These are the best text messaging apps for Android in 2020. This guide explains why you should use one of these apps instead of what came pre-installed on your phone, and how to text or make calls for free. Plus, we’ll show you how to change your text app. Texting is something we all do daily, and these apps will make texting better and easier.
Most pre-installed text messaging apps aren’t very good, nor are they customizable. Thankfully, on Android, you can download dozens of texting app alternatives on the Play Store. These let you change the notification icons, bubbles, add themes, make phone calls, text over WiFi, get more emoji, and deliver a faster experience. Try one today.
Best Text Messaging Apps for Android
- Textra SMS
- Google Messages
- Chomp SMS
- Pulse SMS
- Handscent Next SMS
- Go SMS Pro
- Facebook Messenger
- Mood Messenger
- Yaata SMS
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 into the new app. So don’t worry about losing anything, just enjoy everything you gain and any new features. And if you’re one that texts all the time and need more battery, try this portable battery charger.
Hands-down the best text messaging app for Android is still Textra, even here in 2020. At least in my humble 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 lets you change everything. From the font size, color, or bubbles, to an entire dark mode or custom backgrounds. I like being able to make the font and bubble colors what I want, then match the notification icon to that color. You can change the notification icon for individual contacts, too.
This app offers text delivery reports, will automatically save pictures from texts to your gallery, and we love the quick reply option in the notification pulldown bar. There’s even an option to have a quick compose bar always present in your notification shade so you can send a text without opening any apps.
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. They do have an optional in-app purchase, but it’s totally worth it. Otherwise, you’ll have a little ad at the end of your conversation list.
Perhaps the best overall text messaging app, or experience, is Google’s own Android Messages app. Luckily, it’s already installed on several phones on the market today and it’s full of useful features. It’s what we recommend the most, and is your best bet if you don’t want to customize everything on Textra.
Google’s Messages app is fast, easy to use, customizable, and even has an option where you can send and receive texts from a computer or tablet, send texts for free, and even make calls over wifi. You’ll enjoy smart replies, different themes, emojis, stickers, RCS-support, and much more.
Furthermore, at the end of 2019 Google finally turned on full RCS support in Messages for US users, which gives you iMessage features on Android. Carriers are working on something similar, but hopefully, they all just integrate into something like Google Messages. Honestly, it’s probably the only app that truly gives Textra a run for its money.
If you like tons of customization with your texting setup, try 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, give Chomp a try.
Just like Textra, you can customize the color of notifications for each specific contact, if you want. 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 number blocking. 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 works with Pushbullet, MightyText, supports dual SIM for texting and more. It’s another great choice for users.
Pulse SMS (Previously EvolveSMS)
Another powerful text messaging app is Pulse SMS, from the developer of the old EvolveSMS app. The developer is popular in the world of Android, known for making great apps that are highly customizable, and Pulse is no exception. It’s a great text app alternative worth considering and we love all the notification controls and options.
Not only can you customize every aspect of this application, but you can apply entire themes with ease. Or, download additional themes from the Play Store from 3rd party creators, making the options endless. It’s fast, easy to use, works with Wear OS, and you can even send or view GIFs and videos inside the app. Yes, GIF support in a 3rd party text app.
We also enjoy features like private messages, password encryption, batch-deletes, archives, text message backup options, Wifi messaging or calling and more. You can even send a text from the web through Pulse and your phone. Yes, this app has a little of everything.
Handcent Next SMS
If your default app 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, it’s almost too customizable. 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.
Handcent recently revamped its look and changed the name to Handcent Next, but we still prefer Textra. That said, it features quick reply pop-ups, vcards, themes, skins, and a powerful backup and restore system. Allowing you to save your entire text message collection and even your custom settings. That way getting Handcent setup on a new phone is a breeze.
If another user has Handcent you can send messages over WiFi (online messages like WhatsApp) without getting text charges from your carrier. Or, use Anywhere to send texts from a PC.
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
Another popular one that’s been around for a while is GO SMS, for several reasons. The Pro version is free, but an in-app purchase will unlock even more options and features that make it very powerful. This is the only paid app in our list but it does have a pretty capable free version.
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 on our list.
Go also has auto-reply and spam blocking controls, scheduled messages, and the paid version lets you backup and save all your messages to the cloud. That way you can instantly restore them on a new phone. The only downside is you’ll have to spend almost $10 to get everything it has to offer.
Considering millions of people still use Facebook daily, and the Facebook Messenger, it had to make our list. Plus, this messenger has a few added benefits and features people will enjoy.
For one, you can choose to combine your phone text messages with Facebook Messages all into the app, giving you one unified area for communications, which is nice. Then, you get all the obvious benefits of Facebook if you’re someone that uses the platform often.
It’s not the most battery-friendly app and there are ads, but Facebook fans will feel right at home and be happy to know this can do everything if you let it. Plus, it’s probably already on your phone.
Another solid option is Mood Messenger, which actually has a lot of fans for various reasons. On the flipside, the free version is just a basic text messages application. You’ll have to pay $1.99 a month or more for all the best features that make it a standout app.
Our favorite aspects of Mood are the dark mode, number blacklisting for spam messages (or an X) and the SMS encryption security. But again, that stuff costs money and isn’t included in the free version. For a single $10.99 payment you get almost everything, and the monthly subscription gets you text backup and restore, tons of themes, a privacy locker to secure and hide text messages, and more.
This next one is rather new to our list, but could be one of the best, simplest and most enjoyable text messenger apps for Android. It’s an open-source app so other people can improve on it or add features, should they have the technical know-how. For everyone else, keep reading to learn more.
QKSMS is amazingly simple, clean, and easy to understand. There’s not a bunch of colors or themes everywhere, although you can add them if you want. It’s also ad-free, fast, and has a bunch of text and mms privacy features. Not to mention usual things like customization, text backup and restore, text message scheduling, night mode and a pretty helpful search mode. That way you can search for a name or a specific term to find it in a long conversation thread, which is nice.
For how powerful and useful this app can be, it’s still very easy to use and has a clean and simple interface.
Last but not least, for now, is a rather new text messaging app called Yaata that a lot of people are really enjoying. Don’t mind the screenshots of jibberish below, and instead, check out all the features and options it has to offer.
With Yaata you’re getting almost one or two features from everything in our list, making it one overall excellent text app. We like the SMS blacklisting, text auto-reply features, and the ability to backup and restore text messages with ease. However, some of those require a subscription.
Additionally, Yaata SMS offers things like chat-head popups similar to the Facebook Messenger for quick and easy replies, Wear OS support, and even text message widgets for quick and easy access. I don’t like the idea of my text messages being visible in a widget on my homescreen, but for some people that’ll be very helpful. While it’s still new and has some bugs to fix, it’s a great alternative worth trying.
How to Change Your Text Message App
When you download a new text app for Android you’ll have to tell your phone to use it over the one that came pre-installed. Most of these apps will walk you through the steps and setup process the first time you use it. Textra, for example, does everything for you when you open it for the first time. It’ll have you set Textra as your “Default Text App” in settings. That way you won’t get double text notifications from the original app on your phone, and your phone knows to use Textra instead of say — Samsung’s Messenger.
So, simply download one of our Android messaging apps from the list, then open it up. 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. Or, head to settings, tap the magnifying glass to search, and look for “Default Apps” and change your default SMS app.
Here are the full instructions for Samsung users, or any Android phone for that matter.
Most devices come with at least one messenger program pre-installed, and some even have Google Messages too. If so, keep it and enjoy everything it offers. For everyone else, we recommend trying one of the 10 apps above over your carriers text app. Like Verizon Messages, get rid of that ASAP.
Another honorable mention is the mySMS app. 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 or Pulse, but we recommend everything on this list. Give one a try today and enjoy all the options and controls.