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13 best free texting apps for Android

Authored by: Kris Carlon — 3 weeks ago

If you own a stock Android device, no doubt you quickly discovered that it came with Hangouts as the default SMS/MMS/IM app. And no offense to Google, but not everyone likes Hangouts. So we've gathered our list of the best texting apps for Android that are also free. These apps use your phone signal and texting allowance in your contract, and are not to be confused with instant messenger apps such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, the best of which you can find in the link below.

Google Messenger

We're not fans of Hangouts, which over-complicates the supposedly simple process of sending texts, but Google Messenger is another story. It makes use of many of Hangouts' finer qualities while cutting out the clutter. It has an eye-soothing Material Design interface, and as well as sending free texts you can take photos and record audio messages from within the app. Messenger has all the basic messaging features you need, dressed up in a coveted Lollipop interface.

androidpit google messenger
Google Messenger is largely overlooked, but it looks great and is easy to use, thanks to the Material Design interface. / © Google
Messenger Install on Google Play

MySMS

MySMS comes garlanded with rave reviews from press and users alike. It's available not just for Android but for Windows, Mac and web browsers too, which means you can post from a computer or tablet using your Android phone's number, and that is why it makes our list of the best free texting apps. 

It supports group messaging and MMS, message scheduling, message export and backup, and connects with services such as Evernote, Dropbox and Google Drive. Many of the advanced features require a premium membership, but at just US$9.99 per year, it's hardly going to break the bank. 

mysms
MySMS is a popular cross-platform app with good PC and tablet integration.  / © Computer Communication
mysms SMS Text Messaging Sync Install on Google Play

Messaging (stock KitKat SMS app)

This one's a bit of a wild card. The simply-titled Messaging is essentially the stock SMS app from Android 4.4 KitKat. So if you're already on KitKat, then there's nothing to see here. But if you're on an older phone and want to experience a piece of KitKat, or you're finding the default Lollipop texting app a bit too bright and garish, this could be what you're looking for. It's dark, serious and contains all the features from Android's former flagship texting app.

androidpit messaging app
Messaging can bring the stock KitKat SMS app back to Lollipop users. / © SoftCoil Development, LLC
Messaging Install on Google Play

chomp SMS

chomp SMS has been around for a long time, and progressed alongside Android to become one of the most popular Android SMS apps. Its features include a huge array of emojis, passcode app lock, message locks, more intense privacy options, blacklists and quick reply popups, not to mention a ton of customization options, and Pushbullet and Android Wear compatibility.

androidpit chomp sms
chomp SMS has it all: features, customization options and Android Wear support. / © Delicious Inc.
chomp SMS Install on Google Play

Textra SMS

Textra SMS is a great SMS app that makes this list partly because the developer was quick to bring the new Android L Material Design to the app, which makes this already-attractive texting app even more appealing.

It’s also got more features than most stock SMS apps, including floating notifications, quick reply popups, and a heap of signature and notification types. It’s also compatible with PushBullet and Android Wear, if you’ve bought yourself a Moto 360, LG G Watch R or Samsung Gear Live.

androidpit textra
We love the Material Design look of Textra SMS. / © Delicious Inc.
Textra SMS Install on Google Play

8sms

As opposed to some other frilly SMS apps, 8sms is a text-messaging app which gets straight to the point with a bit more added functionality than the average stock SMS/MMS app, such as quick popup replies. It's free, although ads will appear after your 14-day trial period until you make a donation. We think it's worth a try for its ease of use and a nifty energy-saving dark theme.

androidpit 8sms
Need just a tiny bit more than what your stock SMS app has to offer? Try 8sms for fuss-free texting. © ThinkLeft
8sms (Stock Messaging, KitKat) Install on Google Play

HoverChat

I love HoverChat. It brings the cool pop-up bubble functionality of Facebook's chat heads or Link Bubble to your SMS app. So no matter which screen or app you're in, any new SMS will pop up in front of what you're doing so you'll never miss a notification bar message again (although HoverChat does preview in the notification bar too).

You can reply to the message directly from the notification bubble, or if you're not ready to reply, you can dismiss the notification or drag it out of the way. How's that for multitasking?

HoverChat
HoverChat alerts you to a message, but lets you continue on with whatever you were doing. © AndroidPIT
HoverChat Free (Ninja SMS) Install on Google Play

QKSMS

QKSMS is one of the prettiest SMS apps we've seen, offering Material Design plus a range of themes, night mode, customisation, quick replies, group messaging, message scheduling and more in an ad-free environment. The basic app is free but if you want to unlock all the color options and advanced features, the premium mode is a US$1.99 in-app purchase.

qksms
QKSMS is both pretty and pretty good. / © QK Labs
QKSMS - Quick Text Messenger Install on Google Play

Handcent SMS

Handcent SMS is a veteran of alternative SMS apps, and received a modern facelift at the end of 2014, thanks to an update in the Play Store. Taking this into consideration, as well as the features and themes galore, Handcent truly is the Android lover's SMS app.

You can customize the way the app handles incoming and outgoing messages as much as you could ever want to, including scheduling messages to go out at specific times (only in the pro version). You can also sign in with your Facebook credentials so you'll see your contacts' Facebook profile pics.

androidpit handcent sms
Handcent SMS used to lack style, but a recent update has really spruced it up. / © handcent_market
Handcent SMS Install on Google Play

hello SMS

hello SMS is one of the best-looking SMS apps around. Slick, clean and minimal, hello SMS is the style guru's SMS app. The app has a super simple tab setup, so you get your friends' profile pics and names on the left, and can simply swipe out the conversation tab.

You can do all the same things you can with most other SMS apps, but the unique thing about hello SMS is just how much it manages to do without looking heavy or bloated. If only all apps looked this clean.  

AndroidPIT hello SMS
hello SMS offers a super clean, minimal layout with all the basic stuff you need. / © AndroidPIT/hello SMS
hello sms Install on Google Play

TextSecure

If you're someone who errs on the side of security, then it's hard to overlook TextSecure (case in point: I had to take photos of the screens because screenshots are blocked by the app). TextSecure encrypts your personal communications with end-to-end encryption protocols as soon as you register your number.

Custom ROMs like CyanogenMod already use the TextSecure service but you can get it as a stand-alone app as well. As you may recall, the NSA has a habit of intercepting SMS content as it passes through data centers. TextSecure only handles encrypted content so your messages are safe in transit. All of your attachments are also encrypted.

AndroidPIT TextSecure SMS
We had to snap pics of TextSecure because screenshots aren't allowed. / © AndroidPIT/Open Whisper Systems
TextSecure Private Messenger Install on Google Play

EvolveSMS

EvolveSMS is the Google-inspired SMS app that we wish Hangouts was. It has been designed to look a lot like Google+ and has a nice clean design created with the latest Android style guidelines in mind. While the default orange interface looks great, you can also grab more themes if you're willing to drop a little coin for the customization pack.

Swiping between conversations and a navigation drawer make it a breeze to navigate, and there are plenty of free pre-loaded customization options.

AndroidPIT Evolve SMS 1
EvolveSMS follows the Android style guidelines and looks very Google+ish. / © AndroidPIT/Klinker Apps
EvolveSMS Install on Google Play

Must-have add-on: MightyText 

MightyText is not an SMS app itself but is on this list because it is an awesome tool for sending and receiving texts via your computer. MightyText does not have an app component on your Android device, but is an extension for your existing SMS app.

So you can pick an app you like the look of from this list and give it the MightyText touch so you can read and reply to incoming messages from your computer screen without needing to dig your phone out of your bag. Other nice features include built-in SMS backup and restore options.

MightyTexts1
MightyText is an awesome add-on that lets your read and reply to messages from your PC. / © MightyText
SMS Text Messaging & Group MMS Install on Google Play

Do you agree with our list of the best text message apps for Android? Let us know in the comments below.

Updated by Robert Zak on June 4 2015

Kris Carlon comes to the AndroidPIT Editorial Team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He joined the Android community while resurfacing in civilization back in 2010 and has never looked back, using technology to replace his actual presence in other people's lives ever since. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.

52 comments

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  • Link Sync 3 days ago Link to comment

    Try LinknSync, a cool SMS & notifications sync tool.

    play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.link.sync

  • Jeje 1 week ago Link to comment

    Ugh none of these are compatible with galaxy samsung tab 3. Back to viber lol

  • Aniruddh Dodiya 2 weeks ago Link to comment

    Try invi or wivi sms. The best looking sms apps ever

  • Rene Reyes 2 weeks ago Link to comment

    Those are really great applications. I even use mysms in my skype english conversation practice to talk to my teacher at Preply.

  • Eric Lucero 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    I liked Textra but then I discovered Yaata and its the best I've seen this far. Only downside is you have to donate a minimum of $3 to unlock full features but it's worth supporting a good app.

  • Kyle 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    i loved Textra when it's free and ad free but after awhile when they got a little bit popular, they placed ads and will let you pay for the premium.. Anyway it wont really hurt your pockets and it's actually purposed to help them improve. It has Nice interface, and i honestly had great experience. You can customize colors and stuffs too without having a hard time and confusions. So thumbs up, you might wanna try Textra. I recommend

  • Esther Huntington 1 month ago Link to comment

    Anyone else on Dasher? You've got to get that on this list. My whole network has moved over to it in the last couple months. the GIFs are ridiculous and I use the Venmo integration pretty much every day.

  • Dennis H. 1 month ago Link to comment

    mysms....agree with Shawnie B. It is unbelievable to me that a review of texting apps doesn't include mysms! Really? What's it missing author? In addition to what Shawnie B. wrote it has a not required, 'friends' feature. Example, my daughter left the USA on business. Since we were mysms friends we could text FREE while she was abroad. There is a purchase version that adds features that not everyone needs. 90% of all will be good to go out of the box. I have tried them all and mysms is the best! Try it you'll like it.

  • Clare Watson 1 month ago Link to comment

    My personal favorite apps are Facebook messenger, whatsapp, hangout, hike . Recently I came across a new app in which we can communicate through voice i.e., texting, commenting, updating status or even blogging can be done through voice instead of text. It allows me to stay updated even on my lazy days. Plus having an interest in singing its works as a great platform for me to showcase my talent in front of the world. Try voice texting ....its so much fun.

  • Shawnie B. 1 month ago Link to comment

    The best sms messaging app I have ran across is mysms. It's got great options including pop ups that allow me to review the message and respond or close the message. It also has a download for my pc so I can send and receive sms and mms messages from my pc. It also allows me to automatically back up my messages on all of my cloud drives; Google Drive, dropdbox, one drive, etc... . I love this app!

  • amira wyatt 2 months ago Link to comment

    what happened to handcent it just disappeared from google play?

    • Trouble Doll 2 months ago Link to comment

      I noticed the same thing. I looked it up on my laptop in the Google Play store this morning and it's under "Handcent Next SMS" now. You should be able to click install from your laptop/desktop and it will install on your phone as long as you're logged into the Google Account you use on your phone. :)

  • shekhar kadu 2 months ago Link to comment

    If we are talking about the "text messaging app " so Google messenger and Cooee Messenger is great apps , Google messenger nicely work and cooee messenger speciality is delivered SMS within 1 sec as compared other messenger takes 10 seconds

  • Scott Weddington 2 months ago Link to comment

    I never see the mysms app on list like this but it works cross platform it's the first app I put on device be Android, iOS or Windows

    • mahipantagone 2 months ago Link to comment

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  • Brian Olmstead 2 months ago Link to comment

    I'm digging a new SMS app called YAATA. Very customizable, stable and fast. Check it out.

  • Nestea80 5 months ago Link to comment

    Everyone should stay away from GO SMS Pro. It contains intrusive adware that they sneak into the app without letting you know. Everytime you install or update an app, you'll get an annoying pop-up that you cannot get rid of that suggests other sponsored apps to download. Even if you paid for premium, you'll still get it.

    • Edward Franco 4 months ago Link to comment

      I like the inteface and options but hate the advertising. I'm also purchased pro.

    • Paulie K. 1 week ago Link to comment

      I loved their interface and their wallpaper, but it's gotten worse and worse with the ads. Before I could ignore them (they stopped popping up and were stuck at the top of your message list), But now they popup on you desktop after you close the app. And most recently, I'm getting repeated messages from opt-in sources and I'm starting to suspects the developer is doing that to increase their ads exposure. I'm now (sadly, because I love my wallpaper), looking for another app.

      BTW, I think they are now claiming Pro is not enough, you have to buy super Pro to be adfree, but now I don't trust them.

  • Greg T 5 months ago Link to comment

    Because I live part of the year outside the USA, I don't consider any of your "best text" reviews truly the best. I've tried them all. And outside the USA they only send through data but can receive over WiFi. I found Facebook Messenger the only one that allows me to send texts over WiFi when outside the USA. The downside is the recipient has to have FB Messenger also installed. I would be thrilled if there was a true texting app that worked over WiFi outside the USA because ATT data fees outside the USA are expensive.

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