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Send & get text messages

You can send text messages for free to U.S. and Canadian numbers using your Google Voice number. Texts sent using Google Voice will use Wi-Fi, or mobile data from your cell phone service plan if you're not connected to Wi-Fi. If you're outside the U.S. and are not using Wi-Fi, your cell phone company might charge you extra roaming fees to send a text.

Google Voice & Hangouts: You can choose to link Google Voice and Hangouts. If you do, you'll have to use Hangouts to send texts, not the Google Voice website or apps. To stop using Hangouts for texts, turn off Google Voice in Hangouts.

If you haven’t yet, download the Google Voice app on your Android device.

Send a text message

With the Google Voice website and apps, you can text people messages and photos and send texts to groups of people.

If you send a text longer than 160 characters to a non-Google Voice number, it will be sent as multiple messages.

Note: You can't send texts to five- or six-digit “short code” numbers.

  1. On your Android device, open the Google Voice app Google Voice.
  2. Open the tab for Messages Messages tab.
  3. At the bottom, tap Add Add.
  4. Enter a contact’s name or phone number.
    • To create a group text message, add up to 30 names or phone numbers.
  5. Enter your message, and tap Send Send.

To include an image with your message, tap Select image Choose image. If your image is bigger than 2MB, it'll be sent as a smaller file. But GIFs over 2MB won't send.

Cost of text messages
Messages you send to U.S. or Canadian numbers don't use Google Voice credit or your cell phone plan's text messages.
Messages in the Google Voice app are sent with data, not with your text messaging plan. Standard data limits and rates apply, based on your plan with your carrier.
Can't text without a Google Voice number
If you don't have a Google Voice number, Google Voice doesn't support text messaging. Use your normal phone number, or set up a full Google Voice account for free.
Can't text from recently ported numbers
If you recently paid to move your Google Voice number, your texts might not work until 5 business days after your transfer finishes.
To check the status of your port, on your computer, open Google Voice. Click Menu Menu and then Legacy Google Voice. At the top, click the message, "You have a porting request in progress."

Get a text message

You can get text messages from anywhere in the world.

  1. On your Android device, open the Google Voice app Google Voice.
  2. Open the tab for Messages Messages tab. Messages you haven't read yet are in bold.

If you don't see a text that you're expecting, check if it got marked as spam. At the top left, click Menu Menu and then Spam.

Note: To get text messages from websites, like a bank or subscription service, you'll need to use your mobile carrier number.

Stop getting two notifications for every text

You'll see new texts in your default text messaging app. If you have the Google Voice app installed, you'll also see text messages there. 

To stop getting two notifications, turn off Google Voice text forwarding. Then, texts will only arrive in the Google Voice app.

  1. On your Android device, open the Google Voice app Google Voice.
  2. At the top left, click Menu Menu and then Settings.
  3. Tap Forward messages to linked numbers.
  4. Uncheck the box next to your device number.

Reply to a text message

  1. On your Android device, open the Google Voice app Google Voice.
  2. Open the tab for Messages Messages tab.
  3. Tap the text message you want to reply to.
  4. At the bottom, enter your message, and tap Send Send.

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

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