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Even with the rise of instant messaging apps, good old SMS still reigns supreme. In fact, a survey last year found that 72% of respondents preferred simple text messaging to any of the new apps.

But how do you get the best SMS experience on Android? You’ll obviously need a great text messaging app, but there are other add-on apps that can bring functionality and features you always wished for.

So we rounded up excellent, free apps that any Android user who texts a lot should install. But whatever you do, be safe in your SMS practices. Remember, even a single text can hack some Android How 95% of Android Phones Can Be Hacked with a Single Text How 95% of Android Phones Can Be Hacked with a Single Text A new Android vulnerability has the security world worried - and it leaves your smartphone extremely vulnerable. The StageFright bug allows malicious code to be sent by MMS. What can you do about this security... Read More  devices.

Best SMS Client: TrueMessenger

Once you get TrueMessenger, you can’t go back to any other text messaging client. It was one of the best Android apps of 2015 The Best New Android Apps Released in 2015 The Best New Android Apps Released in 2015 Some really amazing apps hit the scene in 2015 -- let's take a look at the best. Read More , and for good reason. TrueMessenger identifies unknown numbers who have sent you messages and relies on crowd intelligence to block spam.

TrueMessenger also has an “Undo Send” feature, much like Gmail’s What's New in Good Old Gmail? 5 Features You Should Check Out What's New in Good Old Gmail? 5 Features You Should Check Out You might have missed out on a few new features Gmail has gradually added in the past year. So let's look at what deserves our attention. Read More , giving you a five second window to stop a regretful text from going through.

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It has been my primary client for more than a year, and the more you use it, the better it gets Identify Unknown Numbers and Block Spam Text Messages with Truemessenger for Android Identify Unknown Numbers and Block Spam Text Messages with Truemessenger for Android Truemessenger is a fantastic new app for sending and receiving text messages, and it can tell you who an unknown number is and block spam. Read More . You can block numbers, or entire series of numbers and names, making the spam filter extremely useful. Of course, this also means you don’t get notified of rubbish junk texts that you can safely ignore.

These are just some of its features that make it my favorite tool, but there are questions about its privacy implications — especially since it requires you to upload your entire Contacts book to its database.

If you’d prefer some other client, Justin thinks Hangouts is the best all-in-one messaging and calling app The Best All-In-One Messaging & Calling App For Android: Google Hangouts The Best All-In-One Messaging & Calling App For Android: Google Hangouts What if there was one app that could do it all? Meet Google Hangouts for Android. Read More , and the Play Store has plenty of other alternative SMS apps you should check out Text Better With These Alternative SMS Apps For Android Text Better With These Alternative SMS Apps For Android Don't like your default SMS app? Try a new one! Read More .

Download: TrueMessenger for Android (Free) on the Play Store

Smart Reply Suggestions: Fluenty

Good software is all about anticipating the user’s needs and catering to them. It’s what makes Google Inbox so efficient 10 Super Efficient Ways Inbox by Gmail Saves You Time 10 Super Efficient Ways Inbox by Gmail Saves You Time Inbox by Gmail is Google's most recent approach to email organization and management. It can give you a simpler email workflow. Find out if Inbox by Gmail can be the better choice for you. Read More . The app has a “Smart Reply” feature, which suggests pre-generated replies in boxes based on the content of the email. Click the applicable box, and it’ll be auto-inserted.

That’s what Fluenty (also called Talkey) brings to the table for text messages — and it even works on Android Wear smartwatches Which Android Wear Smartwatch Is Best For You? Which Android Wear Smartwatch Is Best For You? In the market for an Android Wear smartwatch? Let's compare all the options available now and make the decision easy. Read More , saving you the trouble of typing on a tiny screen. Fluenty’s ease of use is what makes it a treat.

Give it access to your notifications, and every new SMS will pop-up with a Smart Reply option. Tap that to see a list of suggested messages that you can send in one tap. If one fits but you want to add more, simply tap and hold it. You’ll get a text edit window to reply, with the suggestion already inserted into the text box.

Fluenty also mines through your existing Sent folder to find messages you type often, and adds them to its list of suggestions. Plus, you can manually add things to the Custom Reply list. Fluenty also works with other text messaging apps like Hangouts and WhatsApp.

Download: Fluenty for Android (Free) on the Play Store

Reply Profiles and Scheduling: Autoresponder + SMS Scheduler

The last time we looked at apps to send text messages later The Right Message at the Right Time: 4 Ways to Schedule Messages With Android The Right Message at the Right Time: 4 Ways to Schedule Messages With Android If you want to schedule text messages to ensure you never forget to send one again, you need one of these apps. Read More , Auto SMS stood out since it also let you send automatic replies when you’re busy. In most ways, Autoresponder + SMS Scheduler is an improved version of that, offering a better UI.

The app makes you choose what you want to do right now: set it to autoresponder or set it to scheduler. And that’s key, since this one act stops you from accidentally keeping the autoresponder on when you don’t need it.

best-sms-apps-autoresponder

The scheduler is easy to set up, as you just need to select the date and time, write the message, and add contacts from your address book.

The autoresponder makes you set profiles and compose replies that will get automatically sent when you activate a profile. It’s a bit like setting up Android’s Priority Mode How to Set Up Android's Priority Mode (and Get Back Silent Mode) How to Set Up Android's Priority Mode (and Get Back Silent Mode) Volume controls changed a lot in Lollipop, so we're here to help you make sense of all of it. Read More , but only for SMS.

Download: Autoresponder + SMS Scheduler for Android (Free) on the Play Store

Sync, Read, and Send Texts on Any Device: MySMS

I have been an avid fan of MightyText for a long time, but that has changed recently. These days, MySMS wins my vote as the app to sync your texts across devices, and send and receive SMS from your computer 3 Ways to Send and Check SMS Messages from Your PC 3 Ways to Send and Check SMS Messages from Your PC Do you often get distracted by SMS alerts on your mobile while working on the computer? Switching from one device to another is major interruption of your work flow, so tools that help you stay... Read More .

Where MySMS excels is in its cross-platform appeal (i.e., it works on computers, tablets, and phones). So you can install MySMS on your iPad and read a text that your Android phone just got, plus reply to that text through your iPad itself. It’s absolutely brilliant, and no other app does it as smoothly.

MySMS also has other cool features baked into it, like message scheduling and favoriting texts. That’s just the free version too, whereas the Premium version adds auto-backup of texts to your Google Drive How to Backup Your Android Phone Logs and SMS to Google Drive Spreadsheets How to Backup Your Android Phone Logs and SMS to Google Drive Spreadsheets The new IFTTT for Android will automatically store them forever in your Google Drive. Read More or Dropbox.

Download: MySMS for Android (Free) and for other platforms

A Few Other Apps: “Nice, But Not Essential”

Every Android user should have the above four apps, especially if you use SMS regularly. But there are a few others which are hit-or-miss, and it’s all about whether you like them or not. Make your own call on these.

best-sms-apps-hoverchat

Hoverchat for Chat Bubbles: Do you like how Facebook’s Chat Heads appear on your screen, ready to reply without leaving whatever you’re doing? Hoverchat brings that to SMS Hoverchat Brings Facebook Messenger's Chat Heads To SMS Hoverchat Brings Facebook Messenger's Chat Heads To SMS If you text a lot, you know the annoyances of leaving the app you're in every time you receive a text, but with HoverChat, you never have to leave your current app. Read More . Importantly, you can choose which contacts get bubbles and which don’t, so it’s restricted to those you’d have text conversations with, not just a one-off message.

Last Message: Try as you might to improve battery life on Android 5 Advanced Ways to Improve Battery Life on Android 5 Advanced Ways to Improve Battery Life on Android If you've got a rooted Android device (or you're willing to root it), and you want better battery life, we can help you out. Read More , it’s going to die at some point. What you need then is Last Message, a simple app that auto-sends an SMS to important contacts — like your significant other — telling them that your phone’s battery has died, which is why you can’t be reached.

Stock-Android-Without-Root-Google-Messenger-SMS

Messenger by Google: The simple, official messaging app by Google is now available for download, in case you have a non-Nexus device and want to get the stock Android experience without rooting Get the Stock Android Experience on Any Phone Without Root Get the Stock Android Experience on Any Phone Without Root A lot of Android devices have very customized interfaces, but you can get a stock Android look without even rooting your device! Read More . It is also lightning-quick at searching through your texts — faster than any other app I’ve seen.

What’s Your Favorite?

Hopefully, this list should give you all the tools you need to make your text messaging experience better than ever before. If you know any other must-have SMS apps, share them in the comments below.

Also, in your daily use, what do you rely on the most: SMS, WhatsApp and other phone-based messengers, or instant messengers like Hangouts? Which one do you prefer and why?

  1. Scott
    July 6, 2016 at 1:11 am

    "Every Android user should have the above four apps, especially if you use SMS regularly."

    How does one manage four separate SMS apps?

  2. Ben Stegner
    July 4, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    I still use Textra, myself. I haven't tried TrueMessenger because I don't have any problems with spam text messages, so I don't feel like I'm not its target market.

    What I really wish is that most of my friends would migrate to Telegram instead of using plain texting, but that's not really something I can help!

    • Spencer
      July 5, 2016 at 1:46 pm

      Ben, I also use Textra. I was honestly quite surprised that it wasn't included in this list. The overlay window alone is worth mentioning in this post.

      I also agree on Telegram (or Signal, since both are great for e2e), but I'm hoping that more large platforms will adopt encryption like WhatsApp has.

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