This guide shares a list of the best text messaging apps for Android and explains why you’d want to use a new one over what came pre-installed on your phone. Plus, we’ll show you how to change it. 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 text message app alternatives on the Play Store. These let you change the notification icons, add themes, get more emoji, and usually deliver a faster experience. Try one today.
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.
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 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.
You can get text delivery reports, automatically save pictures from texts to your gallery, or even quickly reply to messages right inside 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 its totally worth it.
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.
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. You’ll enjoy smart replies, different themes, emojis, stickers, RCS-support, and much more. Honestly, it’s probably the only app that truly gives Textra a run for its money.
If you like tons of customization with your text app, 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, this is your app.
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’s another great choice for users.
Another powerful text messaging app is EvolveSMS, from the popular creator of Talon for Twitter. It’s as customizable as anything on this list, but he focused on giving users more notification customization than anything else, which is great.
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.
We also enjoy features like private messages, password encryption, batch-deletes, archives, backup options and more. 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
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.
Once you pay for Go 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 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.
How to Change the Text Message App
Most of these apps will walk you through the steps to set it as your default text app when you first open it. Textra, for example, does everything for you when you open it for the first time. That way you won’t get double text notifications from the original app on your phone. Android doesn’t allow two apps to use the SMS service at once.
So, 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. 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 a text app pre-installed, and some even have Google’s Messages app. If so, keep it and enjoy everything it offers. For everyone else, we recommend trying one of the 5+ 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. Pulse SMS works on computers too. Or, for an app that’s fast and lightweight try Mood Messenger or QKSMS.
All said and done our favorite is Textra, but we recommend everything on 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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