Dress Up Your Texts with These 4 Android SMS Replacement Apps

BY GreenBot Staff

Published 22 Mar 2017

For all the things that Android does really well, messaging is the one area that is still subpar. Compared to that other popular mobile platform. Manufacturers have traditionally preloaded a utilitarian texting app. That looked like it was built in an overnight jam session right before the ship date. You can do better. Here are four solid options to give you a better texting experience. Throw in a few extra tricks to make things more personalized and efficient.

Android Messages

If you want the quick, simple answer for what texting app to get, go with Android Messages. Formerly known as Messenger, it’s the focus of Google’s efforts to build a better texting system through RCS technology. When that feature arrives, you’ll get real-time typing notifications, more reliable messaging. And support for sending images at a higher resolution. Carriers are now rolling out support for the RCS universal profile. Until then, it just does basic SMS MMS like most messaging apps.

Android Messages is straightforward, a good choice if you want to stick close to Googles apps.

Since your carrier may not support RCS, you should focus on the current benefits. The app lets you differentiate conversations by assigning different colors to contacts, which is very helpful for keeping conversations straight. It also supports app shortcuts, so you can hop right into a conversation with someone specific. I’ve sent a text to the wrong person about a billion times when using an iPhone. Still, it’s never happened with this app since it’s easier to differentiate.
The app also flawlessly implements GIFs and emojis to liven up conversations. Other options are relatively straightforward, such as getting SMS delivery reports. Which kills the excuse of I didn’t get your text, by tweaking the sounds. The real benefit is that Google is finally taking messaging seriously and has made Hangouts more of a corporate solution. You can trust this app should see future development.

Textra SMS

Hands down, the best alternative to Android Messages is Textra SMS. In my day-to-day usage, I stick to the former because Google has finally decided to put effort into it. Still, I know that many people love to swear by Textra. Textra is an excellent choice if you want to jazz up your text interface and love customization choices. You have a limitless way to tweak the interface and change the colors. And the aesthetic view of the message bubbles.

Textra is loaded with customization choices that makes it a favorite for power users.

The animations are also lovely, putting some extra spunk into your texting. So, download the Textra Emoji add-on to access everything from the latest Unicode standard. A great power user feature. The ability to force the texts to go from SMS to MMS for longer messages. This avoids the garbled message groups that sometimes happen with more extended conversations. Spend time in the settings to customize this and many other tweaks available.


A lot of people have taken a greater interest in privacy these days. But getting everybody on board with your new secret messaging app is the pain point of any over-the-top messaging service. The signal might have the solution for you, as it provides over-the-top end-to-end encrypted messaging but will also do regular ol’ texting. You can tell the app to be your default SMS application. So it can receive those encrypted messages through the standard service texts. A banner will appear at the top of conversations sent via SMS. So you can encourage your friends and family to join you in enhanced privacy.

Signal doubles as an ultra-safe messaging app a standard SMS/MMS messenger.

Beyond that, Signal offers a clean interface and builds a nice bridge to a more secure system. You may want to drag others into. It also tells you right in each text when and if they were delivered. So there’s no question if the contact got the message. You have a few choices for customization. But the main focus is on privacy, eliminating the need for two messaging apps.


Speaking of Voice, there’s always the freshly updated Voice. OK, so you might have to use a different number than the one you have now, but there are some things to consider that might make Voice the right choice. You’ll appreciate the freshly designed Voice web app if you need the ability to message contacts from the desktop. And if you tend to bounce between devices. And like the idea of all your calls, voice mails, and texts easily accessible from any place. Then Voice is worth another look.

The biggest strength of Voice is that you can get your calls texts from any device.

The key will be if Google sticks to its pledge to keep building up the service after the recent revamp. It was abandoned for years; if it goes that route again, we’ll have to reverse our recommendation. Life as a green bubble can be challenging. You may be shunned by those in the iMessage world. But the upside is you have considerably more freedom to message the way you want. With that spirit in mind, take some time to try out these apps or peruse the Play Store. To find something that will deliver the experience you’re after.