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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 six of the best alternative SMS apps options out there.

(Note: If you’re looking to send messages over the internet rather than through SMS, check out this breakdown of the best messaging apps 5 Best Free Messaging Apps for Android 5 Best Free Messaging Apps for Android Need a free way to send messages to friends and family with your phone for free? Check out these apps. Read More .)

Google Messenger

google-messenger

Now, this one may or may not be an alternative app for you. That’s because certain Android device ship with Messenger as the default text messaging app, like Motorola devices Moto G4 Plus Review and Giveaway Moto G4 Plus Review and Giveaway Motorola has been the leader of the budget phone realm ever since they came out with their Moto G line, but the new Moto G4 Plus has taken things to the next level. Read More or the Google Pixel Google Pixel XL Review and Giveaway Google Pixel XL Review and Giveaway Google's first branded device delivers one of the best devices in the Android ecosystem: the $770 Pixel XL. The XL launched with similar specs as the $500 Nexus 6P, but is it worth $770? Read More .

However, lots of other manufacturers (like Samsung, LG, and HTC) tweak Android Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Hardware makers like to take Android and morph it into something that is entirely their own, but is this a good or a bad thing? Take a look and compare these different Android skins. Read More by installing their own proprietary text messaging apps. If that’s the boat you’re in, you might want to try out Messenger.

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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 even has some support for stickers. But that’s about it. Of course there are no ads or in-app purchases. This app is mostly for people who want something that just works.

Download: Google Messenger (Free)

Pulse SMS

pulse

Pulse is an amazing blend of customizability and simplicity. You get all of the best features here alongside a gorgeous Material Design look Exploring Android L: What Exactly Is Material Design? Exploring Android L: What Exactly Is Material Design? You may have heard about Android L and Material Design, but what exactly is this new design philosophy and how will it affect Android and other Google products? Read More .

You can change the look of the message bubbles, set custom colors for the entire app or for 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 the 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 $10.99 for a lifetime pass, or you can subscribe monthly: $0.99 for 1 month, $1.99 for 3 months, or $5.99 for 1 year. But even without the messaging from anywhere functionality, it’s still a solid full-featured messaging app.

Download: Pulse SMS (Free)

Visit: Pulse SMS Website

QKSMS

qksms

QKSMS is the open-source app for all the folks out there who cherish open-source technology 5 Reasons Why Software Should Be Free and Open Source 5 Reasons Why Software Should Be Free and Open Source Free software doesn't just mean you get to use the app or game without paying. It's about longevity and much more -- in fact, all software should be free and open source! Read More . It’s also dead simple. All of the options are hidden behind the three-dot icon in the upper right. 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 or in-app purchases (though you can donate in the app if you’re feeling generous). What’s not to love?

Download: QKSMS (Free)

Textra

textra

Textra has been around for awhile 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 conversations 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 and ad-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 $2.99.

Download: Textra (Free)

chomp SMS

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 SMS is also a great choice. There’s no Textra Bot, but there’s just about all the other features: themes, emoji styles, individual conversation editing, scheduled messages, a blacklist, and more.

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 ads.

Download: chomp SMS (Free)

Mood Messenger

mood

Mood Messenger 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 folks.

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.

And there are no ads or in-app purchases. For a quirky, super-customizable messaging app, choose Mood Messenger.

Download: Mood Messenger (Free)

Which Is the Best?

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. I’d recommend Google Messenger for the person who doesn’t need any fancy features, QKSMS for the open-source enthusiastics, Mood Messenger if you want tons of themes and animations, and Pulse for everyone else.

While Textra and chomp SMS used to be some of the best texting apps out there, it’s hard to justify their cost when there are superior free options available. Plus, Pulse’s texting from anywhere feature is unmatched on this list (normally you need a separate app like MightyText 10 Amazing Apps That Will Change How You Use Android 10 Amazing Apps That Will Change How You Use Android You might use an Android device daily, but if you're not using these apps, you're not getting the most out of it. Read More for that).

Which is your favorite? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below!

Originally written by Riley J. Dennis on April 8th, 2014.

  1. MD. LIAQUAT
    December 29, 2016 at 3:15 am

    Textra SMS seems best to me.

  2. JD
    December 20, 2016 at 3:06 am

    Maybe I just don't KNOW anything but I like hangouts does pretty much everything

  3. Kelsey Tidwell
    December 19, 2016 at 3:10 am

    I started to reply to a comment about MySMS until I noticed the original message date. I like that MySMS saves messages...I've been trying to figure out an easy, practical way to do that for a couple months now.

    My requirements in a perfect SMS app are:
    1) The message saving/sync
    2) Ability to assign notification sounds per contact
    3) Delayed message send

    Does anyone know of an app that has ALL of those features?

    • Susan
      December 19, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      I use My SMS because I can get notifications on my iPad, pc as well as my phone. It saves all my texts and it just works. I would like the option for per contact notifications as well but haven't seen that.

      • Kelsey Tidwell
        December 20, 2016 at 4:32 am

        Does MySMS save the texts automatically or is there something I need to set up? I didn't see options in the settings.

        • Susan
          December 20, 2016 at 4:39 pm

          MySMS has the option to archive your texts, but only in the paid version. I use SMS Backup to save my texts to Gmail.

        • Susan
          December 20, 2016 at 4:42 pm

          MySMS has an option to archive texts but only in the paid version. I use SMS Backup to save my texts to Gmail.

  4. Jenny Isupov
    October 5, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    I love these apps!
    One cool one that wasn't mentioned is: invi SMS messenger

  5. Steve
    March 16, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Chomp SMS Has Zero Customer Service. Used to love it. But now every second "update" they send causes problems. Last one created a problem where I can't even text. Sent them a very detailed email outlining the problem. 26 hours later all I got from them is "send a screenshot". Nothing from them for 3 days. Not a peep. Then sent a follow up email & THAT got ignored too. CS in non existent. Their only solution is to ignore the problem hoping you will go away. Decent product at one time but way too many problems now...and they totally ignore you when you ask for help. And it's NOT free, they say it is but you'll get a message in 2 weeks to pay if you want to continue. My stock app works fine (but looks ugly)...so the problem IS with Chomp. Downloaded GoSMS in frustration over a week ago and it works fine as well. My advise is don't waste your time with this one. Be aware this same company also makes Textra SMS and Telegram X.

  6. Waqas Ilyas
    February 27, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    EvolveSMS

  7. ihave5brats
    January 10, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Textra is a great looking, customizable app however will not ever send my sms always says failed so I'm using my phone sms app that was preinstalled not as nice but messages actually go through now hope they fix textra

  8. arslan raza
    December 27, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    in go sms pro
    sms allow sending option start coming..
    how i can solve this problem?

  9. Rison
    August 7, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    I reallllllly wish Textra had Chomps' feature to send scheduled messages :-/ I know there are other apps that can handle that feature, but I usually don't think about scheduling (i.e. making sure I send a message when my friends are actually awake, thus not waking them up and cussing me out the next morning) until after my message is already composed. I guess I could just keep practicing my cutting-and-pasting skills or continue to use Chomp. Thanks for the excellent article!

  10. Alex
    June 27, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    goSMS is so bloated now! I used to use it on 2-3 devices before my previous one. I just switched to a new device and downloaded several. I downloaded goSMS first but it had so much bloat/ads and decided to look for something different. After trying the different ones suggested on this and other websites, I have to say that 8sms is by far my favorit.

  11. Shafqat
    June 8, 2014 at 5:22 am

    i love to use hello sms but it has less features and not good..

  12. Apostolito
    May 29, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Testing Sliding Messaging Pro these days. Will report with my findings.

    • Fred
      January 19, 2017 at 3:21 pm

      Well? It's been two years now. Still waiting.

    • Fred
      January 19, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      Well, it's been two years now. Still waiting.

  13. Tim Vels
    May 7, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    I moved from Handsent and it is the best decision to use Textra.
    Simple and small in size than the others I have used so far.

    • Justin D
      May 9, 2014 at 12:44 am

      Lots of Textra fans in the comments! Thanks for sharing. :)

  14. Amir
    April 28, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I think the best SMS I have found so far is What'sApp

    • Justin D
      May 9, 2014 at 12:43 am

      I don't think Whatsapp sends SMSes does it? Only lets you message other Whatsapp users, as far as I know.

  15. Erise
    April 18, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    I think one of the best features in chompSMS and Textra (which you didn't mention) s the ability to do a quick sms by swiping down the notification bar and selecting quick compose (it's the one feature I jailbroke my old iPhones for). Love the clean interface of Textra too.

    • Justin D
      May 9, 2014 at 12:43 am

      Hm, I always found the quick compose from the notification drawer to be more annoying than anything. But you're right, it is a feature I should've talked about more. My bad, but thanks for mentioning it! :)

  16. Stian H
    April 10, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    I really miss EvolveSMS in this article. It's a great app with a lot of features, without feeling bloated. Read more about it here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.klinker.android.evolve_sms

    • Justin D
      May 9, 2014 at 12:41 am

      Looks interesting, thanks for the recommendation! :)

  17. Sul
    April 9, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Hello SMS for me

  18. Alain S
    April 9, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    No dual SIM apps?

    • Justin D
      May 9, 2014 at 12:40 am

      Unfortunately I don't have a dual SIM device, so that's not an option for me. Any recommendations for dual SIM SMS replacement apps that another writer might be able to try out, though?

  19. MsHanson
    April 9, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Any room on this list for MightyText.net? I migrated from AirDroid and have never looked back. I can text from my tablet when I'm away from my PC, and regardless ofwhere the phone is lost in the house, it appraises me of the battery level.

    • Justin D
      May 9, 2014 at 12:39 am

      I love MightyText! But, as far as I know, it isn't a full SMS replacement app; it only allows you to send texts from your tablet or desktop, right?

  20. Bob
    April 9, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    I used to love Go SMS. I could live with the ads at the bottom of the screen. But then it became irritating when they moved the ads to the top of your message list and you had to move past the ad to get to your message. I recently switched to Textra and have been happy with it despite lacking a few features.

    • Justin D
      May 9, 2014 at 12:38 am

      Seems like a lot of people are really happy with Textra. It is a really great app!

  21. Sarath
    April 9, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Pansi SMS - works like a mail box it allow us organize content, very helpful !

    • Justin D
      May 9, 2014 at 12:31 am

      Hmm I will have to check it out. Thanks!

    • Deepak
      December 20, 2016 at 6:07 am

      Link?

  22. Ankit
    April 9, 2014 at 9:31 am

    I have tried them all. HoverText (Ninja) has the best interface so far. Handcent/Go/Chomp/Hello suck. Textra though stands apart. Hovertext is good.

  23. Halkun
    April 8, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    I used to use bitesms on a jailbroken iphone then migrated onto Galaxy S4. Upon finding out Textra is the same creator as Chompsms and bitesms, I instantly used textra as my default. Simple, fast and easy to use app. I've already recommended to few of my friends.

    Textra > Stock sms

    • Justin D
      May 9, 2014 at 12:29 am

      Textra is definitely a superb option. Thanks for sharing. :)

  24. Ben S
    April 8, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    I've tried many of these apps; most are pretty good.

    Handcent is the first one I used. I liked it, but I found it became fairly laggy on my old phone, which may have been the phone's fault, not the app's.

    Then I went to GO. It's nice and packs lots of features, but I found it really bloated and the ads (even in the notification bar) weren't worth it.

    Then I tried Chomp, which was easy and clean but kind of outdated.

    I've been using Textra since I got my Nexus 5 and like it a lot. It's more up-to-date than Chomp, but has the level of customization that I want without being bloated. I'm very happy with Textra for now.

    • Justin D
      May 9, 2014 at 12:27 am

      Textra is a great app! It's what I recommend to a lot of my less tech-savvy friends with Android phones. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • martha
      March 7, 2015 at 11:31 pm

      how come i cant find where to add a picture or a file within an instant message that I'm typing?

  25. Ebbe K
    April 8, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    I'd like to mention MySMS (http://www.mysms.com/). It does not have that many bells and whistles but it does have one thing that I think is absolutely vital: It backs up my full SMS history to my Evernote account (it also supports backup on Google Drive or Dropbox). And yes, all the old SMSes are restored when get a new phone and install MySMS on it.

    • Graeme
      April 8, 2014 at 7:29 pm

      I love the fact that you can access your texts from the web or a tablet which is super convenient. Also the sliding interface where you can slide between conversations without going back to the messages list is great for texting multiple people quickly.

    • Bikas V
      April 9, 2014 at 8:01 am

      You forgot desktop. MySMS has dedicated desktop app as well.

    • Tony Karakashian
      April 9, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      Seconded! Since I moved to mySMS, I now leave my phone in the bedroom on the charger when I get home and use my tablet all night long. The only feature I needed that my phone had that the tablet didn't was SMS (I don't really use it as a phone all that often. At home, I'm more likely to have Google Voice forward calls to my Skype number so it rings on the tablet). The backup/restore features are just icing on the cake.

      I moved my wife to it because she was using Go SMS for a long time, but it finally got to the point that I told her not to send me MMS messages. Go moves your content to one of their web servers, and half the time it's been inaccessible.

    • Justin D
      May 9, 2014 at 12:26 am

      Thanks for letting me know about MySMS, sounds awesome :)

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