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How to Send & Receive Messages with Android

A very common activity for phones is to send & receive SMS, especially on the older "feature phones". With smartphones the trend is to rely more on emails and social media, but SMS and MMS still has its place. You start the Messages app by tapping its icon, many users have it the App Dock, or on a home-screen, or in the App Drawer, the icon varies by version and device manufacturer:

In this chapter we describe the standard Message app. However, Android is very flexible, so if you don't like a function chances are that you can find an alternative in the Play Store that may better suit your needs. If you search for "SMS" in the Play Store. you'll find many apps. A very popular alternative is the Handcent SMS app. Another popular Messenger replacement is the WhatsApp Messenger app.

Android 4

Message Inbox, Threads

Let's look at a few Android 4 examples. The left screen below shows the Messages input box. At the bottom you have the following action buttons:
Compose, Search, Overflow which leads to Settings, Delete all threads

In our example, let's tap the first Message thread at the top in the middle screen, that results in the right screen. There you can see SMS messages to/from one person as a thread. You can simply type a reply at the bottom, then tap the Send arrow to the right:

At the top right you see 3 other actions, they are:
Call the person, Attach, Overflow.

Message Inbox Tap one Message Message thread

The left screen below shows what the Overflow menu options are. In the right screen below we've tapped the paperclip at the top-right which enables us to attach files to the message.

Overflow menu Attach

Compose Message

To compose a message, just tap the bottom-left icon in the inbox, then you'll get to the middle screen. You fill in the name of the recipient or a phone number at the top, then tap Next on the keyboard to type the body of the message text. As in the example above you can tap the Attach and Overflow menu to get additional options before you tap the send icon:

Tap Compose Enter To, text Overflow menu

Android 2.3

Now let's look at some Android 2.3 examples;

Message Inbox, Threads

The left screen below shows the Messages input box. Just tap one message then you'll get to the middle screen where you see the message thread for this contact. In order to reply just tap the bottom part and you'll get to the right screen where you can enter text as usual and then tap the SEND button to the right.

Tap one Message Tap Reply Area Enter Text, Send

Other Inbox Actions

In the left screen below we long-press one message and get the options in the middle screen. The rightmost screen shows the options you get when you press the Menu button.

Long-press a Message Act on one Message Inbox Menu

Compose a Message

From the inbox, you press Menu, then Compose and you'll get the left screen below, where you fill in the To field (as a phone number or a contact name), then enter your text and tap SEND. For more options, e.g. to attach a file, press the Menu button and you'll get the screen to the right:

Enter fields, Send Additional Options