Google announced a better SMS experience through third party SMS apps with the Android 4.4 Kitkat update. Android app developers will get to make the best of the new SMS APIs (Application Programming Interface) for their apps. Meanwhile, instant messengers like WhatsApp, Line, Viber and others are gaining popularity on Android; while the rudimentary SMS app remains the same-native and a bit boring.
There are several third party SMS apps available at the Google Play Store for users to try. Also, those who don’t mind the cleaner user experience of the Messaging app should certainly take a backup of their messages. Take a look at some of the best third party SMS apps available for most Android versions.
Go SMS Pro
Go For Android Team’s Go SMS Pro. It offers a plethora of themes and backgrounds for the user to make a potentially boring experience a bit more interesting. The app also brings over 800 emoticons for messaging but we don’t guarantee that the recipient will get to see all. For better privacy, it has a Private Box option for storing confidential and private SMSes. Block the spam messages using the Blocker option and also enjoy the automatic reply template. Users can schedule their automatic outgoing message to wish on birthdays, anniversaries or to share any other information.
The app also sends MMS messages but do note that it may turn out to be a costly affair. Also, you can take a backup of your SMS in XML format to be easily transferred to another phone or opened on a computer. Get the free Go SMS Pro app from the Google Play store.
Enjoy some fancy features such as support for different languages, group messaging, and skinning. Handcent SMS offers integrated spell check and message composing tools. Countless skins and themes help glorify the layout of the app and mimic some existing interfaces as well. Users can filter out and block incoming SMS or MMSs to keep their inbox spam-free. The GPS plugin allows the user to locate friends based on their location and users can send up to 1100 messages in an hour through this app (which we do not condone).
Unique backgrounds, notification tones and pop-ups allow more than usual options. There are backup and restore options in this app as well. Take Handcent SMS app for a spin from the Google Play store.
This app basically whitewashes the native messaging app and colours it with several layers. From a large library of emoticons to great looking themes and message options, Chomp SMS offers a variety of features. Annoying numbers can be locked and blocked to stop them from showing up in the messages list. Birthday and Anniversary SMSs can be scheduled in advance so that you don’t miss wishing anyone. Chomp SMS offers reply pop-up, signatures and text snippets that really improve the SMS experience.
To top it all, there are different themes, notification icons, LED notifications colors, ringtones, font types, patterns and even background wallpapers. Do note that using all these options might slow down your experience a bit on older devices. Download Chomp SMS from the Google Play store.
SMS Backup & Restore
This is a simple app that offers taking a backup of SMS messages in XML format and also allows scheduling automatic backups. The app also allows restoring messages from the backups. Users can store these backups in the email or upload them to cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive with the help of an add-on. One of the good features of this app is that you can select conversations and messages before restoring them from the backup. The XML format of backup makes it easily readable on the computer.
Try out the free SMS Backup & Restore app from Google Play store.
SMS Backup+, as its name suggests, offers automatic backup of SMS, MMS and call log entries to a separate unique label in the user’s Gmail account. This is by far the simplest SMS backup and restore app available in the market, though the user interface could have been better. The best part of this app is that it does not ask for your Gmail password and asks the user to simply connect the app with the Gmail account.
Currently, the app can restore SMSs and call logs only. Apart from that, the app also allows backing up WhatsApp messages. SMS Backup+ is available for free from the Google Play store.