Despite the presence of online messaging apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat, you can’t really do without sending SMS or text messages and they remain one of the most used features on Android phones even in 2017. Unfortunately, most stock texting apps are found lacking in features and aren’t always as visually appealing as you’d like them to be.
This is where the beauty of Android shines because like everything else, you can also replace your phone’s stock messaging app with third-party texting apps which come with new features, fresh visuals and can be seamlessly integrated with your SMS service.
Given all this, we’ve decided to update our list of the best Android SMS or Texting Apps that you can download for free to replace your stock messaging app.
#1. Textra SMS
Even now Textra remains number 1. When it comes to SMS replacement apps you can’t really beat features offered by Textra (by the developers behind Chomp SMS). Not only is the app visually beautiful (it follows Material Design guidelines from Android Lollipop 5.0), it is fast, smooth and doesn’t have any bloatware.
The app’s size is also quite small at just over 3 MBs which means even low-end phones can install it without any issues.
You also get a lot of themes, the option to use dark mode, get floating SMS notifications, schedule messages to go out at certain times and set up delayed sending which can prevent messages from being sent out by mistake. If all this wasn’t enough, Textra also throws in message blocking, quick reply option and the ability to take photos and send them via MMS to your whole group of friends if you want.
Still need more reasons? Well, it has a ton of emojis built-in, works with Android Wear, is compatible with services like Pushbullet, supports dual-sim Android phones and is free to download from the Play Store.
#2. Chomp SMS
Chomp SMS is among the more popular text messaging apps available on the Play Store and excels when it comes to customization options. It is developed by the guys behind Textra SMS.
You can choose from hundreds of free themes to personalize your messaging experience and some of the features include scheduled SMS sending, group MMS, delayed messages, pinning favorite conversations to the top, blocking certain numbers and sending quick replies.
Recommended for you: 10 Best Instant Messaging (IM) Apps for Android 2017
You can also customize your SMS notifications according to your contacts by setting up vibration patterns and LED colors for alerts. Chomp SMS also works with Android Wear, brings over 1,600 emojis and is free to download.
#3. Handcent SMS
Handcent SMS has been an excellent stock messaging replacement app with a ton of features fans love. Now the app has received a major update and is even better. Apart from hundreds of skins and themes available for free, you can send free texts online to your contacts who also have Handcent SMS installed.
Moreover, the Handcent Anywhere feature allows you to save your contacts to the cloud and send text messages from your computer or tablet.
Contact based notification customizations are also available along with a complete backup option for all your text messages. For those of you who are concerned about private texts, the app has a Private Box, which is a restricted area only accessible via a password.
Handcent Talk is another feature allowing you to talk to your Handcent friends for free. The usual scheduled SMS, group MMS and Emoji icons are also present and the app supports vCards and multiple languages as well.
#4. GO SMS Pro
If you own an Android device you must have come across an app or two by the GO Dev Team. Just like their keyboard, launcher and browser apps, they also have a great text messaging app called GO SMS Pro.
Like its peers, the app supports a lot of customization options courtesy themes and stickers which are updated regularly and has some staple features like a Private Box for personal messages, free online text messaging with GO chat, sticky conversation and quick reply pop-ups.
You can also block unwanted numbers from sending you texts and the app works well with dual-sim phones which are also becoming increasingly common. Delayed sending and cloud backup of all texts are also supported and the app, like others, is free.
#5. QKSMS – Quick Text Messenger
QKSMS or Quick SMS is a sleek looking texting app that actually makes you want to text with its simple but fluid interface.
The developers behind it are very dedicated and are constantly working to improve the app which they say will never push ads, ever, and is fully open source. Features in the free version include themes, night mode, quick reply and group messaging.
If you choose to go pro, you’ll be getting even more themes and automatic night mode switching according to the time of the day.
#6. Google Messenger
Most people know about Google Hangouts which also supports text messaging, but few are aware that Google has a dedicated texting app for Android called Messenger.
While it won’t give you a lot of features, it focuses on the core functionality and provides a fluid and pleasing user interface.
You can send SMS and MMS messages with media files to your whole group of friends and search through your existing conversations for specific texts. The app also supports emoji icons, message archiving and blocking SMS senders you don’t want to receive texts from.
EvolveSMS is developed by the team behind Sliding Messaging Pro which is one of our favorite paid texting apps.
However, EvolveSMS is free and supports group messaging, lockscreen widgets, password protection, emoji icons and Android wear support along with unlockable themes and a fluid interface.
If you want you can unlock more features from within the app, but a lot of those are already available for free on other texting apps on this list.
Meanwhile, you might want to read: 10 Best Emoji Keyboard Apps for Android
#8. Smitten SMS (CM Messaging)
If you’re a fan of the stock Cyanogen Mod 10 messaging app you’re going to love Sliding SMS, which is now known as Smitten SMS.
It has the same simple, minimalistic interface with features like quick reply, pop-up notifications, sliding user interface, breathing notification icons, emoji icons support, show/hide contact image and dark/light themes.
The version available on the Play Store costs $2, but you can visit the link to XDA forums below to download the latest free version of this texting app.
#9. Wivi SMS
Wivi SMS has great potential as a messaging app but suffers on account of performance issues which take points away from it.
On the bright side it has a great interface which is visually appealing and focuses on the sending and receiving of rich media.
You get beautiful previews for every link shared and chatting with other Wivi SMS users over the internet is free. Emoji support is also present and the developers promise that the app will never push ads.
The app is not available on the Play Store as of now, but we will update the link as soon as it is back.
#10. Now SMS
Now SMS borrows from Google Now for its visual guidelines and is a simple texting app which could be better with more features and performance improvements.
Currently it supports Emoji icons, SMS and MMS messaging and custom contact notifications like vibration patterns and LED color changes.
More features are available in the premium version which unlocks themes and the quick reply option. However, since most of these options are already available for free on other apps, Now SMS needs to do better.
#11. Mood Messenger – SMS & MMS
Mood Messenger is a relatively new SMS and MMS app for Android which comes with, what the developers call, ‘Smart Emojis’ which are predicted according to your mood and the words you use for tying in your texts.
Over the internet you are allowed to send free messages to contacts, which works a lot like Instant Messaging, but its a good feature to have. Another handy feature is the ability to mark conversations private and keep them from showing up the conversation lists.
Mood Messenger is an interesting texting app for sure and we recommend you give it a try if you want to replace your stock app with something fresh.
textPlus is not a purely SMS or texting app as it also brings IM elements with free texting and calling over a decade. The plus point here is that you also get a free phone number with it and you can send and receive unlimited texts to numbers in US and Canada.
Some people don’t like the ads in this app, but those are to be expected if you’re looking for a free service. They do however have a premium version where the ads are removed. Your chat and calling history is also saved on the cloud for easy access and even inbound calls etc are free on your local number.
If you’re interested in such a free text/call solution – textPlus is the app you should be going for.
#13. SMS from Android 4.4
A lot of people actually like the old SMS app from Android 4.4 and that’s what you get here. It is a little buggy at times, especially with SMS notifications, but if you’re looking for a clean, classic looking texting app, this is good.
Before you start using it though, you should test to make sure it is sending SMS and MMS messages correctly. Additionally, it also has an automatic Caller ID feature that uses a database from the internet, but you can disable it easily via settings.
That’s it for now folks. We’ve updated our list of the best SMS and text messaging apps for Android and hope you like this selection. Have you tried any of these text messaging apps on your phone? We’d love to hear your suggestions and opinions on these and any other texting apps you think deserve a mention.