If you don’t like the default text messaging app on your Android device, it’s super easy to change. There are lots of great alternatives out there, and thanks to the customizable nature of Android, it’s simple to switch over.
Let’s take a look at some of the best alternative SMS app options out there.
Now, this one may or may not be an alternative app for you. That’s because certain Android devices ship with Messages as the default text messaging app, like Motorola devices or the Google Pixels.
However, some other manufacturers like Samsung ship their devices with a proprietary text messaging app preinstalled in their custom Android skin. If that’s the boat you’re in, you might want to try out Google’s Messages app.
It’s not the most customizable texting app out there, but it is as simple and stable as they come. It randomly assigns a new color to every text conversation and has some support for stickers, plus it supports RCS messaging and will filter out your spam. Of course, there are no ads or in-app purchases. This app is mostly for people who want something that just works.
Download: Messages (Free)
2. Pulse SMS
Pulse SMS is an amazing blend of customizability and simplicity. You get all the best features here alongside a gorgeous Material Design look.
You can change the look of the message bubbles, set custom colors for the entire app or individual conversations, schedule text messages, blacklist numbers, archive conversations, and delay sending if you want to be able to cancel a few seconds after sending.
And that’s just the free version (which doesn’t even have ads). With an in-app purchase, you can send and receive messages from a variety of other platforms. Pulse has a Chrome app, Chrome extension, Web messenger, Firefox add-on, Android TV app, Android tablet app, and Android Wear app. If your iPhone-loving friends ever brag about iMessage letting them text on their Mac, just tell them about Pulse.
That service costs $99.99 for a lifetime pass, or you can subscribe monthly at $1.99 for 1 month or $10.99 for 1 year. But even without the messaging from anywhere functionality, it’s still a solid, full-featured messaging app.
Download: Pulse SMS (Free, subscription available)
QKSMS is an open-source app for all folks who cherish more transparent technology. It’s also dead simple. All the options are hidden behind the hamburger menu icon in the upper left. You could leave it alone and just have a plain-but-effective messaging app, or you could dig into the settings and tweak the theme, colors, bubble style, and a bunch of other options.
And you can edit all of these things on a per-conversation basis as well. It’s a quick, easy, yet powerful open-source app. There are no ads, and you can donate in the app if you’re feeling generous. What’s not to love?
Download: QKSMS (Free, subscription available)
Textra has been around for a while now, but it has evolved gracefully. It includes the Textra Bot if you want to ask it some questions about the app, but aside from that, it offers tons of customization features in a speedy package. You can even edit the emoji style in the app so that you can have iOS-style emojis.
You can customize conversations individually or even batch edit multiple chats at once. If you want, you can call people directly from the texting screen or skim through all the photos and videos you’ve sent to each other. There’s not much you can’t do with Textra.
Despite seeming like a completely free app, Textra actually starts you off on a 14-day ad-free trial. After that, you can either continue with ads or upgrade to Pro for a one-time payment of $4.49. By upgrading to the Pro version, you can send premium text messages to any of your contacts.
Download: Textra SMS (Free, in-app purchases available)
5. Chomp SMS
Chomp SMS is brought to you by the same folks who made Textra. Why they made two very similar texting apps is anyone’s guess, but Chomp is also a great choice. There’s no Textra Bot, but there are just about all the other features: themes, emoji styles, individual conversation editing, scheduled messages, a blacklist, and more.
The good thing about using Chomp SMS is that you don’t get a limit on scheduled messages. However, we don’t recommend using Chomp to send bulk messages, as the messages are occasionally delayed. Instead, use one of the recommended Android apps for sending SMS messages in bulk.
In all, it’s a fairly reliable option for people who want personalization only. Just like with Textra, at some point, Chomp SMS will start showing ads or ask you to pay a small in-app purchase to continue without them.
Download: Chomp SMS (Free, in-app purchases available)
6. Mood SMS
Mood SMS is certainly the most unique of the bunch. Themes go wild in Mood, with the default theme currently being very winter-styled. The settings menu is colorful and bubbly, and the keyboard has animated iOS-style emojis. It’s an eclectic and unique experience that isn’t for everyone, but it will be just right for some.
There are so many themes to choose from, you can hide some messages in a private box, there are small Chat Head-like notifications, it supports in-line GIFs and YouTube videos, and it’s just as customizable as all the other apps on this list.
It also features a dedicated emoji store where you can either download free ones or make an in-app purchase to unlock premium emojis. Besides that, for a monthly subscription, or a one-time payment of $12, you can unlock more features such as premium themes, message encryption, backup and restore, and the ability to get rid of all ads at once.
For a quirky, super-customizable messaging app, you should choose Mood SMS.
Download: Mood SMS (Free, subscription available)
Which Is the Best Android SMS App?
The SMS messaging app that works best for you might not work best for someone else, and most of these offer similar customization abilities anyway. We’d recommend Google’s Messages app for you if you don’t need any fancy features, QKSMS for open-source enthusiasts, Mood SMS if you want customizations, and Pulse SMS for everyone else.
If you want to send messages over the internet rather than through SMS, there are a variety of excellent apps to select from as well.
The 8 Best Free Messaging Apps for Android
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