What Are Android Messages and How Do I Use Them?

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A stock photo of three women in a row, standing in front of a window and looking down at their smartphone screens, possibly texting on their phones.

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Android Messages (also referred to as Messages), is an all-in-one messaging app designed by Google for Android smartphones running Android 5.0 Lollipop or later. The free app allows you to text, chat, send group texts, send pictures, share videos, and send audio messages. Android Messages also offers the ability to send other conversational extras such as emojis, stickers, and GIFs.

How Can Android Messages Be Used?

In addition to texting and chatting from your phone, Android Messages also lets you chat from your computer, send and receive payments via Google Pay, and can also be set to Dark Mode, a feature that allows for a more comfortable messaging experience in low light settings.

Android Messages can also be used with either Wi-Fi or data connections.

How to Install the Android Messages App

To download and install the Android Messages app, you'll need to download the app from the Google Play Store:

  1. Access the Google Play Store app on your Android smartphone by tapping the Play Store app icon, which looks like a multi-colored play button.

  2. At the top of the following screen, use the white search box to search for "android messages".

  3. The very first (and most prominent) search result should be Google's Android Messages app. It will be listed as "Messages" and have a blue, circle-shaped app icon with a lined message bubble icon in the center.

    A screenshot of the Android Messages search result in the Play Store which shows the green and white Install button.
  4. Tap the green and white Install button.

  5. On the following screen, tap the green and white Accept button.

  6. Once the download and installation is complete, tap the green and white Open button to access the app.

How to Start a Conversation in Android Messages

  1. Launch the Android Messages app from your phone's apps menu.

  2. On the next screen, you'll be prompted to make Android Messages your phone's default messaging app. You'll need to do this to send messages. Tap Yes.

  3. You may not be able to send messages right away. Depending on your device, you may need to restart your phone to ensure the changes took place. After restarting, you should be able to send messages.

  4. After making Android Messages your default messaging app, the following screen should be your inbox of text messages. Android Message will automatically sync your phone's saved text conversations.

  5. Within your inbox, tap the blue and white Start chat button at the bottom right corner of the screen to start a conversation.

  6. On the next screen, in the field marked To, type the phone number, email, or name of the person you want to contact.

  7. Tap the Enter key on your phone's keyboard to open a conversation.

  8. Write your message in the text field at the bottom of the screen.

    A screenshot of the Android Messages app in the middle of creating a new conversation.
  9. Tap the blue and white triangle in the text field to send your message.

How to Add a New Contact in Android Messages

  1. Within your inbox, select a conversation with the contact you want to add.

  2. Within the conversation, tap the three dots icon in the upper right corner of the screen.

  3. Tap Add contact.

  4. In the dialog box that pops up, tap Add Contact.

  5. The Android Messages app will take you to your phone's native contacts or phone app. You can add your contact as you normally would here.

Changes you make to your phone's native contacts app will be reflected in Android Messages.

How to Block Text Messages on Android Messages

  1. Within your inbox, select a conversation with the contact you want to block.

  2. Within the conversation, tap the three dots icon in the upper right corner of the screen.

  3. Select Details.

  4. From the list of options, tap Block and report spam.

  5. A dialog box will pop up asking for confirmation for the block. It also offers the option to report the contact to Google for sending spam. If you want to do so, keep this option checked. If not, uncheck the checkbox next to Report spam.

  6. Select OK.

  • If you're short on time or just don't know what to say, you can use Android Messages' Smart Reply feature. This feature, when enabled in your settings, automatically populates suggestions for replies you can send to your contacts. Just tap one of them to send it.
  • You can also chat with your contact on your computer with Android messages. To enable this type of messaging, you'll need to go to the Android Messages website and follow the onscreen instructions to open an Android Messages chat window on your computer.