Free texting apps are big business these days, but which – if any – are worth downloading and using? We tested around 30 free text apps to find out which were the best overall. Let’s investigate the results…
If you’re searching Google for a free texting app, you’ll find plenty inside Google Play and even the App Store. But none – and I repeat: NONE – are 100% free.
Free Texting Apps ALWAYS Come With Strings Attached
Why? Simple: apps cost money to run, so the developer has to cover their costs and the ONLY way to do that (with a freemium model) is adverts. And all of the apps on the market right now that claim to do free texting fall into this category – they all use adverts.
Even popular ones like TextNow.
You will be able to SMS and MMS text for free, yes, but you have to do something in return which usually involves watching ads in some form or other, so, technically speaking, these free texting apps are not free – they’re “freemium”, not gratis.
Free Text App Limitations
- You’ll Have To Watch Ads
- You’ll Have To Buy Additional Minutes For Calls
- You Maybe Limited To A Certain Number of Texts Per Month
- You Will Have To Subscribe To Claim Your Phone Number
- If You Want To Unlock All Features You’ll Have To Pay
OK, those are the caveats you need to be aware of before downloading a free text app for iPhone or Android. The next thing you need to consider is which free texting app is the best option for you? Out of the myriad free text apps available, I personally think there’s only a handful that are actually worth bothering with. And they are as follows…
Best “Free” Texting Apps
- Text Free
- Google Voice
Text Free is free up to a point. You get 60 minutes of free calls per month and free texting, albeit with adverts. If you like the app – and plenty of people do – you can go for one of its subscription models: $2.99 a month will remove all adverts and $4.99 a month will remove all adverts and allows you to reserve your phone number.
Want more minutes? You can either purchase more in-app or sit through video adverts until you’ve earned enough credits to start making calls again. Text Free is available for both Android and iPhone. Set-up is simple too; just log in, claim a phone number, and start texting. Simple, right?
Price: Free w/ adverts
Subscription: $2.99 (Remove Ads); $4.99 (Remove Ads + Reserve Phone Number)
Google Voice is arguably the most popular option on this list, simply because it is made by Google, features a handy Chrome desktop extension, so you can text to your phone from your PC, and the fact that it supports calls as well.
You will need a Google account in order to sign-in, but that’s about it when it comes to caveats. Google Voice uses in-app purchases, whereby calls made using the app are charged to your carrier who, in turn, charge you on your monthly bill.
Google Voice features a raft of feature too, from voice mail to support for international calling. The only real downside is that it is only available in the USA, that’s why it isn’t listed first.
However, if you’re in the USA, Google Voice is just about the best free texting app around right now. It looks great, is packed with functionality, and it’ll even work on your PC via a handy Chrome extension.
Price: Free w/ In-App Purchases
Features: Voice-Mail, International Calls, Chrome Extension, Call Forwarding, and Voicemail transcriptions.
TextNow is a slightly different beast to the other free text apps on this list. For starters, it is now an MVNO, so you have options to buy plans with the company – you can get unlimited calls, texts, and data for $39 a month.
Or, if you just want calls and texts, you can get a plan for $9.99 per month. If you don’t want to do any of this, you can simply use the barebones service which gets you free texting and calls. There is a catch, though: the free texts are limited to the USA and Canada.
TextNow is powered by adverts, of course, but it does come with a TON of functionality – things like VoiceMail, Emoji-support, passcode lock, signatures, customizable backgrounds, customizable notifications and sounds, and a whole load more besides. TextNow is completely free, there’s no limit on the number of texts you can send, though you will have to put up with adverts or get yourself a paid subscription.
Price: Free w/ Adverts + Subscription Model
Features: VoiceMail, Emoji-support, passcode lock, signatures, customizable backgrounds, customizable notifications, and more
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Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.