SMS (short message service) and texting were very popular before smartphones came, but with the advent of OTT instant messaging apps, texting has become more of an alternate service, which is still useful in certain cases (when you don’t have internet connectivity).
Another reason why people prefer instant messaging over texting is that most stock texting apps are found lacking in features and do not support rich communication (like videos, animations, GIFs and so on). While iOS users have iMessage, which is a native texting app, Android users have the option of choosing from a variety of third-party texting apps.
Whether you want to try a new texting app for your Android phone or tablet, our list of the best SMS texting apps below is likely to have something that meets your requirements.
#1. Textra SMS
Textra SMS remains among the top texting apps on Android. 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 by Google), it is fast, smooth and doesn’t have any bloatware.
The app’s size is also reasonable at just over 3 MBs which means even low-end phones can install and run 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 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 one of the oldest, and most popular text messaging apps for Android phones and tablets. It is available for free on the Play Store and excels when it comes to customization options.
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.
Interestingly, Chomp SMS and Textra share the same developer.
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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. 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. Messages by Google
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 Messages (formerly Android Messages).
The original app did not give you a lot of features, it focused on the core functionality and provided a fluid and pleasing user interface. However, the recent update brings new stuff.
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, audio messages and blocking SMS senders you don’t want to receive texts from.
Sending messages over the internet is also possible now and you can get WhatsApp style read receipts for texts which have been read. All in all, this is a solid texting app from Google that you should try on your Android.
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.
#8. Messages + SMS
Messages + SMS is another Android texting app replacement which focuses on helping you stay in touch with your contacts. You can also choose to block certain people from messaging you and can change between several themes.
Additionally, the app also replaces the default dialer app, and allows you to backup your messages as well as your call records.
#9. Messenger for SMS
Messenger for SMS is a comprehensive messaging app for Android, sporting a ton of themes, dialer app modifications, emojis, GIFs and other features like a Private Box, SMS blocking, Android Wear support, Driving Mode and more.
Generally, when choosing Messenger for SMS, it comes down to your preference of UI/UX. The free version does have ads, but you can upgrade to Pro to remove them.
#10. 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 it is 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.
#12. 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.
#13. Pulse SMS
Pulse SMS is one of the newer texting apps for Android and gives you instant access to your text messages on your phone, tablet and web browser. It is a cross-platform messenger with additional features like timed and scheduled messages, search option in texts, archive convos, blacklist numbers, change themes and use GIFs in messages.
You can also backup and restore your messaging history and the app also supports dual sim phones for better SMS management.
That’s it for now folks. We’ve updated our list of the best SMS and text messaging apps for Android in 2019 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.