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17 Best SMS & Instant Messaging Apps for Android

Instant messaging apps (also known as RCS) and SMS/MMS apps are some of the most widely used and quickest mediums

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Instant messaging apps (also known as RCS) and SMS/MMS apps are some of the most widely used and quickest mediums for everyday communication through mobile devices as it saves time and easy to use whether you are using Android or any other mobile platform.

Android devices these days usually come preloaded with SMS apps but they are generally don’t offer many features and very few have RCS (Rich Communication Services) capabilities and for that, you will need to install third-party apps so that you can send/receive docs, photos, and videos.

Talking about messaging and chatting apps, you will come across two major types i.e. SMS apps and instant messaging (RCS) apps. Both are very much different from each other. Here’s how:

SMS is a traditional short message service (also known as texting) that let you send/receive textual messages and costs money as it uses a cellular network, whereas, instant messaging apps like WhatsApp uses the Internet (WiFi or cellular data) to send/receive rich messages along with support for file sharing like pictures, videos, documents, and voice.

Now that you know the difference between the two, you can now easily navigate and find the apps you are looking for for your Android smartphone. I have made a separate section for both along with the list of top and most popular apps in both categories:

  1. SMS/texting apps for Android, and
  2. Instant Messaging/chatting apps for Android.

a – Top 10 Best Android SMS/MMS and Texting Apps

Here are my top picks for SMS/MMS apps and text messaging apps for Android smartphone:

1 – Messages by Google

Messages by Google

Messages app is developed by Google that has a capability of both, SMS/MMS as well as chatting (RCS) in a single app. It has an intuitive and simplified user interface that makes your overall texting and chatting experience quicker and exciting. You can create a backup of your messages and can do group messaging as well.

If the RCS service is enabled and active then the app will automatically send your messages through Rich Communication Service other it will be sent as SMS. In case you are wondering, RCS uses either your WiFi or cellular data to send and receive messages. You can easily configure these settings from within the Messages app. However, this specific feature sometimes makes usability confusing.

  • What Is This Best For: Native support for SMS and RCS; Clean interface; Messages for web to send and receive messages on your computer.
  • Unique Features: Create a backup of messages; Spam blocker; Powerful search feature; Smart replies and Assistant suggestions; Google Fi support.
  • Android Compatibility: Android 5.0 and above.
  • Price: Free to download.
  • Advertisements: No, ad-free.
  • In-app Purchases: None.

2 – Handcent Next SMS

Handcent Next SMS for Android

Handcent Next SMS app has been available on the Google Play Store for Android devices for several years now and has a strong user-base. It has progressed a lot during the recent few updates to match with the current styling and to make sure it has that modern touch with all the latest features in place so it won’t give any old-fashioned look.

Next SMS app offers you ultimate customization possibilities including LED notification color, bubble style message display, colors, styling, and fonts. There are a handful of themes to choose from which include backgrounds and skins. You can even create a backup of all your messages as well as personalized settings. With Handcent Anywhere, you will be able to text from any compatible device including a computer, tablet, and even smartwatch.

  • What Is This Best For: Message scheduling; Customize the look and feel with theme and skins; Text from your compute or compatible device with Handcent Anywhere.
  • Unique Features: Driving mode; Support for animated stickers and emoji; Native secure and encrypted messaging section for added privacy; Cloud backup support.
  • Android Compatibility: Android 4.2 and above.
  • Price: Free to download.
  • Advertisements: Yes, occasional ads on the free version.
  • In-app Purchases: Yes, starting from $8 per item.

3 – Textra SMS

Textra SMS

Textra SMS is a beautifully designed and efficient app with some exceptional features like delayed/scheduled SMS delivery, tons of options for customization of the overall interface as well as individual conversations, a wide selection of emoji styling, and minimalistic design. You can use swipe gestures to delete a conversation or to call any contact directly from the message inbox.

Textra provides a bulk-messaging feature and the ability to modify text size, which is great for someone who finds it hard to read small and tiny fonts. Although the app doesn’t provide native desktop support however you can easily use third-party services MightyText and Pushbullet to send/receive messages from your desktop.

  • What Is This Best For: Material design; A lot of customization options including font, size, colors, bubble, and app icon.
  • Unique Features: Integration with MightyText, Pushbullet, Android Auto for quick replies; Message blocking using blacklist; and scheduled messaging.
  • Android Compatibility: Android 4.4 and above.
  • Price: Free to download.
  • Advertisements: Yes, occasional ads on the free version.
  • In-app Purchases: Yes, starts at $4.

4 – Pulse SMS

Pulse SMS

Pulse SMS is an amazing messaging and MMS app for Android that provides you with an ad-free messaging experience along with the ability to synchronize your messages across different devices and then you can freely send/receive messages using any of your synced devices, all you need is an active Internet connection on both of your devices. You can even password protect your messages for an added layer of security.

With Pulse SMS, you are free to customize any of your conversations with tons of themes and color scheme possibilities. You can backup and sync all of your messages to the cloud through the Pulse account this way you can easily restore them whenever you switch to another device. Moreover, the search functionality is powerful and then you can use the achieve function to keep your inbox clutter-free.

  • What Is This Best For: Custom theme for every conversation; Fluid and seamless design; and native support to send/receive messages through computer or tablet.
  • Unique Features: Night mod; Compatibility for black and dark themes; Blacklisting spam numbers; support for dual-SIM; Backup and restore messages.
  • Android Compatibility: Android 5.0 and above.
  • Price: Free to download.
  • Advertisements: No, ad-free.
  • In-app Purchases: Yes, starts at $1 per item.

5 – Chomp SMS

Chomp SMS

Chomp SMS has been in the Google Play Store for a very long time now and has been one of the go-to messaging apps for hundreds and thousands of Android users from all over the world. The reason being the great cross-platform support along with material design and handy features like SMS blocking, group messaging, and the ability to schedule messages.

You will get a handful of added features like passcode lock to secure your conversations, messaging scheduling which comes in handy for reminders or birthdays. You can also pin your favorite contact to the top so you won’t have to scroll down or search for it in the list of conversations. There is native support for group messaging as well as dual SIM.

  • What Is This Best For: Compatibility with services like Pushbullet, MightyText, Yappy for added ability to reply from the desktop; highly customizable design and interface.
  • Unique Features: Thousands of differently styled emoji for Android, Twitter, and iOS; Change LED notification color; ability to add signature in SMS.
  • Android Compatibility: Android 4.1 and above.
  • Price: Free to download.
  • Advertisements: Yes, occasional ads.
  • In-app Purchases: Yes, starts at $2 per item.

6 – YAATA

Yaata

YAATA is a lightweight and one of the simplified messaging apps for Android phones that consumes very little storage space. Even though the app is quite new in the Play Store market but still it offers a handful of features that makes it a better candidate for this list of best messaging apps. The features include delayed message sending, automatic forwarding of messages, blacklisting, scheduling messages, and widgets for your home screen.

Yaata chat heads and popup window features give you the ability to quickly respond to the messages while you are using any other apps (similar to the Facebook Messenger app). You can activate repeated reminders for any unread messages. You can even customize the notifications for messages coming from the non-numeric sender as well as those who are not in your contacts list. Notifications can be further customized that applies while you are using other apps on your phone.

  • What Is This Best For: High customizability for notifications; Widgets for the home screen; Option to customize the interface and message inbox.
  • Unique Features: Chat heads; popup window; custom notification for unknown numbers; and the ability to organize messages.
  • Android Compatibility: Android 5.0 and above.
  • Price: Free to download.
  • Advertisements: No, ad-free.
  • In-app Purchases: Yes, starts at $1.

7 – QKSMS

QKSMS

Right off the bat, you will notice that QKSMS offers an intuitive and beautiful design that makes sure your focus remains on what matters the most i.e. sending and receiving messages without a hiccup. The app offers customizability along with the manual and automated night mode as well as custom notification tones that help you quickly recognize who sent you a message without even looking at your phone.

Although the app receives less frequent updates as compared to the others I have reviewed in the list but QKSMS is a feature-rich texting app for Android, which is open source with full support for dual-SIM mobile phones. And in case you receive tons of messages from different contacts then the powerful search functionality will come in really handy in finding any specific message.

  • What Is This Best For: Backup and restore messages; Ability to reply to messages from the notification bar; QK Reply will add a hovering message icon for quick replies.
  • Unique Features: Open source; Support for Samsung Voice Assistant and TalkBack for added accessibility; and integration with Should I Answer app to auto-filter spam messages.
  • Android Compatibility: Android 5.0 and above.
  • Price: Free to download.
  • Advertisements: No, ad-free.
  • In-app Purchases: Yes, offers in-app purchases starting at $1.

8 – GO SMS Pro

GO SMS Pro

GO SMS Pro is one of the well-known third party messaging and texting apps for Android with ultimate customizability. You can personalize almost every part of the messaging app with hundreds of themes. The app has a built-in automatic message sorting functionality that separates messages from any unknown numbers from your main inbox.

Overall, GO SMS Pro is efficient and powerful in terms of usability and fulfilling all your messaging needs. There’s a private box, which encrypts all your messages while protects your privacy and stops any unwanted access to your conversations. You can keep your frequently contacted and favorite contacts at the top using the sticky feature.

  • What Is This Best For: Separates any incoming message from an unknown number into a different section; GO Chat will let you communicate with other users for free.
  • Unique Features: Great support for Dual-SIM phones; Hundreds of themes and customizability options; and smart SMS blocking with numbers and keywords.
  • Android Compatibility: Android 4.0 and above.
  • Price: Free to download.
  • Advertisements: Yes, occasional ads.
  • In-app Purchases: Yes, starts at $1.5.

9 – MightyText

MightyText

MightyText is not actually a messaging app that you use on your Android device for texting but it is an app that helps you sync all of your texts to your computer or tablet device and then you can send/receive messages directly from that device without using your phone. This is a perfect app for someone who works on their computer but wants to have a beautiful messaging interface right on the computer screen to eliminate the need to switch between devices.

You can install and setup MightyText on your mobile phone and computer device and from that point forward, you can just keep your phone in your pocket and use your PC to send or respond to messages. Not just that, the app will send you call notifications on your computer. This makes texting swift and quick.

  • What Is This Best For: Syncing messages and phone calls to your computer/tablet; Scheduling messages; receive notifications from other apps right on your computer.
  • Unique Features: Low battery alerts on your computer; Backup and restore messages; Phone call alerts on your PC; and block numbers to stop messages from spammers.
  • Android Compatibility: Android 4.4 and above.
  • Price: Free to download.
  • Advertisements: No, ad-free.
  • In-app Purchases: None.

10 – SMS Organizer

SMS Organizer

A project of Microsoft Garage, SMS Organizer is slightly more than just a simple messaging app. A clever app for smartphones that keeps your SMS inbox organized automatically to give you a quick overview of all the current conversations including your personal messages, reminders, and any offers sent to your message inbox. You can find all of your unread messages with just a tap of a button. The app even supports voice typing that helps you save time.

The reminder tab is where all the messages about your appointments, hotel reservations, bill payment, movies, and any other deadline-based messages are neatly organized and turns into a reminder. SMS Organizer offers a Passbook feature as well using which you can keep track of all your expenses, bank accounts, and wallets.

  • What Is This Best For: Neatly organizing SMS and messages; Backing up messages; and finding any non-replied messages.
  • Unique Features: Organizes messages into different categories for a clutter-free look; Keep track of your expenses; get reminders for any appointment.
  • Android Compatibility: Android 4.4 and above.
  • Price: Free to download.
  • Advertisements: No, ad-free.
  • In-app Purchases: None.

b – Top 7 Best Android Instant Messaging, Chatting & RCS Apps

In this section, you will find the most popular and best instant messaging apps, RCS, and chatting apps for Android smartphones and tablet devices.

You will notice that majority of these apps provide end-to-end encryption for secure messaging, audio recording for conversation over voice-notes, sending/receiving multimedia, and free voice calling too. All you need is an active Internet connection, whether it is WiFi or cellular data.

1 – WhatsApp Messenger

WhatsApp Messenger

WhatsApp Messenger doesn’t really need an explanation, as it’s a renowned, widely used chatting app among all the smartphone and tablet devices, and users from all around the world. It is a simple, reliable, secure, and multi-platform app currently owned by Facebook.

As far as messages are concerned, you can send and receive messages in various forms including text, voice, images, GIF, video along with support for other multimedia including documents. You can even share location and contacts. The support for group chatting is fantastic too with a maximum capacity of over 250 members.

  • What Is This Best For: Quickly share photos and multimedia; End-to-end encryption; quick replies with voice messaging; and share your live GPS location.
  • Unique Features: You don’t need a username, password, and PIN to use WhatsApp; and the ability to install and send stickers.
  • Android Compatibility: Android 4.1 and above.
  • Price: Free to download.
  • Advertisements: No, ad-free.
  • In-app Purchases: None.

2 – Viber Messenger

Viber VOIP Messaging and Calls

Viber is a great go-to chatting app for most phone users who are looking to send and receive messages and multimedia over the Internet along with additional unique features that are limited to Viber messenger only like sticker market and self-destructing messages. There are other features too, like Viber Out that gives you minutes for international calling but that requires a subscription and Viber community that supports unlimited members.

Although the app is great, well designed, and is used by hundreds and thousands of people from around the world however you will find it is a bit more resource hungry than the other apps I have mentioned in the list. That’s because it offers you tons of features, some that you may not want in a chatting app like news.

  • What Is This Best For: Easily share favorite links from Yelp, YouTube, Spotify, and other social platforms; and Viber out calling plans.
  • Unique Features: Self-destructing chat; Dedicated Viber stickers market; Viber community let you create communities related to your topic of interest; and Viber Out subscription for international calling.
  • Android Compatibility: Android 4.2 and above.
  • Price: Free to download.
  • Advertisements: Yes, occasional ads.
  • In-app Purchases: Yes, starts at $1.5.

3 – Hangouts

Google Hangouts

Developed by Google, Hangouts is a great RCS chatting app for those who have Google account. The app allows various ways to communicate including private chat and group chat. The group chatting supports up to 150 members at a time whereas on a private chat you can easily share photos and videos as well as express yourself with emojis and stickers.

If you are a Google Voice user then you can easily connect your account for sending SMS, voicemail integration, and phone calls. And you are even allowed to send messages to your contacts even when they are offline, they will receive it whenever their device connects to the Internet again.

  • What Is This Best For: Group chatting with over 150 people at a time; Cross-platform sync support including web; Call any other Hangouts user for free.
  • Unique Features: Google Voice integration;
  • Android Compatibility: Android 5.0 and above.
  • Price: Free to download.
  • Advertisements: No, ad-free.
  • In-app Purchases: None.

4 – Messenger by Facebook

Facebook Messenger

Messenger is an awesome app by Facebook that lets you send and receive messages as well as phone calls, all from within the app. You can even use it as a primary SMS app if given the required permissions. The app can sync your contacts and messages from your Android device and then you can easily connect with anyone with just a tap of a button.

Since Instagram has become a part of Facebook so you can also chat and communicate with your friends and followers there, right from within the Facebook Messenger app. The app has awesome compatibility so it doesn’t matter whether you are on a computer, smartphone, or tablet device, you can stay connected with your friends and contacts. There is native support for emoji, GIF, and custom stickers so that you can better express yourself while chatting.

  • What Is This Best For: Custom stickers; Quick messaging with anyone without sharing your contact number; Option to use it as a default SMS/MMS app.
  • Unique Features: Cross-app messaging for Instagram and Facebook; Vanish mode; Unique chat themes; Ability to host over 50 people at a time for group video chat without time limit.
  • Android Compatibility: Android 5.0 and above.
  • Price: Free to download.
  • Advertisements: No, ad-free.
  • In-app Purchases: Yes, offers in-app purchases.

5 – WeChat

WeChat chatting app

WeChat has been around for a while already but has recently started to gain traction among instant messaging app users. The app is developed by a Chinese based company named Tencent. Similar to others in the list, this app lets you chat and share photos, videos, documents, real-time locations, and even supports mobile payment through WeChat Pay.

Apart from chatting, WeChat offers additional features too, which include Time Capsule where you can share some highlights of your day that disappears after 24 hours, WeChat mini-games, and the option to scan QR codes. The developers have also added support for dark themes.

  • What Is This Best For: Design / Features or Feature-rich / Theme / Customizability / Desktop support.
  • Unique Features: WeChat Pay; Offers news within the app; Games that can be played with other WeChat users; Group chats support with over 500 members.
  • Android Compatibility: Android 5.0 and above.
  • Price: Free to download.
  • Advertisements: No, ad-free.
  • In-app Purchases: Yes, starts at $1.49.

6 – LINE

LINE Messaging app

LINE is not just an RCS messaging app but it is a lot more than that. You can have one-on-one communications as well as group chats with the support of 200 people at a time where you can enjoy face-to-face video chats. To make your chats and conversations interesting and fun, you can use filters and effects.

LINE provides you with personal storage space as well, known as Keep, where you can conveniently store your messages backup, videos, pictures and then you can easily share those with your friends. With support for LINE Out, you can use this app to make international phone calls and SMS at cheaper rates, which is helpful when your friends aren’t online but you want to communicate.

  • What Is This Best For: Keep, your storage space for multimedia; sync your LINE account with a computer and stay connected; Sticker shop from where you can download hundreds of stickers.
  • Unique Features: Group calling with over 200 members; Send and receive money; Create polls for decisions among the group; Timeline, where you can share moments.
  • Android Compatibility: Android 5.0 and above.
  • Price: Free to download.
  • Advertisements: Yes, occasional ads.
  • In-app Purchases: Yes, starting at $1.

7 – Talkatone

talkatone

As the name of the app itself says, Talkatone is a free voice calling and messaging app for Android devices that let you send and receive messages free messages as well as phone calls over WiFi or cellular network connections. The app supports group messaging so you can communicate over messages for free along with the ability to share photos and videos.

Since it supports direct calling, so you can actually purchase calling credits to call/text to any international number, which can be very handy in situations where you are traveling to another country for few weeks but don’t want to buy a SIM card so you can use this app to send and receive messages as well as phone calls.

  • What Is This Best For: Calling and texting any number all around the world; Option to send and receive messages and multimedia over WiFi or cellular network.
  • Unique Features: Gives a free Canadian or US phone number; Ability to call Canada and US numbers; Free MMS to Canada and US phone numbers.
  • Android Compatibility: Android 4.4 and above.
  • Price: Free to download.
  • Advertisements: Yes, occasional ads.
  • In-app Purchases: Yes, starts at $2.

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