The Best SMS Text Messaging Apps for Android
Although SMS is still the only way to safely reach someone with a cell phone number, very few apps in each country currently support it. That’s partly because of the age of the protocol and partly because of the advancements of WhatsApp and other messaging apps.
The latest Android app to drop SMS support is Signal (Of course, iOS apps were never allowed access to SMS). The developers say it “no longer makes sense” to have an SMS component in the app. Signal reasons that it’s less secure than newer messaging standards, can incur additional data bills, and can confuse users.
However, many people still use SMS, not least to communicate with friends and family who may not have the same messaging apps installed or who are using a different mobile operating system. If you need SMS on Android, here are your options.
News from Google
The default messaging app on Pixel and Galaxy phones is Messages by Google, although Google is pushing SMS’s successor: Rich Communication Services (RCS). This new standard adds many of the extras now taken for granted in modern messaging apps, such as: B. Read receipts, group chats, and better photo and video support.
Messages use either RCS or SMS, depending on what the contact you’re chatting with has access to (taking into account their SMS app, phone, network, and the country they’re in). With RCS enabled, you’ll see notification bubbles in your conversations instead of an “SMS” label, and all messages in your chat will be end-to-end encrypted.
It’s not the most elaborate or feature-rich app you’ll ever see, but there’s still a lot to offer, especially with RCS. For example, Google can suggest replies with a dash of AI (just like in Gmail), links and numbers can be scanned for spam threats, scheduled messages are supported, and you can also access your chats on the web.
Like Messages by Google, part of the appeal of Pulse SMS is that it can take your texting outside the confines of your smartphone and give you access to the internet. There’s more to the app, although we should point out that some of the more advanced features require a $1-per-month premium subscription.
Pulse SMS applies end-to-end encryption as long as the person you’re texting is also using Pulse, and for extra security, you can password protect certain conversations. Chats can be pinned to the top of the interface or organized into folders, and there’s a powerful search feature here too – if you can’t remember exactly who said what and when, Pulse should be able to help.
There’s plenty of flexibility in how you send messages, with scheduled messages, delayed sending, and auto-reply support. You can come back to messages later by putting them on hold, compose messages faster with templates, and apply themes to your individual chats. Pulse SMS really offers a lot on top of the basic SMS user experience.
Chomp SMS is easier than Pulse SMS – but for many people that will be perfectly fine. It focuses on the most important job of an app like this, which is sending and receiving SMS messages, and wraps it all up in a no-nonsense interface (if you want to add a bit more flair, there’s a variety of app themes available).
That’s not to say that Chomp SMS doesn’t come with some handy features. For example, the quick reply feature lets you reply to texts in a pop-up overlay so you don’t have to leave the app you’re in. You can lock the app behind a passcode for extra privacy, and you can schedule messages to be sent at a specific time and date when needed.
Again, there’s a built-in text backup option, but perhaps the best thing about Chomp SMS is how you can customize the way you receive messages. Each individual contact can be assigned their own ringtone and vibration pattern, so you’ll always know who’s calling without having to look at your phone screen.
SMS Organizer is a “garage project” by Microsoft, which means it’s something of a side hobby for its developers. While it may not have the profile of the more official Microsoft apps, SMS Organizer is still regularly updated with new features and has a lot to offer if you need a place for your SMS conversations to take place on your Android phone.
For example, you can automatically generate reminders from your SMS messages – about flights, bills, cinema trips or anything where details are stored in a text. You can save texts, write texts with your voice, and quickly filter your conversation list to see unread messages that need to be addressed first.
We also like the various customization options available here, from the dark theme option to the way you can play around with ringtones, notifications, and font size. It’s easy to flag messages for quick reference and block spammers in the app. It’s all packed into a clean interface that manages to make even plain text look interesting.