Text messages and Hangouts on Android devices

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

If you have the Hangouts app on devices with Android 4.0 and higher, you can send and receive text messages (SMS & MMS), photos, and videos. Remember, your text message rates through your mobile carrier still apply.

You can send and receive text and multimedia messages in the Hangouts app without being signed in. But if you want to send Hangouts messages or make video calls, you'll need to sign in to a Google account.

Watch the video below to learn how to enable, send, and receive text and multimedia messages.

Send text & multimedia messages with Hangouts on Android devices

You can turn on video captions in your language. Play the video, and click the "CC" button. Then select your language from the settings gear.

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

If you have a Google Voice account, you can send text messages through Hangouts on your computer and Android devices. By default, you can automatically reply with the number that where you received the text message, which is called the smart reply feature. To choose a default number you want to send texts with, go to the Hangouts Android app's 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.

When you turn on SMS for your device, all of your existing text messages are imported into the Hangouts app. Text messages sent through your carrier (not Google Voice) are accessible from the Android phone from which they were sent, but not from any other Hangouts on the web, iOS device, or your tablet. You can also view text and Hangouts messages from the same person as one merged conversation.

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.

Turn on & off text messages (SMS) in Hangouts

If you have a Nexus 5, Hangouts is your default text-messaging app and you can't uninstall the app. To use Hangouts as the default app for text messages for other devices with Android 4.4 or lower, you'll need to turn on SMS for Hangouts. If you need to find out which version you have, go to Settings and choose About phone.

Devices with Android 4.4 or higher
  1. Open Hangouts on your Android device.
  2. Go to Settings.
  3. Touch SMS.
  4. Touch SMS Disabled to switch the setting to SMS Enabled.
Devices with Android 4.3 or lower
  1. Open Hangouts on your Android device.
  2. Go to Settings.
  3. Touch SMS.
  4. Touch the checkbox 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. You can also change other text-message settings.

Turn off Hangouts as the default text-messaging app
  1. Open Hangouts on your Android device.
  2. Go to Settings.
  3. Touch SMS.
  4. Uncheck "Turn on SMS."

For versions Android 4.3 and lower, you'll be notified twice if you have another text message app besides Hangouts. You'll need to choose your default text-messaging app to ensure that you receive notifications only once for text messages. If you need to find out which version you have, go to Settings and choose About phone.

Change your default messaging app to another one
You can choose the messaging app that your device uses to send and receive text (SMS) and multimedia (MMS) messages. Learn about setting your default messaging app on Android devices.

How to send a text message (SMS/MMS)

Open Hangouts on your Android device. There are three ways to send a text from Hangouts:

  1. Directly add a phone number. Touch the compose icon to open a new Hangout. You can type in a phone number in the search box at the top of screen, and it will give you an option to "Send SMS to." After you're finished typing the number, touch the number below "Send SMS to." After you send the SMS, you can save the number to your contacts by touching the number and touching Add to People. Then you can choose whether to Create a new contact or add to an existing one.
  2. You can search for a contact or select from the contacts list. Touch the compose icon to open a new Hangout and search for the contact's name or choose from the contact list. Then choose the phone number you'd like to text.
  3. Choose a contact from your conversations list. Touch the person's name at the top, and then you can choose to SMS from the drop-down items.

If your contact isn't available on Hangouts and has a phone number, you'll see an SMS icon with the contact's profile photo. After you choose the contact, type the message you'd like to send. Then touch the send icon Hangouts Android send.

How to send a multimedia message (MMS)

Once you've chosen a contact for a text message, you can add multimedia to the message too.

  1. On the right side of the message box, touch the camera icon to send a photo or a video.
  2. A window will appear giving you a few ways to add multimedia: take a photo, take a video, or attach an existing photo.
  3. Select the option you'd like.
  4. You can also type in a message in the box if you haven't already done so.
  5. Then touch the send icon Hangouts Android send .
To switch between seeing text or multimedia messages and Hangouts messages, touch the contact's name at the top of the conversation.

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