Text messages & Hangouts on Android devices

Send text messages (SMS & MMS) with Hangouts on Android

You can use Hangouts as your main messaging app for both Hangouts messages and text messages (SMS & MMS). Your text message rates through your mobile carrier still apply.

Note: Hangouts doesn't support dual SIM cards. If you have an Android One device, you can use the Messenger app or Messaging app to send text messages instead.

If you're having problems sending texts or Hangouts messages, try these troubleshooting steps.

Turn on text messages (SMS) in Hangouts

To use Hangouts as the default app for text messages, you'll need to turn on SMS for Hangouts.

When you turn on SMS, your existing text messages are imported into Hangouts. You'll only see these messages on your Android phone, and not in Hangouts on your computer, iOS device, or tablet.

If you sign out of your Google Account, you can still send and receive text messages in the Hangouts app. But you'll need to sign in to your Google Account if you want to send Hangouts messages or make video calls.

Choose your device below. If you need to find out what Android version you have, go to your phone's Settings and choose About phone.

Devices with Android 4.4 or higher
  1. On your Android device, open the Hangouts app .
  2. At the top left, touch Menu .
  3. Touch Settings.
  4. Touch SMS.
  5. Touch SMS Disabled to switch the setting to SMS Enabled.
Devices with Android 4.3 or lower
  1. On your Android device, open the Hangouts app .
  2. At the top left, touch Menu .
  3. Touch Settings.
  4. Touch SMS.
  5. Check the box next to "Turn on SMS."

Turn off Hangouts as your default text-messaging app

If you use Hangouts as your default text-messaging app, you can switch to another SMS app at any time, and all your messages will be retained as long as storage space is available on your device. You can also change other text-message settings.

Turn off Hangouts as the default text-messaging app
  1. On your Android device, open the Hangouts app .
  2. At the top left, touch Menu .
  3. Touch Settings.
  4. Touch SMS.
  5. Follow the instructions for your device below. If you need to find out what Android version you have, go to your phone's Settings and choose About phone.
    • Android 4.4 or higher: Touch SMS Enabled, which will open the phone's "Wireless & networks" settings page. Touch Default SMS app to change your default text-messaging app to an app other than Hangouts.
    • Android 4.3 or lower: Uncheck "Turn on SMS." You'll be notified twice if you have another text message app besides Hangouts. Choose your default text-messaging app to ensure that you receive notifications only once for text messages.

Learn about setting your default messaging app on Android devices.

How to send a text message (SMS/MMS)

There are four ways to send a text from Hangouts:

Directly add a phone number

Note: If you're traveling internationally, you may have to use the "+" sign and country code when dialing or texting your contacts and phone numbers outside your home country (even if it's local to where you're traveling).

  1. On your Android device, open the Hangouts app .
  2. At the bottom right, touch the compose icon .
  3. Choose New SMS.
  4. Type in the phone number, and touch the number or contact.
  5. Touch the create conversation icon .
  6. Type your message and touch the send icon .

After you send the SMS, you can save the number to your contacts by touching Options Options> Add to contacts. Then you can choose whether to Create a new contact or add to an existing one.

Accessibility

If a screen reader is enabled on your device, start a text message by following these steps:

  1. On your Android device, open the Hangouts app .
  2. At the top right, select the New Conversation button. Double-tap to open the options menu.
  3. Select New SMS and double-tap to open.
  4. Type in the phone number, and touch to select it from the search results. Double-tap to open a conversation.
  5. Type your message and left-swipe once to select the send icon . Double-tap to send.
Search for a contact
  1. On your Android device, open the Hangouts app .
  2. At the bottom right, touch the compose icon .
  3. Choose New SMS.
  4. Search for the contact, and touch their name. If they have multiple phone numbers, choose the number you'd like to text.
  5. Touch the create conversation icon .
  6. Type your message and touch the send icon .

Accessibility

If a screen reader is enabled on your device, start a text message by following these steps:

  1. On your Android device, open the Hangouts app .
  2. At the top right, select the New Conversation button. Double-tap to open the options menu.
  3. Select New SMS and double-tap to open.
  4. Type the person's name, and touch to select them from the search results. Double-tap to open a conversation.
  5. Type your message and left-swipe once to select the send icon . Double-tap to send.
Choose a contact from your conversations list
  1. On your Android device, open the Hangouts app .
  2. From the conversations list, touch the contact you want to text.
  3. On the left edge of the message field, touch the dropdown and choose a phone number marked as SMS .
  4. Type your message and touch the send icon .
Choose a contact from your contacts list
  1. On your Android device, open the Hangouts app .
  2. At the top left, touch Menu .
  3. Touch Contacts, then touch the contact you want to text.
  4. On the left edge of the message field, touch the dropdown and choose a phone number marked as SMS .
  5. Type your message and touch the send icon .

How to send a multimedia message (MMS)

Once you've chosen a contact for a text message, you can add attachments to the message. Along the bottom of the screen, select an attachment type:

  • Emoticon : Include an emoticon to show how you're feeling. Press the send icon .
  • Photo : Send one or more photos from your device. Press the send icon .
  • Camera : Take a photo or a video up to 10 seconds long. Press the send icon .
  • Sticker : Send an animated sticker to show how you're feeling. The message will send automatically after you add the sticker.
  • Location : Add your current location or another location on the map. The message will send automatically after you add the location.

Text messages on Hangouts to your Google Voice number

If you have a Google Voice account, you can send text messages through Hangouts on your computer and Android devices.

If you merge your conversations, you can choose to automatically reply from the number where you received the text message or to always send texts with a specific number in the Hangouts SMS settings. If you're having problems sending Hangouts messages after turning on Google Voice text messages, you may need to change your invitation settings.

Megan is a Hangouts expert and the author of this help page. Help her improve this article by leaving feedback below.

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