Android Messages, also known as Google Messages, is preinstalled on the majority of Android phones. The app’s simple appearance may mislead some users. If, however, you look closely, you will notice a plethora of hidden features and settings. Let’s take a look at how to set up and use Google Messages with various tips, tricks, and features.
1. Filter Messages Using Categories
Messages are automatically classified as Personal, Transactions, OTPS, or Offers in the Messages app. The categories are listed just below the search bar for quicker access. Tap on a category to see the messages associated with it. This is useful when you want to find a specific type of message without having to go through the entire conversation list.
To enable or disable this feature, press the three-dot icon and select “Settings → Messages organization.” Enable or disable the toggle next to “View messages by category.”You can also change the primary category, which by default is the “All” category.
2. Auto-delete OTPs
Once you enter the OTP into its respective site, it loses its allure and is no longer useful. You can configure the Messages app to delete OTPs after 24 hours to have a cleaner inbox.
To do so, go to the Messages app “Settings → Messages organization.” Enable the toggle for “Auto-delete OTPs after 24 hours.”
3. Schedule Messages
The Android Messages app lets you schedule messages, allowing you to send them at a later time, even if you composed them earlier.
To schedule a message, type your message in the box and instead of pressing the Send button, touch and hold it. The schedule pop-up window will show up. Select the date and time you want to send the message and press the “SMS” button.
To update, cancel, or send the scheduled message at any time, tap on “Schedule message” and press the Clock icon next to it. Choose the appropriate option.
4. Pin Chats
If you frequently text someone, you can pin their conversation to the top of the conversation list. Even if you receive new messages from other chat threads, the pinned chat will continue to be at the top.
To pin a chat, touch and hold it until you the see menu bar. Tap on the Pin icon. Repeat the same steps to unpin a chat. You can identify a pinned chat by the Pin icon.
5. Archive Chats
You can hide chats from the conversation list without deleting them by using the Archive feature. This aids in organizing and giving the app a cleaner appearance.
To archive a chat, touch and hold it in the conversation list. Press the Archive button.
You will find all the archived chats by pressing “the three-dot icon → Archived.” Touch and hold a message, then press the Unarchive icon to send it back to the main inbox.
6. Star Messages
If someone sends you an important message you want to remember, you can star it so that you can find it quickly later on. Touch and hold the message you want to star. Then press the Star icon above in the top bar. All of your starred messages can be found by clicking “the three-dot icon → Starred.”
7. Search within Chat
To find any text within your messages, use the search bar on the Messages app’s home screen. You can also search within individual chat threads to find something specific to that chat.
To do so, open the chat and press the Search icon. Type the search term and hit Enter.
8. Use Dark Mode
The Google Messages app will not disappoint if you enjoy using apps in Dark mode. Press the three-dot icon in the app and select “Choose theme.” Tap on “Dark” to activate it or go with “System default,” which will apply the dark theme based on your system’s theme settings.
9. Change Font Size
To change the font size for chat threads in the Messages app, use the pinch in and out gesture. Alternatively, go to “Settings → Display → Font size” to change the device’s text size. That will eventually change it in the Messages app as well.
10. Use Bubbles
Android 11 introduced the concept of chat bubbles, which are floating chat threads that allow you to view and reply to messages quickly from any app. You can use them in the Messages app too.
Activate them in your phone’s settings by going to “Settings → Apps & notifications → Notifications → Bubble.” Next, open the Messages app’s settings and go to “Bubbles.” Select the desired option from “All conversations can bubble,” “Selected conversations can bubble,” and “Nothing can bubble.” You can remove bubble conversations as well.
If you go with Selected conversations, you need to enable bubbles for the required chats. To do so, open the notification panel and press the Bubble icon on the message. That will open the chat inside a bubble. Tap anywhere to minimize the bubble or tap on “Manage” at the bottom to stop the bubbles.
Another way to enable bubbles for a chat is to open the chat and press the three-dot icon. Select “Details → Notifications.” Turn on the toggle for “Bubble this conversation.”
11. Text from PC
Google Messages offers a native way to text from a computer. Launch messages.google.com/web on your computer or tablet. A QR code will appear. Launch the Messages app on your smartphone. In the Messages app, tap the three-dot icon and select “Device pairing.” Press the QR code scanner button and scan the code shown on the other device. If you aren’t satisfied with this functionality, check out more ways to text from a PC.
12. Change Individual Contact Message Tone
To change a contact’s text tone, open its chat thread and tap the three-dot icon. Navigate to “Details -> Notifications.” Select a different messaging tone by tapping on “Sound.” You can also change your other messaging preferences for the selected contact from this same screen.
13. Make Video Calls Quickly
Google has integrated the Duo app’s video calling feature directly within the app. Install the Duo app on your phone to use this feature. Then, on any chat in the Message app, simply tap the Video call icon to initiate a video call.
Note: to use this feature, Google Duo must also be installed on the other person’s phone.
14. Enable Suggestions in Chat
Google makes smart suggestions based on the messages in chat threads to make things easier for you. This feature makes use of on-device intelligence to recommend smart replies, actions (such as creating events, sharing location, and so on), and stickers.
To enable this feature, go to “Settings → Suggestions in chat” in the Messages app. Enable the toggles next to the necessary items.
15. Convert Special Characters to Simple Characters
When you copy a message from somewhere else, it frequently contains hidden special characters that you may not notice right away. If you include special characters in your messages, they take up extra space and may cause your messages to exceed the 160-character limit. Such messages usually cost more.
To automatically convert any hidden or special characters to normal characters, navigate to “Settings → Advanced” in the Messages app. Enable the toggle next to “Use simple characters.”
16. Use RCS
RCS, or rich communication services, is a more advanced version of SMS that allows you to send images, GIFs, stickers, and more to others via an Internet connection. It’s the Android equivalent of Apple’s iMessage and supports similar features, such as read receipts, a real-time typing indicator, and message reactions.
To use this feature, tap on the three-dot icon in the Messages app and press Chat features. Enable the toggle next to “Enable chat features.” You can customize read receipts and typing indicators on this screen.
Note: please keep in mind that RCS should be enabled for the other Android user as well. If the typing area says “Chat messages,” the user is using RCS; if it says “Text messages,” the message will be sent as standard SMS/MMS.
17. Share Location
RCS also unlocks the ability to share locations. Tap the plus (+) sign next to the typing area and the location box to choose the location. You can send your current location, choose from nearby places, or use the search feature to find any location whose address you want to share.