The 7 Best Texting Apps for Android

See which texting apps give you options you want and need

three friends texting together

Hero Images/Getty Images

If you’re still using the default messaging app that came with your Android phone, it’s time to branch out. These seven apps go beyond the basics with features like customization, message prioritization, quick reply, beautiful designs, and compatibility with related apps. Many of them also boast responsive developers, so if you run into problems it’s likely you’ll get the issue resolved fast. 

android messages app

Google

The official Google SMS app is widely recognized as being a good, basic option for Android users. A couple of handy features are the ability to set custom notification tones for each conversation, and using RCS functionality for chat features, including read receipts and file sharing. You can even text via your computer, through the app’s website.

Requirements: Android 5.0 Lollipop or later

What We Like:

  • Dark mode for low-light environments
  • Ability to send audio messages to contacts
  • Search feature

What We Don’t Like:

  • Some carriers don’t allow RCS functionality

Price: Free 

qksms messaging app

Moez Bhatti

A newer app, QKSMS is streamlined, with a nice-looking interface. Features include a blacklist, Android Wear compatibility, message prioritization, and night mode for darker environments. The app is powerful enough to share photos and stickers, and you can easily back up and restore messages.

Note: QKSMS supports dual-SIM and multi-SIM phones.

Requirements: Android 5.0 or later

What We Like:

  • Shows full content of long messages
  • No ads
  • Highly customizable

What We Don’t Like:

  • High battery usage

Price: Free with in-app purchases

chomp sms app

Delicious

As an app that’s been around for a long time, Chomp SMS has had the opportunity to keep improving. Useful features include app locking, scheduled message sending, the ability to prioritize conversations, and number blocking. You can also choose the way the app looks with themes and skins, and customize many other aspects of it as well.

Requirements: Android 2.3 or later

What We Like:

  • It’s updated with every Android update
  • You can stop a text while it’s being sent
  • Choice of emoji styles

What We Don’t Like:

  • Notification sound for incoming texts may be too loud with earbuds

Price: Free with in-app purchases

textra app

Delicious

If you love customization, you’ll love this app, which allows you to tweak the background, icon, notifications, and emoji and bubble styles. It also includes dark, light, and auto-night modes, stop during send, multi-select photo gallery, contact customization, and quick-reply popup, just to name a few. It’s compatible with Android Wear, Pushbullet, and MightyText for maximum efficiency.

Tip: Use the copy feature to easily transfer information between apps.

Requirements: Android 4.1 or later

What We Like:

  • High speed
  • Continuous improvements
  • User-friendly

What We Don’t Like:

  • Features may not keep up with Android updates

Price: Free with in-app purchases

mood messenger app

Calea

A newer addition to the Android texting app selection, Mood Messenger is simple, yet fully functional, including the ability to send GIFs and animated emojis, location sharing, and quick reply options. Choose your own background to match your personality. Use it for SMS texting, or just send messages directly through the app with others who have it installed. Protect your privacy with app locking.

Requirements: Android 4.1 or later

What We Like:

  • Personalize contacts
  • No ads
  • Typing indicator so you can see when the other person is responding

What We Don’t Like:

  • Some users report technical issues.

Price: Free with in-app purchases

signal messaging app

Open Whisper Systems

Technically a messaging app similar to WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, Signal allows you to exchange messages directly with others who have the app (if they don’t have the app, they receive a standard text message). Signal includes robust security with end-to-end encryption. In addition to messaging, it can be used for group chats or phone calls.

Requirements: Android 4.0 or later

What We Like:

  • Disappearing messages option
  • Ability to send any media, including GIFs and audio files
  • Open source, so code can be audited for security

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not compatible with tablets

Price: Free

pulse app

Luke Klinker

Highly customizable, this app is also highly flexible because it works across all your Android devices, as well as PCs. The easy-to-navigate interface allows you to focus on communicating with your contacts. Keep up with the most important messages by pinning them to the top of the list, and eliminate clutter by archiving completed conversations.

Tip: Use the search function to find past messages.

Requirements: Varies with device

What We Like:

  • Password protection
  • Ability to share GIFs
  • Search feature

What We Don’t Like:

  • Some users report missed MMS messages

Price: Phone-only version is free. Enable additional devices starting at $0.99/month.