How to Choose The Best Group Text App + List of Top Apps
Kyle Kuczynski
Kyle Kuczynski
MessageDesk Co-Founder & CMO
Updated: Aug 12, 2021

A Quick Guide to Group Text Apps for Businesses and Consumers

Group texts are an integral part of our day-to-day communication. Texting is one of the most preferred ways to communicate with friends, family, and even businesses.

But when it comes to managing groups of people and sending texts, you’ve got a lot of options to choose from.

So we’ve put together a quick guide to help consumers and businesses find the best group text app for their needs.

Read on for more.

Group Texting Apps and Group Messaging Apps For Consumers

As a consumer, you’ve got a host of group messaging and group chat app options. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, GroupMe, Google Voice, Line, and Signal are all great options for sending messages and sharing photos and videos with friends and family.

The interesting thing is that most of these apps send data over their own dedicated networks.

These types of apps are called over-the-top messaging apps (OTTs). In most cases, to send and receive messages, everyone needs to have the app downloaded and installed on their phone.

7 Best Free Group Text and Messaging Apps for Consumers

  1. Facebook Messenger
  2. WhatsApp
  3. WeChat
  4. GroupMe
  5. Google Voice
  6. Line
  7. Signal
Facebook Messenger WhatsApp WeChat GroupMe Google Voice Line Signal
Groups Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Group Names Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Typing Indicators Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Read Receipts Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Media Sharing Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Encryption No Yes No No No No Yes
Price Free Free Free Free Free Free Free

1. Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger is Facebook’s unified answer to messaging. It allows you to message individuals or groups of up to 150 people, and 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 end-to-end encryption. But if you can enable encryption on both ends by tapping on a contact's name and selecting Go to Secret Conversation.

2. WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a simple messaging app that supports basic text chat, photos, videos, and voice messages. The app even allows you to send files under 100MB to 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.

3. WeChat

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 by inviting all of your favorite people for an easy-going discussion that's perfect when hanging out on the couch together or staying in touch across town.

WeChat also has a walkie-talkie mode that you can use with up to 40 friends.

4. GroupMe

Group messaging with GroupMe is awesome because it gives you a dedicated space to share photos, videos, animated GIFs, and even locations with friends and family.

The free 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.

5. Google Voice

Created in 2009, Google Voice is a popular VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) service. All you need to receive phone calls or send text messages is an internet connection.

Google Voice can be used for both personal and business purposes. Although there are more features available in the business version that comes with a cost.

Google Voice is simple and easy to use. It allows you to create group messages and share media over text simple text messages. But compared to other messaging options, it offers limited features.

6. Line

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.

7. Signal

Signal is an 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.

Group Texting on iPhone

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

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

All other messages (not iPhone to iPhone) appear as green MMS messages and get sent over the older carrier networks.

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”.

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

Group texting on Android

Android users have a little more diversity in their 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 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.

Group Texting Apps for Businesses

OTT messaging apps, iMessage, and burner phones don’t exactly work for business group texting.

To send text messages to customers or team members at scale businesses need more advanced functionality.

This means using a business text messaging app with higher “throughput” (messaging rates) and carrier verified 10DLC text messaging for mass text messaging.

Having the right business group texting platform makes it easy for businesses to:

How to Choose the Best Business Group Texting App

Choosing the right group text messaging for business communication depends on the following:

  • Your team size and conversational messaging needs
  • If you want to send group texts without reply all
  • If you want to text with your existing business landline or phone number
  • The kind of text message automation capabilities you need
  • How far you need to integrate group texting with your other business systems

Suggested Article: How to Choose the Best Business Texting App

Team size and conversational messaging needs

Depending on the size of your business, adding multiple users and being able to assign conversation owners might be important. Having multiple users and conversation assignments can even help you boost your customer engagement and improve customer service.

So the best group texting apps for business (and especially for teams) will allow you to add multiple users and set various permission levels.

Sending group texts to contacts without reply all

You'll want to think about the people on the other end of your messages when you start sending group text messages.

A good group texting app for business makes it easy to send group texts without reply all. It works like email BCC, but for text messages.

When you compose a group text message the text gets sent to a bunch of people. But every response comes back to your number as an individual, private message. This way, no one else in the group sees anyone else’s response.

Sending group texts with your existing business landline or phone number

The type of phone number you send group messages from is important. Short codes and “text to join” campaigns used to be the only way businesses could send a mass text.

But now, customers respond better to texts from businesses who personally message from a 10-digit phone number. These types of messages have high open rates because they look familiar.

In either case, you have two options.

First, you can look for a business group texting service that gives you a new 10-digit business phone number. Or you can find a mass texting service that allows you to “port over” and text-enable your existing business landline.

But what if you’re running a smaller operation and already using your personal cell phone to text contact lists and lists of phone numbers?

It’s not the best idea for you or your employees to text from your personal numbers. This is true for several reasons including privacy and security.

Additionally, mobile phone numbers can’t be ported over. Only businesses with established landlines or VoIP numbers are eligible for number porting.

In this scenario, you’ll want to look for a free group text app. Google Voice or these Google Voice alternatives are all great options.

Group text message automation capabilities

Group text message automation breaks down into two categories.

  1. Basic text message scheduling (scheduling one-time, individual, non-recurring messages)
  2. Advanced text message automation (stringing together multiple recurring, scheduled group text messages and autoresponders as part of a campaign)

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

Looking for set-it-and-forget-it automation? Then you’ll need a more advanced texting platform.

Integrations with other business systems

Integrations can help your business and team save time and scale day-to-day operations. But your needs will differ depending on your daily messaging workflows and how you operate your business.

If you’re looking for text messaging for sales teams, then CRM integrations will most likely be important

If you’re looking for text messaging marketing, then integrations with email providers and other marketing platforms might be valuable.

For medical, dental, and clinical offices EHR integrations and HIPAA compliance will be important.

Similarly, HR departments and staffing agencies who need to text job candidates and employees may require HRIS or HRMS integrations.

And some businesses who book regular appointments may need their business messaging app to integrate with an appointment scheduler like Calendly or Squarespace Scheduling.

And for those specialty workflows, many business text messaging apps also integrate with Zapier. Zapier is a slick tool that allows you to set up many different kinds of text messages and contact triggers.

This is often the ideal integration for small businesses with specialty day-to-day workflows.

5 Best Business Group Texting Apps

  1. MessageDesk
  2. Zipwhip
  3. SimpleTexting
  4. Podium
  5. EZ Texting
MessageDesk Zipwhip SimpleTexting Podium EZ Texting
Price (Lowest Tier) $39 / mo. $30 / mo. $45 / mo. Free $24 / mo.
Messages Per Month 1,000 500 1,000 Unlimted (inbound only) 200

Bonus: Slack - a business messaging alternative

In business, Slack is one of the most widely used team and group messaging apps. Slack even says that they’re “the smart alternative to email”. They’re not wrong!

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.

There’s a problem with Slack though. Both your business and your customer need to be Slack users and have Slack installed as a mobile app on their phones.

This is a problem especially when it comes to providing customer support and sending reminders and notifications. 61% of customers don’t want to install a new app or migrate to a new messaging platform just to communicate with a business.

So if you need to reach your entire customer base on their phones, then Slack may not quite work.

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 free MessageDesk trial or schedule a demo.

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