May 23rd, 2017

Yesterday was the day that we were hoping would never come. A few months back, Google gave everyone the heads up that SMS support for those not subscribed to Project Fi or Google Voice would be coming to an end. Unfortunately, that day has come.

Luckily, there are some alternatives available on the Play Store which can replace Hangouts as your default SMS application. Also, there are some options included below which will allow you to send text messages from the comfort of your PC and/or tablet.

Android Messages

Naturally, we would lead off this list of Hangouts replacement apps with another messaging app made by Google. Android Messages has been seeing more and more backend updates, which make the app RCS-compliant. This means that Google is working towards a true iMessage for Android replacement.

The app doesn’t add much in terms of being able to customize the layout, but it’s a solid app that does the job just fine. Hopefully, in the future, we’ll be able to add gifs and such to make out conversations with friends a little more fun.

  • Price: Free
  • In-app purchases: No
  • Rating: 4.1/5
  • Installs: 50M – 100M

Download Android Messages

Signal Private Messenger

Signal is an interesting SMS application due to what it’s capable of. The app aims to provide end-to-end encryption for all of your text message conversations, but there’s a catch – both users must have Signal installed. If both users don’t have Signal installed, then you’re left with an unencrypted conversation.

Privacy is becoming a more and more important feature for users, as there are constantly hacks revealing personal information, so Signal looks to stop this with its SMS app. There is also the ability to make phone calls from the app with other Signal users, meaning that you can rest easy without having to worry about your personal conversations ending up in the wrong hands.

  • Price: Free
  • In-App Purchases: No
  • Rating: 4.6/5
  • Installs: 1M – 5M

Download Signal Private Messenger

Textra SMS

Textra is likely the most customizable SMS application featured on the list, and offers the ability to customize just about every single aspect. You can use the generic light or dark modes, but you can also customize the bubble colors, notifications, background. Textra even offers the ability to customize themes per contact.

The other great feature of Textra is that the developers have permanently made the application free forever. The developers state that you’ll never have to pay for any new features, but you may occasionally see an ad here or there. If you want to support the developers, you can pay a one-time fee to remove all ads from the app.

  • Price: Free
  • In-App Purchases: Yes ($2.99 per item)
  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Installs: 10M – 50M

Download Textra SMS

Pulse Messenger

Pulse Messenger is my personal favorite SMS application replacement for my LG G6, and this is due to my familiarity with the developers. Luke Klinker has developed other applications such as Talon for Twitter, EvolveSMS, and Source (News Reader). These apps are some of the best on the Play Store and Klinker continues to release great options.

In addition to being able to send messages from your smartphone, you can also do the same from your tablet or your desktop web browser. Klinker has created a standalone Chrome application, as well as a Chrome extension, giving you more freedom to send your SMS messages with ease from wherever you are.

Best of all, Pulse is completely free. You don’t have to pay for any extra features and can download everything for free and be on your way.

  • Price: Free
  • In-App Purchases: Yes ($0.99 – $10.99 per item)
  • Rating: 4.4/5
  • Installs: 100,000 – 500,000

Download Pulse Messenger

Facebook Messenger

I was hesitant to add this to the list but ended up deciding to do so just for the sake of how convenient Facebook Messenger is. Everyone uses Facebook, and Facebook Messenger is turning into a way for you keep all of your important conversations under one roof (for better or worse).

Regardless, the Facebook Messenger app is being consistently updated with new features, and even allows you to make video or voice calls from the app, all for free. It would not surprise me if Facebook continued its push with Messenger and ended up becoming the default SMS app on devices in the future.

As I’m sure you all know by now, Facebook Messenger is available for free, and you can hit the button below to download it.

  • Price: Free
  • In-App Purchases: No
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Installs: 1M – 5M

Download Facebook Messenger

These are just some of the SMS-replacement applications available, let us know which one is your favorite. If you don’t see your de-facto SMS app listed, let us know in the comments below.