8 Free iPhone & iPod Touch Texting Apps

Text for free with these apps

Close up of iPhone X with BBM on its screen in front a blue background

Youssef Sarhan / Unsplash 

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.

01
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WhatsApp

WhatsApp iOS app icon

What We Like

  • Free text messages, voice calls, and video calls to other WhatsApp users.

  • App no longer requires a subscription fee.

  • Ad-free experience.

What We Don't Like

  • App is tied to a single device and number.

  • Messages are end-to-end encrypted only when all recipients are using current app versions.

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

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

The app is free.

02
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Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger app icon for iOS

What We Like

  • Clean, minimalistic design.

  • Advanced personalization options.

  • Regular, frequent updates.

What We Don't Like

  • It tries to do too many things.

  • Some privacy concerns.

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

Messenger is the stand-alone app version of Facebook's core messaging feature. In mid-2014, Facebook began requiring anyone who wants to send messages over the service to use the Messenger 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 need it.

03
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TextFree Voice Calling App

Text Free Voice app icon for iOS

What We Like

  • Preloaded with 60 free minutes to use is the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

  • Incoming and outgoing text messages are always free.

What We Don't Like

  • Ad-supported unless you pay a monthly fee.

  • You can't use your current number with the app.

  • A Wi-Fi connection is required.

The TextFree Voice calling app (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 cellphones on any U.S. carrier.​

You can also receive voice calls for free and either earn or buy minutes to place outgoing calls. TextFree Calling 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.

04
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TextNow

TextNow app icon for iOS

What We Like

  • Both free and paid tiers of service.

  • Earn credit by completing surveys, watching ads, and installing apps.

  • Low monthly rates on paid plans.

What We Don't Like

  • You may not get your preferred area code.

  • Can't text gifs or videos.

  • Compatible only with selected phones (including some iPhone and iPod Touch devices).

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 of credits to enable some features.

05
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textPlus

Text Plus app icon for iOS

What We Like

  • Unlimited, free text messaging.

  • Group text functionality.

  • Supports push notifications.

What We Don't Like

  • Custom phone number requires additional fee. Otherwise, number is random.

  • Ad-supported.

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. 

06
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TextMe

TextMe app icon for iOS

What We Like

  • Unlimited free texts to any mobile number in U.S., Canada, Mexico, and 40 countries.

  • Group texting features with text, photos, and videos.

  • Free smileys and emoji.

What We Don't Like

  • Free video calls require both parties to use the TextMe app.

  • Subscription required for unlimited calls in the U.S. and Canada.

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 cellphone 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 or by buying a monthly subscription.

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

07
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Textie Messaging

Textie app icon for iOS

What We Like

  • Free texting between iOS and Android mobile devices.

  • Messaging to international numbers via email addresses.

What We Don't Like

  • No voice or video features.

  • Ad-free app requires in-app purchase.

  • Not updated since 2015.

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 on an iOS or Android mobile device — whether they use Textie or not.

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. 

08
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BBM

BlackBerry Messenger app icon for iOS

What We Like

  • Free voice and video calls between BBM contacts.

  • BBM Desktop feature supports chat between mobile devices and desktops.

  • Lots of BBMoji to express your mood.

What We Don't Like

  • Not in widespread use in the U.S.

  • Can't broadcast a single message to all contacts.

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 you could 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 BBM app, as well as make free voice calls, send stickers and animations (which are available as in-app purchase add-ons), share files and your location, and much more.