Check out our 8 favorite free texting apps

Check out our 8 favorite free texting apps

It’s been more than 30 years since the first text message hit the airwaves, forever changing the way people talk to each other. The 160-character limit inspired the invention of new initialisms like LOL and TTYL, which found a permanent home in the English lexicon. Although many have complained about the changes in communication caused by texting, the technology has become a constant fixture of modern life. The only question is, which texting app are you going to use (and what cheap phone are you texting with)?


The best OTT messaging apps

The most common form of text messaging around the world is over-the-top services, which run alongside another service, in this case the Internet. Apps offering OTT messaging rose in popularity in the 2010s because they were free and not tied to a data plan or carrier contract.


WhatsApp is the most popular OTT messaging app in the world for good reason. In addition to excellent texting, it also offers solid voice and video calling without having to deal with ads. With WhatsApp, you can create groups for your friends, family, or Pokémon GO raid team. It’s not as popular in the US as it is in other countries (India has more WhatsApp users than there are people in the US), but with nearly 100 million users and cash transfers, it won’t last long. before it’s on your phone.

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There’s not much that differentiates Messenger from its closest competitor, WhatsApp, except for Facebook’s massive user base that’s natively connected to Messenger. This alone has made Messenger the king of messaging apps in the US, with nearly 65% ​​of the market. Plus, Messenger doesn’t require a phone number like WhatsApp, meaning you don’t need a subscription (or even a phone) to use it.


On the surface, Telegram looks a lot like WhatsApp or Messenger—there’s text messaging, voice and video calling, picture sharing, and groups. When you dig into the service, it becomes clear that Telegram is different. Telegram groups can accommodate up to 200,000 members and have channels (like a cross between a subreddit and a chat room), which means that Telegram acts more like a social network than a messaging app.

SMS applications

Even though texting isn’t as common internationally, it’s still one of the most common forms of messaging in the United States. In addition to the interpersonal texting that we are all used to, SMS has become the de facto method of one-time password delivery. , meaning the venerable messaging standard isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

There are two varieties of SMS messaging apps: apps that work with your existing phone plan, essentially replacing your default messaging app, and apps that provide you with an additional phone number you can text from, often with some limitations.

Google Messages

Messages is the undisputed king of SMS on Android, with over a billion downloads. In addition to standard SMS and MMS support, Google’s flagship also supports RCS messaging (if supported by your carrier). So in addition to being able to send audio and video, your chats are end-to-end encrypted and can be sent over Wi-Fi, bypassing cellular networks. Messages also has the advantage of being fully integrated with other Google services, meaning you can set reminders or add information to your calendar right from the app.

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Chomp SMS

Chomp has been around since 2013 and stands above other apps with countless customization options. Want to change the LED notification color? Chomp can do that. Want to change colors, fonts and ringtones? Chomp has that covered too. You can also schedule when you want to send your messages, add a signature to your texts, or lock them behind a password to protect them from prying eyes.

Google Voice

Google Voice goes beyond the label of a simple messaging app. When you sign up for the service, you don’t just get a texting app (SMS and MMS, no RCS). You’ll also receive a new phone number via voicemail and free, unlimited calls to the US or Canada (except 800 numbers). You can also make international calls for just $0.01 per minute. The only caveat is that you need to be in the US to sign up for Google Voice. After signing up, you can still call US and Canadian numbers for free from anywhere in the world with internet access.


TextPlus is another service similar to Google Voice, but with some additional limitations. It offers free texting over Wi-Fi to the US and Canada. You can also select the area code for your new phone number (subject to availability) in case you want to change a Manhattan 212 number. If you no longer want the Manhattan number, you can change it for free. One downside to the app is that you can only send text messages within the US and Canada, but you can call almost anywhere in the world starting at $0.02 per minute.

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Like the previous two apps, TextNow provides you with your own phone number and unlimited texting and calling within the US and Canada. TextNow is ad-supported, so its basic features are free, but it also has a number of subscriptions to enhance your experience. For $5 a year, you get a premium number that’s easier to remember (think 444-333-1234). Like Google Voice and TextPlus, you can send text messages over Wi-Fi. If you want a little more freedom, sign up for a TextNow data plan (starting at 1GB for $9 a month) and pay a one-time $1 fee to get your physical SIM card.

So what should I download?

The Android ecosystem of SMS apps is vibrant and growing, and this list is just a drop in the ocean of messaging apps available, but it’s a good place to start if you’re looking for a new messaging service. But if you want to know if you haven’t read it, we’ll take care of it.

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