The Ultimate Group Text App Guide

Kyle Kuczynski,
Business Messaging Expert
Feb 17, 2020

The Ultimate Guide to Group Text Apps and Group Messaging

Group text messaging exploded in 2007 with the introduction of the iPhone and other smartphones. Today, the average person has at least 3 messaging apps on their phone’s home screen.

However, selecting the best group text app can be a problem.

Even though all smartphone manufacturers include group text messaging as a standard feature there are still so many apps and ways to send a group message.

To help you choose we’ve put together this guide.

The following information is meant to help everyone. Normal people, organizations, and businesses all have different messaging needs, so we're here to help you find the best group text app based on your specific needs.

In this guide you'll learn:

  1. Why group text apps work for reaching a lot of people
  2. Normal group text vs group text without reply all
  3. How to choose the best group text app for normal people
  4. List of the best group text apps for normal people
  5. How to send a group text on iPhone
  6. How to send a group text on Android
  7. Why iMessage and Google Messages don't work for businesses and organizations
  8. Why businesses and organizations shouldn't text using burner phones
  9. How to choose the best group text app for organizations and businesses
  10. List of best group text apps for organizations and businesses
  11. Why Slack is a business messaging alternative

Why Group Text Apps Work for Reaching a Lot of People

Text messaging is a great way to reach a lot of people fast. 77% of Americans already own a smartphone and we send an average of about 90 texts per day.

Email and voice calls will always have a place when it comes to day-to-day communication. However, 67% of people would rather text, than call or email.

Texting works because it's fast, easy, convenient, and everyone can send and receive text messages.

Normal Group Text Apps vs Group Text Apps Without Reply All

There are two types of group text apps. Everyone is familiar with group text using iPhone and iMessage or Android and Google Messages.

Both messaging apps send group text messages to anyone and everyone in the group at the same time. A person in the group replies and everyone can see the message and respond. This works best for messaging friends and family.

The second type of group text app can send a text individually to each person in the group. When a person responds, no one else in the group sees the message except for the sender. This is more ideal for organizations and businesses.

What's the difference?

Your native text messaging app doesn't let you send group texts individually to separate contacts. Everyone gets the same message regardless. This means no privacy.

This may or may not be a problem if you're a consumer. But it is a problem if you're sending group messages as an organization or business.

With MessageDesk you can send a group text individually without reply all using advanced group management and messaging features.

Suggested Article: MessageDesk | A Group Text App Without Reply All

How to Choose the Best Group Text App (for Normal People)

If you’re a normal person who needs to message friends and family, then you have a host of group text messaging options.

Some of group text options utilize traditional SMS text messaging while others don’t.

Facebook MessengerWhatsAppWeChat, and Line all send group messages over their own networks using data, not SMS. These are all Over The Top messaging apps (OTTs).

Regardless, are all great options for sending messages and sharing photos and videos with friends and family.

The only thing you need to consider is that both you and everyone else in the group message need to have the app installed.

For many, the most important features of these apps media sharing. The good news is that each makes it easy to share pictures, video gifs, and more. These apps also have cool features like typing indicators and read receipts that let you know when someone responds.

List of the best group texting apps for consumers:

Facebook Messenger WhatsApp WeChat Line Signal
Groups Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Group Names Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Typing Indicators Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Read Reciepts Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Media Sharing Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Encryption No No No No Yes
Price Free Free Free Free Free

Group Texting on iPhone

Apple’s iPhone is the gold standard when it comes to group texting. Everyone loves the rich features like typing indicators and read receipts.

Additionally, Apple encrypts iMessage users’ data. This is a more advanced privacy feature that various consumers have come to appreciate.

Keep in mind that these features are only available when texting from iPhone to iPhone. These messages aren’t even considered SMS text messages. They’re sent using iMessage on Apple’s own network.

For all other messages (not iPhone to iPhone) those fallback as MMS and appear as green message bubbles.

Suggested Article: What is MMS Messaging? MMS vs SMS vs OTT Messaging Services

How to send a group text message on iPhone:

  1. Open Messages and tap the edit/pencil icon to start a new message.
  2. Enter the recipients' names or tap the “+” icon to add contacts.
  3. Enter your message, then tap Send “^”.

Note: To send a group MMS message on an iPhone, make sure MMS Messaging is turned on. Go to Settings > Messages and turn on MMS Messaging.

How to name a group text message on iPhone:

If you have multiple group iMessages you can name your groups. This makes each group easier to find. To name your group:

  1. Tap a group conversation, then tap the top of the conversation.
  2. Tap “i”.
  3. Enter a name, then tap “Done”.

Note: You can only name group iMessages, not MMS group messages.

Group Texting on Android

Android users have more messaging options. Many android devices use Google Messages as the default messaging application. However, some Samsung phones come with different messaging apps as the default.

As with the iPhone and iMessage, Google’s Messages app now comes with some rich features as well, including RCS (Rich Communication Services).

RCS enables certain Android users with read receipts, typing indicators, and a host of other media sharing options.

How to name and send a group text message on Android

  1. Launch Messages from your home screen.
  2. Tap “Start Chat” to create a new message.
  3. Tap “Start Group Conversation”
  4. Type names and information to add contacts to the message.
  5. Select the “>” icon in the top right to add a Group Name
  6. Start typing your message and hit send.

Why iMessage and Google Messages Don't Work for Businesses and Organizations

As a small business or firm, there’s nothing to stop you from sending a group text message to customers from your iPhone or Android device.

However, there are some major problems. This approach opens a business up to significant liability.

Group Text Privacy

If you send your group text message using your private iPhone or Android device, then everyone in that message group sees everyone else’s response.

In this way, there’s no privacy. Everyone sees everyone else’s message and personal phone number.

Customers don’t want this every time they get a text from your business.

Suggested Article: How to Send A Group Text Without Reply All

Group Text Oversight

You have no oversight when employees or staff members text customers from their personal phones.

This presents a liability problem for everyone: the business owner, the employee, and even the customer.

Group Text Consent

There’s no way to track consent and opt-in/opt-out when adding customers to a group and sending group texts from your iPhone or Android.

Consent doesn’t exactly apply in the consumer space, but when it comes to business text messaging and promotional texts, consent is the law.

The TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) is the law that businesses need to be aware of. It specifically covers text messaging and opt-in/opt-out policies.

Suggested Article: TCPA Compliance Checklist & Guide for Business Messaging

Group Management

Both iMessage and Messages on the iPhone and Android allow you to name groups. But businesses need ways to organize their customers into groups.

When you segment your customers by commonality, you can tailor the message more specifically. This leads to better engagement.

Suggested Article: Are You Ready For A Business SMS Platform?

Why Businesses and Organizations Shouldn't Text Using Burner Phones

To maintain privacy and protect liability, some businesses text customers from burner phones. These are cheap phones with dedicated lines.

Some of these plans even allow for SMS text messaging.

As with texting from your personal phone, burner phones don’t fully protect your business from liability.

Again, with a burner phone, there’s no way to track opt-in/opt-out, manage groups, or maintain oversight of customer and employee conversations.

Suggested Article:

How to Choose the Best Group Text App (Organizations and Businesses)

When it comes to business group texting app solutions, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, Google Messages and, and burner phones don’t exactly work. To send texts to contacts and customers businesses and organizations need more advanced functionality.

As a tool, texting enables businesses and organizations to communicate more effectively. It also makes it possible to reach almost everyone in an audience for marketing and sales messages, customer service and support, and even reviews and polling.

More than 8 out of 10 (85%) of people want to be able to send and receive texts from businesses and organizations in real-time. This means that a good business texting app should be:

In terms of features, the best group texting apps for business typically provide the following:

1. Customer and Contact Groups

As a business, you should be able to order and segment and save groups, or customers based on their various characteristics.

2. Text Message Templates

It’s laborious to send the same message over and over again. A good business group texting app allows you to save messages as templates for repeat use.

3. Send Later and Scheduled Text Messages

Saving time starts with. The best group text messaging apps utilize this as a standard business feature.

4. Send Recurring Text Messages

The best business messaging apps take automation to the next level with recurring, scheduled text message sends. This is an advanced feature that not all messaging apps offer.

5. Track Contact Opt-in/Opt-Out

Opt-in and opt-out policies apply to businesses, especially when it comes to SMS marketing. Consent depends on the message content and who’s sending it.

Businesses and organizations need their messaging apps to help them out with liability. Good apps will maintain a do-not-contact list and manage everything behind the scenes.

6. Maintain Privacy and Oversight

Businesses with many employees and big operations need oversight. The best group messaging apps use various access and permission levels.

Suggested Article: Full Guide to Choosing the Best Business Texting App

List of the best group texting apps for businesses and organizations

SnapDesk EZTexting Text Magic Simple Texting Heymarket Slack
Starting Price Per Month $29 $49 Variable $25 $29 Free
Group Management Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Message Templates Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Scheduled Messages Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Recurrence and Campaigns Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Opt-in/Opt-out Management Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Privacy and Oversight Features Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
10 Digit Local Phone Number Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No

Final Thoughts and Next Steps

Ready to start texting your contacts and customers? MessageDesk is here to help with smarter, simpler business text messaging for keeping connected.

Visit our learning center for information on how to get started with MessageDesk. You’ll find a quick start guide to texting, a features overview, and an explanation of what MessageDesk is.

You’ll also want to check out our list of free SMS text message templates. Just copy and paste and start texting.

Finally, feel free to start a 7-day free MessageDesk trial with 50 free text messages.