Best Messaging App for Android: Top 25 Picks
The concept of text message apps has evolved from social media networks which, obviously, offered a private messaging feature. What was once just an integrated feature on those websites has evolved to become its own separate thing, in the form of a standalone mobile texting app. Nowadays, messaging apps on mobile platforms have more traction on daily basis than most apps can even come close to. The popularity is through the roof. The ease of use, combined with the convenience these apps provide, is a reason big enough to justify their tremendous growth in usage. The biggest messaging apps, which are part of Facebook’s “Family” services, have an estimated 2.1 billion unique users daily. Facebook owns two of the best messaging apps for Android currently available on the market as part of its “Family” services—WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
Most, if not all, text messaging apps use an Internet connection to provide their services and act as a substitute for SMS. Though some also require a phone number for registration à la Viber and WhatsApp. As far as operating systems go—which on mobile platforms are limited to Android and iOS—messenger apps are not exclusive to any such system, meaning they are available on both iOS and Android devices.
Fair to say that even though some of the best messaging apps have desktop versions of themselves—whether it be through website integration or a standalone app—their mobile equivalents are more widely used. Consequently, messaging apps have replaced instant messaging platforms like Yahoo! Messenger and Windows Live Messenger (which were only available on desktop computers).
Ever since smartphones became popular, people have migrated from using traditional calling and texting. Thus, using SMS for text messaging purposes has slowly lost its relevance. The main key difference between messaging apps and traditional SMS lies in pricing. The latter carries financial charges, whereas the former is free and has minimal data charge. In most countries, using SMS as means of communication is losing prevalence among consumers.
Most notably European countries have seen as much as 66% decrease in SMS usage. That is, however, not the case for the United States where SMS has managed to maintain its popularity thanks to telecommunications carriers that offer free SMS messages as part of their mobile plans.
So what do these texting apps offer that SMS does not? Why do people actually prefer to use messaging apps as opposed to traditional SMS? The answer boils down to couple of factors, each presenting its own, unique value.
Features of the Best Android Texting Apps
If we put aside the cost aspect, messaging apps provide multitude of features that are unavailable on SMS. Here is a list of some key features for reference:
Voice and video calls
File sharing (audio, video, pictures, etc.)
If the file-sharing is not enough, you can install these apps to download videos and access them without and internet. With that said, let’s discuss what some of the best messaging apps for Android are. The Google-owned operating system boasts an incredible collection of texting apps. Even though it is hard to say which is the best messaging app for Android—since it is mostly down to personal preference—we will try to outline the ones that rose to popularity thanks to their quality of service and unique features. The following is a comprehensive list of the best text messaging apps for Android.
Best Messaging Apps for Android
An extension of Facebook’s direct messaging feature through a standalone app. Regardless of whether you like Facebook or not, the Messenger is one of the best messaging apps out there.
This is the built-in default messaging app on your Android device. It is simple to use and has a user-friendly interface. The good news? Google is going to add new features to it pretty soon.
An all-encompassing messaging app that gives you the ability to text and call just about anyone. It is free of charge and works through an Internet connection.
Slack is a chat room that is primarily targeted towards corporate working environment to replace traditional email communication between employees.
With Hangouts, you can keep in touch with your contacts through messages and video/voice calls. Communication with contacts is free, though charges may apply for any outside communication.
A VoIP and instant messaging app that is cloud-based and is exclusively available on mobile devices. Users can send text messages and media files.
A unique messaging app that you use to snap moments of your life and share with friends or the public. All messages are timed and deleted after they are expired.
Skype is a cross-platform communications app that is specialized in video chats and voice calls. You can also send texts and media files. Skype, however, is not a strictly messaging app.
Viber is a VoIP and instant messaging application that is available on all platforms.
Instagram Direct is not a standalone app like most other messenger apps as it is the integrated messaging function within Instagram’s own app. You can text with friends and share media files.
WeChat is the most famous Chinese messaging app that serves multiple purposes, from messaging to social media to mobile payments.
One of the oldest Android messaging apps that has been constantly updated with each new software update. It is a free app that has some cool features like quick reply pop-up, different themes, blocking and Wear OS support.
It has great customization options that provide unique personalized messaging experience for every user.
Handcent Next SMS
This app is as old as Android itself, though has managed to reinvent itself just enough to stay relevant through all these years. Some of the best features include cloud back-up and the ability to send text messages from computers.
One of the highly regarded alternatives to Android’s default messaging app that offers full customization and features such as typing indicator and real timer caller ID.
Pulse adds a powerful web platform to an otherwise standard SMS app to help you access messages from anywhere (tablet, computer, mobile), share all kinds of media files and adds customization for a smooth and powerful experience.
An open-source messaging app that is free of advertisements (a rarity these days, however a very welcome feature). You can schedule messages, search through your old conversations with advanced filtering and delayed sending.
A beautiful, fast and highly customizable messaging app with tons of useful features like slide to delete, slide to call and send, quick reply and voice memos.
A user-friendly website that prides itself on being fast and small in size (just under 4MB). It is an SMS/MMS app that has more features than meets the eye from the first glance.
Signal Private Messenger
Signal is the only private open-source messenger that guarantees 100% safety for calls and messages through special peer-reviewed cryptographic protocols.
A free cross-platform app with voice and text chat for gamers.
Line: Free Calls & Messages
Free voice and video calls as well as text messages, Line is a free messaging app that supports huge chat rooms that can contain up to 200 people simultaneously.
GroupMe is a messenger used for group conversations. You can add just about anyone via a phone number or email address.
Obbip is a messenger that you can use anywhere in the world. With Obbip you can follow the public channels of your favorite influencers and more.
Wire provides encrypted communication between different platforms and can be used to transmit media files and texts as well as make video/voice calls.