Best SMS messaging apps for Android

Although SMS remains the only way to ensure that anyone with a mobile phone number can be reached, very few apps support it in any country at the moment. This is due in part to the age of the protocol, and in part to the advancements made by WhatsApp and other messaging apps.

Signal is the latest Android app to drop SMS support (iOS apps were never allowed access to SMS, of course). The developers say it “no longer makes sense” to have an SMS component in the app. Reasons to indicate that it is less secure than the new messaging standards, may attract additional data bills, and can confuse users.

Many people still use SMS, but not least to communicate with friends and family who may not have the same messaging apps installed or who use a different mobile operating system. If you need to text on Android, here are your options.

Google messages

Courtesy of Google

Google Messages supports RCS and spam filtering.

The default messaging app on Pixel and Galaxy phones is Messages by Google, though Google is pushing a successor to SMS: Rich Communication Services (RCS). This new standard adds a lot of extras that are now taken for granted in modern messaging apps, like read receipts, group chats, and better photo and video support.

Messages will use either RCS or SMS, depending on what the contact you’re chatting with has access to (considering the SMS app, phone, network, and country they’re in). If RCS is enabled, you’ll see notification bubbles, instead of an “SMS” label, in your chats, and all messages in the chat will be end-to-end encrypted.

It’s not the most detailed or feature-packed app you’ll ever see, but there’s still a lot on offer, especially with RCS. Google can use a dash of artificial intelligence to prepare suggested responses, for example (just like in Gmail), links and numbers can be scanned for spam threats, scheduled messages are supported, and you can even access your chats on the web.

SMS pulse

Courtesy of Pulse

Pulse SMS manages many features.

As with Messages by Google, part of the appeal of Pulse SMS is that it can take your SMS messages out of the confines of your smartphone and allow you to access them on the web. There’s more in the app too, though we have to point out that some of the advanced features require a premium subscription for $1 per month.

Pulse SMS applies end-to-end encryption as long as the person you’re messaging is also using Pulse, and for even more 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 solid search feature here too – if you can’t remember exactly who said what and when, Pulse should be able to help.

There’s a great deal of flexibility in the way you message, with scheduled messages, delayed sending, and support for automatic replies. You can come back to messages later by snoozing them, compose messages faster with templates, and apply themes to your individual conversations. Pulse SMS really packs a lot in addition to the basic SMS user experience.

SMS chomp

Courtesy of Chomp

Chomp SMS sticks to the basics but does it well.

Chomp SMS is more basic than Pulse SMS — but for a lot of people, that’ll be perfectly fine. It focuses on the most important function of an app like this, which is sending and receiving SMS messages, and encapsulates it all in a no-nonsense interface (if you want to add a little more flair, there are a variety of themes available).

This is not to say that there are not some useful features included in Chomp SMS. The Quick Reply feature, for example, allows you to reply to texts in an overlaid popup so you don’t have to leave whatever app you’re currently using. You can lock the app behind a passcode for more privacy, and you can schedule messages to go out at a certain time and date if needed.

There’s an integrated text backup option here too, but perhaps the best part about Chomp SMS is how you customize the way you receive messages. Special ringtones and vibration patterns can be assigned to individual contacts, so you always know who is communicating with you without looking at your phone screen.

SMS organizer

Courtesy of Microsoft

SMS Organizer features automatic reminders and a dark theme.

SMS Organizer is Microsoft’s “Garage Project,” which means it’s something of a side hobby for its developers. While it may not be more profile than the official Microsoft apps, SMS Organizer is still updated regularly with new features and has a lot to offer if you need somewhere to live your SMS conversations on your Android phone.

For example, you can have reminders generated automatically from your SMS messages—about flights, bills, movie outings, or anything with details stored in text. You can back up texts, type texts using your voice, and quickly filter your chat list to see which unread messages you need to deal with 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 star messages so you can get back to them quickly and block spammers within the app. It’s all wrapped up in an elegant interface that manages to make the basic text look interesting.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


The Diablo IV Beta is making us kinda geeky as hell

Diablo IVThe open beta is finally over, which means we won’t get another chance to play the loot-grinding RPG until it drops on June 6th. Now that most everyone is in Kotaku Given the opportunity to check out Hell (or at least the emissaries of it we encountered in the early game), we decided to […]

Read More

Check out the full leaked specifications of the upcoming Motorola Edge 40 and Edge 40 Pro

Although Motorola is still not ranked among the top ten smartphone vendors in the world, devices such as Edge (2022) and Edge+ (2022) has certainly made waves over the past year or so with its bang for the buck, significantly boosting brand awareness in key markets like the US. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist […]

Read More

How to use Astrophoto mode on a Samsung Galaxy phone

Among the many new camera features that have been added to the Galaxy S22 family is a new Astrophoto mode that can turn the dark night sky into a gorgeous canvas of stars. All you need is your phone, Samsung Expert RAW app, and a tripod. Since the launch of these phones, Samsung has extended […]

Read More