In this guide we’ll detail some of the best text message apps for Android. We’ll also go over why you would want to use one over the stock messaging app on your phone, and how to change it. Manufacturers like Samsung, LG, and HTC have their own messaging apps, but if you don’t like the stock option you can easily change it.
Whether you’re looking for customization, more emoji characters, or unique notifications we have you covered. These apps will replace the stock text messaging app on your phone and still send text or pictures messages with ease. While delivering more features at the same time.
Most stock text apps aren’t all that appealing (we’re looking at you Samsung) and they’re not very customizable either. Thankfully, on Android, you can download any of the hundreds of text messaging replacement apps from the Play Store. These let you change the notification icon, add themes, or a quick compose option right in the notification bar for easy access.
These text apps for Android will take over your texting and picture messages, even if the recipient doesn’t use the same app. It all just works, even if they use an iPhone.
When you replace your stock app with something from the Play Store you’ll probably be able to customize it with themes, change the look of the message bubbles, customize font, and more. The options will vary based on which 3rd party text message app you choose. These are a few of our favorites starting with Textra. Oh, and Google has their own Messenger App, for those interested.
Hands-down the best Android text message app is Textra. At least in my opinion. Over the past year they’ve introduced tons of new features, improved the design, and made it faster than ever before. It’s highly customizable, user-friendly, and just works.
Textra offers tons of customization, and that includes changing the font size. Something many look for when choosing a text app for Android. There’s a dark mode theme, different background color options, and entire themes. Then you can change the incoming or outgoing message bubble size, shape, design and color. And that includes changing the font color of message bubbles.
Another helpful feature from Textra is delivery reports for texts. You can set it to automatically save pictures from text messages to your gallery, and more. My favorite though is the quick reply pop-up for incoming messages.
There’s even an option to have a quick compose bar always present in your notification pulldown bar. So sending a text is fast and easy no matter what you’re doing or what app you have open. Then the attach button (Plus symbol) lets you easily add a photo, take a photo, use emoji and more.
All said and done, Textra is one of the most beautiful apps around. It’s fast, easy to use, smooth and highly customizable. Handcent is a popular Android text app that makes our list, but it’s also convoluted and confusing. That isn’t a problem with Textra.
If you like tons of customization with your text app of choice, try out Chomp. They explain their app as a souped of version of your stock text and mms app, and that’s basically what it is. It isn’t as pretty as Textra but has plenty of options. If you like having pictures behind all your text messages, like a background wallpaper, this is your app.
Just like Textra, you can customize the color of the notification for each individual message. So a different color icon appears for specific contacts. It’s a great touch, and something many enjoy. You can choose from hundreds of free themes to personalize your messaging experience. Some features include scheduled SMS sending, group MMS, delayed send, pinning favorite conversations to the top, and even block certain numbers. Chomp SMS has a quick compose feature too, although we prefer Textra.
Users can long-press messages for more options, or “blacklist” numbers from texting you with ease. It’s another great choice for users.
If some of the few mentioned above aren’t quite what you’re looking for, Hello SMS is a great option worth checking out. It’s a little confusing at first, but it’s basically the Gmail of text message apps. It has tabs and columns for your conversations, making things rather neat once you figure it out.
Hello has tons of animations, a few theme options (light and dark) as well as being extremely fast and fluid. The little circle tabs to the left side are the conversations, displaying the user’s initials, so click there to start a message.
Hello SMS isn’t nearly as customizable as the others, but the simple and clean user interface makes up for all of that. It’s fast, fluid, and free. It might be a little too simple for some, and if so, the others above are perfect for you.
If Hello SMS is a bit too simple for you, check out Handcent. This is probably one of the most customizable and advanced options on the Google Play Store. In fact, they’re almost trying too hard, making the app more difficult than is necessary. It’s a bit convoluted and confusing for most, and I’ve had friends or family members call and ask for help setting it up. Once you do though, it’s great.
The newer flat user interface is better than past versions, but we still prefer Textra. That said, it features quick reply pop ups, vcards, and more. A nice touch is the backup option. Allowing users to save their entire collection of messages, and the custom settings for the app. Making it easy to restore everything to a new phone.
If another user has Handcent you can send messages over WiFi (online messages like WhatsApp) without getting text charges from your carrier. That said, who doesn’t have unlimited text these days?
Handcent even lets you draw little images or doodles and send them as messages, supports more emoji options than most, and simply has more options than almost anything out. If you want control over everything, try this. Keep in mind that too many options can lead to the app being slow or sluggish.
Go SMS Pro
Last but certainly not least is another popular one that’s been around for a while, and that’s Go SMS. The Pro version is free, but there’s also an in-app purchase that unlocks more options. This is the only paid app in our list, but does have a pretty capable free version.
To enjoy the full customization of Go you’ll need to pay for it, which is why this is last on our list. However, once you do, it’s very customizable and a great app full of neat features and controls. Go delivers a “Private Box” for personal messages, and even free online text messaging with GO chat. We like that you can sticky specific conversations to the top of the list like a GF or family member. Also, they support quick reply pop ups like many others in our list.
Go also has auto reply and block spam message controls, scheduled messages, and the paid option lets you backup and save all your messages to the cloud. Perfect for those who bought a new Galaxy S8 and need to transfer all their messages. The only downside here are in-app purchases. To get everything, you’ll need to spend well over $10.
How to Change the Text Message App
Most of these apps will walk you through the process once you install and open the app. Textra, for example, does everything for you. Android even sets the new text app as the “default” message service, so you won’t get double text notifications from the original app on your phone. It won’t allow two to use the SMS service at once.
Simply download one of the apps from our list, then open the application. A pop-up will surface and ask you if you’d like to “set as default” and that’s it. Simply select yes or ok and now it will be your text app from here on out.
Here are the full instructions for Samsung users, and it’s nearly the same for any and all Android devices.
Devices like the Moto Z or Pixel XL come with Google’s own “Android Messages” app installed by default, and it’s pretty good too. Add that to this list and you now have six different options to choose from.
Another honorable mention is the app called mySMS. They let you send and receive texts from your computer or a tablet. Everything syncs across devices and it’s seamless, easy to use, and fast. Perfect for sending texts with your number from a computer at work.
All said and done our favorite is Textra, but we recommend everything in this list. Give one a try today and enjoy all the options and controls. If you think another app is worth adding to the list drop us a comment below.