These are the best text messaging apps for Android available in 2018. We’ll explain why you’d want to use one of these over the text app that came with your phone, and how to change it. Texting is something we all do daily, and these apps will make texting better and easier.
Whether you’re looking for more emoji characters, extra customization, or unique notifications we have you covered. These apps will replace the stock text messaging app on your phone, deliver more features, and still be simple to use and enjoy.
Most built-in text messaging apps aren’t all that great (we’re looking at you LG) and they’re not very customizable. Thankfully, on Android, you can download dozens of text message app alternatives on the Play Store. These let you change the notification icons, add themes, or a quick compose messages right in the notification bar for easy access.
When you download a new text messaging app for Android you don’t have to transfer anything. All of your text, MMS, and conversations will automatically transfer inside of the new app. So don’t worry about losing anything, just enjoy everything you gain and any new features.
These are a few of our favorite Android text messaging apps starting with Textra. Oh, and Google has their own Messages App too, for those interested.
Hands-down the best text messaging app for Android is Textra. At least in my opinion. It’s fast, full of helpful features or customization, and is constantly improving. It’s one of the most user-friendly options on the market.
Textra offers tons of customization, and that includes changing the font size. Something many look for when they replace their texting app. There’s a dark mode theme, different background color options, and entire themes. Not to mention 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 or the repeat notifications.
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.
All said and done, Textra is beautiful, easy to use, customizable and fast. Some apps on our list are great, but they’re not very easy to use. That’s not a problem with Texta.
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 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 that. It’s fast, fluid, and free. It might be a little too simple for some, and if so, the others on our list 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 an in-app purchase will unlock 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 the first time you open it. 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 Pixel 2 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.
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