.
It's Cost Effective
Online fax providers have affordable plans that start from $10-$15 and let you fax hundreds of fax pages per month. No more wasting money on paper for your fax documents and toner costs. If you don't want to spend money at first, you can sign up for a free trial. Your account is active for 30 days, a free trial usually gives you access to a standard plan with a fax number to receive free fax to Gmail too.
Add a digitized version of your signature and forget about printing contracts, proposals, and other documents that need it.
It's 100% secure
Fax services go the extra mile to ensure their plans include the latest in online security and encryption. Some services also offer HIPAA compliant faxes which are needed to handle patient information security and following the law.
Beside letting you fax via phone, fax providers offer different advanced fax features including: compatibility to send faxes over Gmail and other free email providers, scheduling, broadcasting (the ability to send a fax to multiple recipients at the same time), integration with third party services, and additional fax number recipients.
As you can see, it's very easy to use your cell phone to fax online. There are plenty of services you can try, but we recommend you go with reputable companies. Why? These providers have already years of experience developing their apps and are less likely to suffer issues.