9 Free iPhone & iPod touch Texting Apps

Text for Free with These Apps

Text messaging is perhaps the most popular means of communicating with friends and family in the world. The iPhone has the built-in Messages app, but what if you don't like it? And what about on the iPod touch? It doesn’t have a phone. 

In either case, you're in luck. Since texting is so popular, there are a bunch of great free texting apps for iPhone and iPod touch. These are especially great if you have a touch because many assign you a "phone number" that you can use to send and receive texts, photos, and more.

These apps are free—so what’s the catch? Many of these free apps contain lots of ads, but that's probably a small annoyance in exchange for unlimited texting (in-app purchases often remove ads and unlock additional features). Keep in mind that you’ll need to connect your iPod touch to a Wi-Fi network to use these texting apps.

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BBM - Blackberry Messenger
image copyright Blackberry

BBM—short for BlackBerry Messenger (Free, with in-app purchases)—used to be the most compelling feature of the BlackBerry platform.

This free texting tool let you see if your friends had read your messages or were replying, and send animations and other fun messages, before iMessage or other apps on this list. With the decline of the BlackBerry as a platform, the company brought BBM to iPhone and iPod touch in 2013.

Now, you can use it to text anyone with the app, as well as make free voices calls, send stickers and animations (which are available as in-app purchase add-ons), share files and your location, and much more.

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Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger
image copyright Facebook

While not technically a text-messaging app, Facebook Messenger (Free) is close enough to be included on this list.

This is the standalone app version of Facebook's core email/messaging feature. In mid-2014, Facebook removed the messaging feature from its core app and began requiring anyone who wants to send messages over the service to use this app.

A lot of people found that move annoying, but if you want to use an app to send Facebook messages on the go, you'll need it.

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TextFree Unlimited

TextFree texting app
image copyright TextFree

Like the textPlus app, TextFree Unlimited (Free, with in-app purchases) assigns you a phone number that you can share with others. It requires a Wi-Fi connection, but once connected, you can send unlimited messages from your iPod touch or iPhone to cell phones on any U.S. carrier.​

You can also receive voice calls for free and either earn or buy minutes to place outgoing calls. TextFree Unlimited also supports push notifications, so you’ll receive your texts even if the app isn’t open.

Like most free texting apps, TextFree Unlimited contains ads, ​though in-app purchases can be used to remove them.

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TextNow free texting app
image copyright TextNow

TextNow (Free, with in-app purchases) works much like the other apps on this list, in that you get a phone number associated with your account and in exchange you have to look at some ads every so often. If you don't like ads, you can subscribe for a few dollars per year.

TextNow also includes a good amount of customization—you can add custom wallpaper, upload thumbnail photos, or share your number on Facebook and Twitter.

Like many other apps, it also supports voice calling and requires the earning or purchase or credits to enable some features.

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textPlus for iPhone and iPod touch
image copyright textPlus

The textPlus app (Free, with in-app purchases) offers free unlimited texting on your iPhone or iPod touch by setting up your own “phone number” that you can give to your friends and family.

This ad-supported app (remove them with in-app purchases) offers group messaging, so you can send one message to multiple people. TextPlus also uses push notifications so you won’t miss a message.

The app also supports voice phone calls for relatively low prices and free calls to other textPlus users. 

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Text Me! messaging app
image copyright Text Me!

Like many other texting apps on this list, TextMe! (Free) lets you send text messages, make voice and video calls, and send photos and videos to other TextMe! users, as well as phones that don't have it installed.

Use the app to send texts, videos, and photos to any cell phone for free. If your friends have the app, you can also make video calls. To make free calls using the app, you have to earn minutes by watching ads, downloading apps, or buying them.

In addition to credits, in-app purchases can remove ads and add sound effects.

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Textie Messaging

Textie Messaging app
image copyright Textie

Textie Messaging (Free, with in-app purchases) offers the same basic functions as a lot of other apps on this list but doesn't have the same set of advanced options.

With it, you can send texts to almost anyone—whether they use Textie or not (in most cases: this is supported on AT&T and Verizon phones, but not T-Mobile. T-Mobile users need to have Textie installed).

You can also send photos. While in-app purchases can be used to remove ads like in other apps, you won't find advanced voice or video calling features here. 

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TigerText free texting app
image copyright TigerText

TigerText (Free) is another app that allows users to text from the iPod touch. There’s no charge to send messages, and you can import contacts directly from your address book.

The TigerText app is all about privacy, so you can control when and if a message is deleted from your recipient’s phone. Change your mind? You can even delete a message that you've sent as long as it hasn't yet been read. In addition, the texts you send cannot be forwarded.

The biggest downside? Everyone you communicate with must have the TigerText app installed on his or her phone, which limits its usefulness.

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What's App messaging
image copyright What's App

What's App is perhaps the most widely used text messaging app in the world, which is why Facebook bought in for US$19 billion in February 2014.

The app, which can be used on smartphones as well as old phones, is used worldwide to send texts, photos and videos, and more. It's especially popular internationally, or to communicate with people in other countries, because it doesn't add any international calling or communication fees.

The app is free for the first year or use and then just a few dollars per year after.