Do you use the default app on your Android phone for text messaging? Other apps are available that can replace the built in app and you might find them easier, more convenient to use and have more features too.

It is important to realise that the text messaging app on your phone is not fixed and it is not compulsory. You do not have to use it and it can be replaced by another app. Two alternatives are Google Hangouts and Google Messenger. Both handle text messages via SMS or MMS, and they offer extra features that make them tempting for people thinking of switching. 

Here is the standard Messages app that comes with a Samsung Galaxy S6: 

Samsung Messages app  Samsung Messages app

After downloading either Hangouts or Messenger (that's Google Messenger and not Facebook Messenger) from the Google Play Store, running them usually displays a message on the screen asking if you would like to switch messaging apps. Just accept the offer and from then on Hangouts or Messenger will be used instead of the default app. 

Google Hangouts  Google Hangouts

This is Hangouts and not only does it look different, it also has more features. For example, at the bottom of the screen are buttons to add emoji, a photo, use the camera to take a live photo, stickers, and insert Google Maps. It is also possible to make free voice and video calls to people over the internet too. 

To make the transition to a new messaging app complete, you should press and hold, then drag the old Messages app out of the tray at the bottom of the screen and drag it to the trash bin at the top. (It does not delete the app, it just removes the icon from the tray and it can be put back if you change your mind.) 

Go to the all-apps screen and press and hold on Hangouts or Messenger and then drag it to the tray at the bottom of the home screen. 

Android tray

You can switch back to the previous messaging app simply by running it. Any messaging app that is not the default will ask if you want to set it as the default when it is run. 

You can also switch between messaging apps in Settings. Go to Settings and find More connection settings. (Different Android versions and different phones look slightly different, so your screen might not look identical to this one.) Press Default messaging app

Samsung Galaxy settings  Samsung Galaxy settings

You can then choose which text messaging app you want to use, Messages (the app bundled with Samsung phones) or Google Hangouts downloaded from the Google Play Store. 

Switch messaging apps on your phone

You don’t need to worry about your text messages when switching apps because they use the same ones. Switch to an alternative text messaging app and all your messages are there as they were in the other messaging app. You are only swapping the interface used to access your messages.