2022’s Top Group Text Apps, Group Messaging Apps & Chat Apps
Kyle Kuczynski
Kyle Kuczynski
MessageDesk Co-Founder & CMO
Updated: Jan 31, 2022

The Best Group Text, Group Messaging, and Group Chat Apps for Group Communication in 2022

Team and group communication is an integral part of everyone’s day-to-day messaging.

But you’ve got a lot of apps to choose from when it comes to group communication and keeping everyone connected.

So I’ve put together two lists of the best group text, group messaging, and group chat apps available in 2022. One list is for consumers and the other is for businesses and organizations.

Are you looking for group messaging with friends and family?

Read my list of consumer-focused group text and messaging apps below.

Are you looking for group messaging with teammates or coworkers?

See my list of business group texting, team, and employee communication apps, also below.

By the end, you should have a good idea of what the best group messaging app is for you.

Read on for more.

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What is Group Messaging?

A group message is a many-to-many message, sent as an SMS text message, chat, or otherwise, that involves two or more contacts. Group messaging lets multiple people carry on a conversation in a message stream or thread. All replies from recipients get delivered to all recipients in a group message.

What is the Difference Between Group Text Apps, Group Messaging Apps, and Group Chat Apps?

Before you choose an app, you’ll want to know the differences between group texting apps, group messaging apps, and group chat apps. This applies to consumers, businesses, and organizations.

The difference between these group communication apps has to do with:

  1. Group message types and how they get sent
  2. How groups and conversations get managed
  3. Rich features and encryption

1. Group message types and how they get sent

The biggest feature that separates types of group communication apps is what kind of messages they send and how they send them.

Group text message apps send text messages to groups of contacts that have phone numbers. These text messages travel over existing telecom carrier networks and get stored on their servers.

But group messaging and group chat apps don’t necessarily send SMS text messages. They send their own messages over the internet using their own networks and servers.

These types of apps are known as over-the-top messaging apps (OTTs). They add an extra layer on top of the existing telecom networks.

Because they add an extra layer, all the members of the group need to have the app downloaded and installed on their phones to send and receive messages. There’s typically no phone number involved.

three phones showing sms vs mms vs otts

2. How groups and conversations get managed

The second factor that separates group text apps from messaging apps and chat is how you manage groups and how a group interacts in conversations.

Chat experiences like Facebook and Instagram Messenger use informal conversation streams. They work well for small group communication and messaging friends and family.

These are open channels with messages arranged chronologically. Anyone can get added to or join and everyone sees everyone else’s messages. It's a bit of a free-for-all.

But group text messaging apps for business, like MessageDesk, and messaging platforms like, Slack will actually sort and organize conversations into channels.

Check out the example below. MessageDesk’s shared team inbox makes it easy to group contacts and text message conversations into views and see who’s responded inside of that group.

messagedesk-inbox-1440x900.png

3. Rich features and encryption

Rich features are the most visual difference between group text messaging and OTT messengers and chat apps.

Rich features include things like:

  • Read receipts
  • Typing indicators
  • Advanced group naming and organization
  • Advanced media and file sharing
  • Encryption

When you’re texting on your iPhone with another iPhone user you see messages appear as blue bubbles. This means you’re actually using iMessage. You’re not sending normal SMS text messages, which appear as green message bubbles.

This is because iMessage is Apple's own proprietary messaging platform. They’re not sending group texts over the telecom network. This is what allows them to offer rich features like typing indicators, read receipts, and even encryption.

And because text messages travel across multiple networks and live on multiple telecom servers, there’s no way to encrypt them or ensure privacy.

By comparison, OTT messengers like Signal, send and store messages using their own network. This allows them to offer end-to-end encryption.

imessage-vs-sms-mms-1200x455.jpeg

Consumer Group Messaging Apps vs. Business Group Messaging Apps

Group messaging apps like iMessage don’t exactly work for businesses and organizations that need group texting or messaging capabilities. Instead, businesses and organizations will want to consider a dedicated team or employee communication app.

To manage group conversations between team members or co-workers businesses and organizations need:

  • Group and conversation management
  • Message scheduling and automation
  • Bigger groups and higher messaging volume (through-put)

Group and conversation management

With consumer group messaging and text apps, it’s a free-for-all. There’s no way to manage who sees what in a group message and when they see it.

Consumer group text and messaging apps put everyone’s response into a single message stream or thread.

But business group text and messaging apps have shared team inboxes that allow you to manage multiple groups and multiple threads. You get to control exactly who’s in the group and when they receive messages.

As an example, MessageDesk’s shared team inbox allows you to organize your team’s text message conversations into a single space with multiple views.

inbox-buckets.png

Message scheduling and automation

Most consumer group messaging apps don’t allow you to schedule messages. But business group messaging apps do.

Group messaging automation breaks down into two main categories.

Most business group texting apps offer basic text message scheduling. This means scheduling one message, to one person, one time.

Looking to schedule text messages to employees or teammates? Then you’ll need more advanced group text messaging for business.

messagedesk-desktop-schedule-text-1200x630.png

Group size and messaging volume (through-put)

There’s a big difference between group messages and mass messages.

When it comes to texting, certain apps and carriers restrict group sizes and the number of texts you can send, unless you have a special designation.

Sending bulk text message blasts to employees? Managing a bunch of group text messages between teams?

Business group text messaging apps offer larger group sizes and higher “throughput” (messaging per second) with carrier verified 10DLC text messaging.

MessageDesk messages showing group text masthead

Best Group Text, Group Messaging and Group Chat Apps (For Consumers)

  1. iMessage group texting and chat on iPhone
  2. Google Messages group texting and chat on Android
  3. Messenger on Facebook and Instagram
  4. WhatsApp
  5. WeChat
  6. GroupMe
  7. Line
  8. Signal

1. iMessage group texting and chat on iPhone

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Best for:

Apple iPhone user.

Overview:

Apple’s iPhone and iMessage are the gold standards 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 many people have come to appreciate.

Keep in mind, these features are only available when texting from iPhone to iPhone. iMessages aren’t the same as SMS text messages. They’re sent using Apple’s own messaging network.

How to create a group text message on iPhone using iMessage:

  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”.

Pros:

  • You get rich features when sending iMessages to other iPhone users

Cons:

  • Rich features aren’t available when texting android users
  • You can only name group iMessages, not MMS group messages

2. Google Messages group texting on Android

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Best for:

Google Android users.

Overview:

Android users have a little more diversity in their group messaging options. Many android devices use Google Messages, the free group text app that comes installed by default.

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 compose and name 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.

Pros:

Great for Android users

Cons:

Limited rich features when texting with iPhone users

3. Messenger for Facebook and Instagram

messenger-890x612.png

Best for:

Group messaging with Facebook and Instagram users.

Overview:

Messenger is Facebook's (now Meta’s) unified group messaging app. It allows you to message individuals or groups of up to 150 people. You can also react to messages with stickers, GIFs, and emojis.

You can send voice messages, photos, and videos, or capture your own media using Messenger Camera. You can even create polls to quickly get a group opinion on an idea.

By default, Facebook has no true end-to-end encryption. But you can enable privacy features on both ends by tapping on a contact's name and selecting “Go to Secret Conversation”.

Features:

  • Instant messaging
  • Photo, video, and media sharing
  • Group chats
  • Recorded voice messages
  • Live chat and video calling
  • Send money to family and friends
  • Chat with businesses

Pros:

  • Seamlessly integrates across Facebook and Instagram
  • Many rich features like emojis, typing indicators, read receipts, etc.
  • Desktop as well
  • Some privacy features

Cons:

  • Not a direct replacement for text messages
  • Contained within the Facebook/Meta universe

4. WhatsApp

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Best for:

Group messaging between friends and family without Facebook or Instagram accounts.

Overview:

WhatsApp is one of the best apps for group communication (also owned by Meta). It gives you a simple messaging interface that supports basic text chat, photos, videos, and voice messages. The app even allows you to share files under 100MB with other users on WhatsApp.

Chats take the form of one-on-one conversations with other WhatsApp users or group chats of up to 256 participants. WhatsApp users can place free voice and video calls to other users of the service.

Group calls can be made with up to four people, and all messages are secured with end-to-end encryption. WhatsApp works for Windows and Mac, and you can access the service via a browser.

Features:

  • Group chats
  • Media sharing (photos, video, etc.)
  • Document sharing
  • Desktop app
  • Voice calls and voice messages
  • End-to-end encryption

Pros:

  • Works well for texting your existing contacts
  • Large group chat sizes
  • Enhanced security features

Cons:

  • Image and media sharing quality is sometimes reduced

5. WeChat

wechat-976x549.jpeg

Best for:

Connecting with friends and family in groups internationally around the world.

Overview:

WeChat is a free messaging and calling app owned by the Chinese company, Tencent. With WeChat, you can chat with friends and family instantly and share moments from your day. You can also find new friends nearby to start a conversation.

It’s easy to create live group chats. Just invite all of your favorite people for an easy-going discussion. WeChat also has a walkie-talkie mode that you can use with up to 40 friends.

Features:

  • Text, photo, voice, and video chat
  • Voice and video calls
  • Real-time location sharing
  • Mini programs
  • Stories
  • Games
  • WeChat pay
  • Stickers

Pros:

Vast ecosystem with all kinds of add ons and mini programs

Cons:

Lackluster customer service

6. GroupMe

groupme-600x526.png

Best for:

Small group communication with classmates and small teams.

Overview:

GroupMe is one of the best group chat apps around. It’s awesome because it gives you a dedicated space to share photos, videos, and animated GIFs. You can also share locations with friends and family.

Their free group text app lets you set up multiple texting groups. It’s great for talking in exclusive chats or sending SMS texts, pictures and videos.

You can also send information privately to just one contact at a time. All you have to do is tap the contact’s avatar in GroupMe. You can also “like” messages from your other group members.

Features:

  • Free group messaging
  • SMS integration allows you to chat with contacts who don’t have GroupMe
  • Photo and video sharing
  • Location sharing
  • Custom emoji
  • Direct messages

Pros:

Cons:

  • Dated user interface
  • Limited group management features
  • Slow customer support

8. Line

Best for:

Those looking for an alternative social media and messaging experience.

Overview:

Line is a mobile messenger app designed to bring friends, family, and loved ones closer together. Line gives you free messages, voice calls, and video calls. It also offers fun stickers for sharing with friends.

The app is available on smartphones, including iPhones and Android devices, and also PCs and Macs.

Features:

  • Chats and Group chats
  • Voice and video calls
  • Read receipts
  • Stickers emoji and themes
  • Mobile payments

Pros:

  • Robust social community
  • Cool stickers, emoji, and media options

Cons:

If your network speed is too slow or you don't have enough device storage, LINE may not install properly.

9. Signal

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Best for:

Individuals who value their privacy and need encrypted group messaging.

Overview:

Signal is an open-source encrypted messaging app that includes free voice and video calling to other Signal users. You can send text, photos, videos, documents, or messages through a one-on-one conversation as well.

Unlike WhatsApp, there's no limit on the number of contacts you add to group chats.

Features:

  • End-to-end encryption
  • Group messaging
  • Media sharing

Pros:

  • No ads, affiliate marketing, or user tracking
  • Free and open source

Cons:

  • Mobile to desktop transitions can be clunky
  • Limited conversation management features, like marking a message as “unread”
Try business group texting for free. No credit card required.

Best Group Text, Group Messaging and Group Chat Apps (For Businesses and Organizations)

  1. MessageDesk
  2. Slack
  3. Microsoft Teams
  4. Workplace from Meta
  5. Google Hangouts

1. MessageDesk

messagedesk-inbox-in-app-1200x630.png

Best for:

Best group texting app for businesses and organizations that need a shared team inbox to conversationally engage with contacts, customers, clients team members, and employees.

Overview:

Of course, I have to mention MessageDesk as part of my best-of list. How can I not? I am a co-founder after all. 🤷

MessageDesk is the best texting app for businesses with teams. It works great for texting one-on-one and broadcasting to large groups from a 10-digit phone number or 800 number. You can also connect your existing business phone number or text enable your landline.

MessageDesk is a great texting platform for businesses and organizations looking to create conversational group experiences. It's well suited for customer support and service, review and feedback collection, payment and scheduling reminders, and text message marketing campaigns.

After a free trial, starting costs are $14 per month for one user. We also offer custom pricing for larger teams.

Features:

  • Scheduled and automated text messages
  • Templates and MMS messages
  • Group texts and broadcasts without reply all
  • Call forwarding and voicemails to any number
  • File sharing
  • Desktop, tablet, and mobile apps
  • Supports high-volume A2P carrier verified messaging
  • Built-in opt-in and opt-out tools for TCPA compliance

Pros:

  • Highly functional shared team-inbox
  • Affordable starting price
  • Excellent customer service

Cons:

Currently, few integrations with other apps

2. Slack

slack-1200x800.jpg

Best for:

Businesses and organizations with larger-sized teams.

Overview:

Slack is perhaps the most popular group team communication app. It comes loaded with features and integrations that give users plenty of ways to customize their interface.

Slack is great for teams and team members. Its simple design allows users to send group messages in various channels. It also allows for media and photo sharing, link sharing, and all sorts of other advanced tagging and communications options.

Pro plans cost $8 per person per month, and Business+ costs $15 per person per month.

Features:

  • Channels for organized communication in groups
  • Instant, direct messages to teammates
  • Video and voice chatting

Pros:

  • Highly customizable settings and displays
  • Many integrations with other apps, such as Google Drive
  • Simple navigation and intuitive interface
  • Robust free plan

Cons:

  • Chaotic channel organization can feel overwhelming
  • Expensive for larger teams
  • Siloed messaging channel, not directly integrated with email, text, or voice conversations

3. Microsoft Teams

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Best for:

Businesses with large teams of remote workers who already use Microsoft Office products on a daily basis.

Microsoft Teams Overview:

Microsoft Teams is an all-in-one platform. It works seamlessly with other Microsoft Office software and allows teams to easily collaborate on documents remotely in real-time.

There’s a Microsoft 365 Business Basic plan for $5 per user per month. That comes with three other apps. Microsoft 365 Business Standard costs $12.50 per user per month but comes with up to nine other apps.

Features:

  • Specialized channels to narrow down conversations
  • Screen sharing and online video calling
  • Syncs with Outlook calendars for easier scheduling

Pros:

  • Included with Microsoft 365 and Office 365 subscriptions
  • Users can perform most work tasks without leaving the app
  • Employees can access Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and other products to edit files with team members in real-time

Cons:

  • A less intuitive platform that may take some training
  • Audio conferencing with people outside of the organization may require additional licensing

4. Workplace from Meta

workplace-1200x675.jpeg

Best for:

Teams with employees that are familiar with Facebook.

Overview

Workplace from Meta is another team chat app that offers a ton of innovative communication and productivity features. These include surveys, polls, and newsfeeds, all on a platform that looks like Facebook.

The Core plan costs just $4 per person per month. But companies have the option to pay for add-ons for an extra monthly cost.

Features:

  • Available on desktop and mobile devices
  • Live video chat and broadcasting
  • Integrates with other software, like DropBox and Microsoft Outlook

Pros:

  • Intuitive for Facebook users
  • Customizable text formatting with Markdown
  • Low starting price

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve for those who haven't used Facebook before
  • High need for administrative involvement behind the scenes

5. Google Hangouts

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Best for:

Businesses that only need basic messaging, calling, and video conferencing services.

Overview:

Google Hangouts covers all of your basic communication app needs. It's Google’s chat solution and it's great for businesses that don't rely heavily on video or audio calls.

Google offers Google Hangouts for free, as well as Google Workspace Individual for $7.99 per individual per month. Google Workspace Enterprise offers more options and features, and Google provides custom pricing on that package.

Features:

  • Browser and mobile app accessibility
  • Live closed captions for video meetings
  • 15 GB per user of Google Drive storage
  • G Suite integration

Pros:

  • Plenty of helpful features available in the free version
  • Low starting price for paid plans
  • Intuitive platform

Cons:

  • Few integration options with other apps
  • Audio and video connection quality needs improvement
Try business group texting for free. No credit card required.

Ready to start sending group texts?

MessageDesk is one of the best business group text apps made for employee and team communication.

We’re here to help you keep connected to contacts, customers, and coworkers.

Feel free to try MessageDesk for free or schedule a demo.

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