Best Texting for Android, Free

Discussion in 'Smart Phones and Devices' started by topslop1, Mar 6, 2019.

  1. topslop1

    topslop1 2[H]4U

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    And with capabilities to go through the computer?
     
  2. BoiseTech

    BoiseTech Limp Gawd

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    Android messenger.
     
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  3. SticKx911

    SticKx911 2[H]4U

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  4. Boulder

    Boulder n00b

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  5. Kwaz

    Kwaz Whine & Cheezy

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    Android Messenger + Mighty Text for me.

    Thing to try Messenger only soon though.
     
  6. Farva

    Farva [H]ard as it Gets

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    Telegram, Signal, Whatsapp, Wire...
     
  7. Spoom

    Spoom n00b

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  8. T4rd

    T4rd [H]ardForum Junkie

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  9. Commander Shepard

    Commander Shepard 2[H]4U

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    Textra and Mighty Text. I think MT is better than Android Messages for texting from the computer.
     
  10. Vengance_01

    Vengance_01 [H]ardness Supreme

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  11. Hashiriya415

    Hashiriya415 [H]Lite

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    I like Google voice because should anything happen with phone you canstill text online. It does not need a QR code to be scanned. And it does not need to be connected to the phone. Although the google Messenger is very nice. I just don't like the idea that you have to scan the QR code. But Google Messenger is my second favorite. Although if it wasn't for the QR scanning requirements then it would be first
     
  12. Hashiriya415

    Hashiriya415 [H]Lite

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    But if your phone runs out of battery. You can't use web messenger because it needs to be connected with phone app.
     
  13. Supersnake

    Supersnake Gawd

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    There is no need to scan your QR code more than once, your computer will always maintain a connection to the app even after a computer restart. However, if you have privacy concerns and have to sign out of Messages for web a repeat QR scan will again be needed.
     
  14. Supersnake

    Supersnake Gawd

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    Do you have situations where your phone runs out of battery to the point where it shuts down? If so, when you recharge your phone and open Google Messages doesn't it remember that you were connected to Messages for web? I would expect it to remember you had a connection as long as you don't sign out of Messages for web. Just like if you close the app and reopen it, your connection to the web will remain.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
  15. Hashiriya415

    Hashiriya415 [H]Lite

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    I'll just saying it's tied down. Like your battery dies. Your phone breaks. You forget it and it's not powered on. Maybe you lose it and you're going somewhere to use a computer but you won't have ability to text anymore with any of these situations. Vs like Google voice I've been using for years.
     
  16. Supersnake

    Supersnake Gawd

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    I see your point. Messages for web won't work if for any reason your phone is powered off or not working.
     
  17. blade12

    blade12 Limp Gawd

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    I just use 'ApowerMirror' to screenshare android to my pc, and just use messenger+ like usual except with mouse
     
  18. RanceJustice

    RanceJustice [H]ardness Supreme

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    When you say "texting" do you mean actual SMS? Text messages in general?

    The best drop-in replacement for Messages (ie the default Google app for messaging on Android) I've found is Signal - https://signal.org/ - It is free and open source and sends both traditional SMS/MMS to anyone who doesn't have a Signal compatible messenger as a fallback and uses verified end to end encryption for those who do. It also has a lot of ancellary/fun features that some privacy related apps don't usually get until later. It even has video and voice calls. Generally, if you need a SMS app on your Android phone (or even iPhone), this is a better option for its FLOSS background and tons of features. It also has a Desktop (PC) application for various OSes that has much of the same functionality, though you need to log in first with a mobile application (Android or iOS etc) as it auto-magically creates your identifier/account based on a mobile number (note this can be any number you wish that you control / can receive SMS or calls upon). They've been adding much to it over the past several years but it is an easy to use, powerful, open, drop in replacement for texting/SMS clients and proprietary messengers.

    There are other good messenger service platforms out there - I'd personally suggest matrix.org (riot.im client is popular and the service is like an open source and encrypted Discord or Slack), Wire, XMPP and a few others. If you're interested let me know
     
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  19. blade12

    blade12 Limp Gawd

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    I just installed Signal..
    I'm not sure if Signal backs up messages in an easy-to-reach manner since I don't think the texts get hosted on their servers. There is also a 300kb limit on MMS, which is pretty limiting if you ask me.


    Has anyone tried Pulse? Hearing good stuff about it too
     
  20. RanceJustice

    RanceJustice [H]ardness Supreme

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    There are various options to back up your messages. Thanks to the way the encryption and privacy is designed, the server doesnt' have access to your messages so everything happens locally. . You can go make a manual backup at any time and of course have it sync'ed as you like. I'm not sure about limits of MMS size - I wouldn't be surprised given how old a protocol it is - but know that if you send a Signal message (ie to someone using Signal as well) there's no limitation in terms of file size. There are actually a lot more side features now than last I looked, such as "self-destructing messages" that vanish within X time period after being opened or some other user defined characteristic, for instance. Is there anything in particular you're seeking?

    I personally don't see anything too special in Pulse; It has some general features common to typical messengers (including Signal), but some of its focus, security, and the lack of being open source means I would rather look elsewhere.

    What particular features do you feel are most important? I can probably suggest a few other things to try if you can give me a little more info.
     
  21. SvenBent

    SvenBent 2[H]4U

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    im a happy user of signal. wish more would use it for its encryption. or more SMS clients would support encryption
     
  22. blade12

    blade12 Limp Gawd

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    Well, three things..

    1) I want the ability to backup my texts & media. Case in point - I lost all images people sent me through texts over last few years when I switched phones two months ago. I don't like strict local storage because if I switch phones or change texting apps, I would lose all the pictures/media.

    2) I need decent group messaging support. Keep in mind most people I communicate with have iphones (iMessage is all they use). We send gifs and occasional pictures back and forth in group chat (MMS).

    3) I like and respect privacy. I don't send secret highly personal things, but I don't want the whole world to have access to everything I do to sell to highest bidders - ala Facebook/Google. I'm certainly not paranoid by any means..
     
  23. RanceJustice

    RanceJustice [H]ardness Supreme

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    1) Well this will depend on your particular preferences. Signal can make backups which you can place in a folder for whatever sort of sync tool (SyncThing or even something like Google Drive if you use it etc) you flag to keep updated, but it will take a small amount of effort on your part to create them. I will suggest to the developers scheduled automatic backup creation, but it will still output locally because of the tech. Pretty much any legit end-to-end encrypted service that works as Signal does will not back up actual message content on the server, as it would expose not just metadata but data itself to anyone who got access to it and whatnot. It would seem that backups synced off-device every so often would cover things if you were worried about switching phones or just needed peace of mind. There are some other messengers out there that allow a certain amount of content to be held/visible server-side depending on encryption status and whatnot.

    2) Signal seems to do this well from my experience, but I don't use the feature very often so I may be missing something you require. Speaking to iMessage users will work, but only as SMS/MMS mode which will of course have to come down to the specs of those very old messaging standards. For the best messaging experience, if they're able to install another messenger be it Signal or something else you decide upon (Signal has nice little auto-invite links and an iOS version, for instance).

    3) From what you describe there are many transparent, privacy-focused open source messengers that will do what you wish without getting in your way or requiring complex setup. Signal is among them and I'll get to some others in a moment, but basically for what you describe you want something open source and with quality encryption (end to end using a good algo and not leaking metadata etc) which will stop snooping from intermediaries like Google, Apple etc... as opposed to most proprietary others out there, even those that claim encryption support. Remember that by nature its easier for this to be done using a data-protocol ( versus something like SMS/MMS which are NOT encrypted in transit because they still adhere to the old school mobile service requirements of the protocol, as opposed to messages between two compatible applications that use another protocol.

    If you're going to be primarily speaking to iMessage users then I see two situations. Either A) You find out if they're open to messaging using something else with you, for better features and privacy or B) You make the best of it and will have to use a program that uses the fallback SMS/MMS communication, with the limitations thereof. Thus, an application like Signal (or one of the other SMS/MMS capable) is probably your best option from your side as it will at least encrypt your messages/content/database locally and you can back them up etc.

    There are a couple of other applications you may want to check out. They're all open source and end to end encrypted, but unlike Signal they do not require/utilize a phone number as primary identifier and cannot send SMS/MMS, thus they may only be useful to you if your other friends are open to switching

    Wire - https://wire.com/en/ - Consider this something of an open source Skype/Slack replacement. Has a lot of features, servers based in Switzerland, good tech overall. Don't worry about anything listing "price" - they have services for business and whatnot (how they monetize without breaking their open source core or requiring a proprietary version) but personal use is free and using the same client.

    Riot - https://about.riot.im/ - This is an open source and federated (multiple servers that canm all talk to each other ) Discord/Slack/Skype replacement with a ton of features. Technically there's even a way to send/recieve SMS/MMS through this with a bridge passthrough. Lots of features and getting more polished all the time.

    Both of these, in addition to Signal of course are pretty polished and accessible to users used to proprietary messaging services, I've found. Hope this gives you a few options to look into!
     
  24. blade12

    blade12 Limp Gawd

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    I appreciate the detailed response!

    1) I don't think it's possible to convince anyone to switch from iMessage lol. With all the issues I have with Apple/ios (namely them being opposed to open source), I think they do a good job with iMessage. If Android had iMessage, I would probably use that too. I will never switch to iPhone though under any circumstance unless maybe if Apple becomes open-source in future, which will never happen from the Apple I know. It's not their business model and never was intended to be even under Steve Jobs. People already in Apple ecosystem don't typically switch - in my experience with Apple users, it doesn't happen.
    2) With 1 being true, I pretty much require MMS support.

    Signal works well enough for needs 2 and 3. I'm still not certain about #1. As far as backups go, I don't know if it's possible to save them on my desktop and if I ever switch phones, I can just import. It says in "Settings > Chats and media" that it backup chats to external storage but I have no idea what the backup source is. There is no explanation on Signal's website. I can only manually import it ( https://support.signal.org/hc/en-us...2-Backup-and-Restore-Messages#android_restore )

    I also realized Signal did not import MMS group chats from Messenger+, which is a bit disappointing. I will try Riot to see if it imports the MMS.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  25. leezard

    leezard [H]ardness Supreme

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    I used to use Pulse, it worked fine. I switched to Android messenger and messages for web once it was released.
     
  26. RanceJustice

    RanceJustice [H]ardness Supreme

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    That's too bad about iMessage, but I understand. iMessage (as I recall) actually has multiple ways of handling conversations too, one for other iMessage users (ie the "blue icon" or mark, with proprietary parameters) and "everyone else" (aka the "green icon" users, which it uses SMS/MMS as a fallback), so there can be some variation introduced there between clients.

    For Backups in Signal, check that link you posted. When they say "external storage" they mean the storage on your phone, by default. Just be sure to write down the encryption passphrase it gives you when you turn on the backup feature (there will be a little pop up about this when you turn on the backup feature) and save it safely, and you'll need it during restoration. It will be in the /Signal/Backups folder inside wherever your particular android device stores things, as a file named like "signal-year-month-date-time.backup" That file you can copy onto your desktop manually, or set up to be sync'ed from your phone if using any sort of sync software where you flag files or folders for automated or manual backup off your phone (there are some open source solutions for this too if you'd prefer, as well as things like Google Drive). Of course, you can always import it on a new device using the instructions mentioned on that page and restore all your info.

    I don';t have a lot of experiences with SMS/MMS group chats in recent years, but did they not include any of the content from them such as the text and participants, or did they only not import the actual MMS videos/photos/media? If its the former I wonder if it has something to do with group chat management entirely - https://support.signal.org/hc/en-us...-and-Manage-Groups#android_initiate_group_mms - but if its the latter then in my experience rarely do any apps directly pull MMS media specifically on backup/import/ etc... because of the limitations of the MMS framework. I can remember that being an issue going back to the flip-phone days when backing up your message history or whatnot wouldn't transfer MMS pics/videos, but it would get the text and participants; instead, one would need to save the MMS media items onto your device (ie download the picture etc).