Hangouts SMS option

Don't want your text messages going to Google Hangouts? There's an easy way to go back to your old Messaging app

As of version 2.0, the Google Hangouts app for Android can handle SMS messages as well as regular instant messages. When you start it up for the first time you'll be asked if you want to use Hangouts for SMS or not. Tap yes and your existing messages are imported into the app, and you'll receive future SMS notifications through Hangouts instead of your preloaded SMS app. Tap "Maybe later" and you'll continue using your preloaded Messaging app.

But what if you've tried it and want out? Well, turns out there's a simple way to disable SMS in Hangouts and go back to using the built-in app.


To disable SMS in Hangouts after you've enabled it — or enable it after you've chosen not to — head to:

  1. Menu (press the menu button on some phones, use the three dots in the top right corner on others)
  2. Settings > SMS
  3. Under "General," toggle "Turn on SMS" to enable or disable this feature.

After disabling Hangouts your built-in SMS app (usually "Messages" or "Messaging" in the app drawer) will handle text messages.

Note: If you're using a "stock" Android device like the Nexus 5, with Android 4.4 KitKat, you'll see an "SMS Enabled" button instead of the option above. Tap that to go to "Wireless & networks" menu where you can select a default SMS app — choose between Hangouts and any third-party SMS app you might have downloaded from the Play Store.

There are 58 comments

radgatt says:

That's easy enough.

crxssi says:

But for how long can we do it before it becomes mandatory and we have no choice anymore? (As seems to be the case on many platforms with updates)

bplewis24 says:

Since when is Android about reducing choices?

tquan says:

Android is not going the way you think it is. Take a look at this article:

zero3187 says:

That was a really interesting article. I didn't, however, see anywhere information in there that would lead me to believe that Google would block the use of third party app substitutes. For me, the draw of android is that if you don't like the way Google's version of something works you can find an android compliant third party version that offers different interfaces or methods of use. If Google put a stop to that then, well, I would heavily consider not using their platform.

dchawk81 says:

There might be legal issues with that.

Impulses says:

Have they done that with ant of their other first party apps/services? AFAIK we've always been able to (and still can) choose our default maps app, gallery app, browser, mail client, keyboard, etc etc.

Demodave says:

For you, that will happen once you purchase an Apple device.

Oskiee says:

I cant seem to get it to work for me to not like it...

Mobius360 says:

I like the new hangouts but I've grown fond of the messaging app built into my G2. I'm glad it can easily be turned off and on.

Posted via G2 Android Central App

icebike says:

I think there is a bug in the tablet version of hangouts.

In the phone version, If I'm in a hangout with one person, and decide to send a message to another person, (without adding them to make a group chat), I can just hit the Back arrow at the top of left of the chat.

That back arrow never appears on the tablet version, and the only way to get out of a conversation to start another, is to close the app.

What Am I missing?

coolqf says:

You can't just use the standard back button found on the bottom of the screen?

zero3187 says:

Yeah, the tablet app acts a little differently than the phone app I've noticed. You can always swipe the conversation to the right and then it gives you the list of open conversations you have and if you click the + you can start a new hangout.

wagonis says:

I just got my Nexus 5 yesterday and noticed that if I didn't want to use hangouts, I would have to download a third party app. So I figured I would give hangouts a chance and see if I can get used to it handling SMS. Really isn't bad at all so thinking I'll just stick with it.

My only beef so far is the fact that stock Android uses the same volume for both ringer and notifications, but THAT is a simple fix with third party apps.

Long live Nexus! lol

Posted via Android Central App

jeddo45 says:

My friend you don't even need a third party app for that. Just go into any app settings menu, and customize your ringer for that app!

Posted via Android Central App

zero3187 says:

I personally would rather have them linked because I usually would have them both the same volume anyways. That being said, I love that you can almost always get that third party app solution!

dhall32 says:

I can't send MMS messages. I thought you could with handouts 2.0.

neonworm says:

It works fine for me. Make sure you have mobile data turned on.

skyeshadow says:

This is wierd I dont see the option to send text iether. I could do it in the leaked version I dont understand its says new update but nithing changes .. rooted note 2

Posted via Android Central App

icebike says:

If you have a hangout open, you can only send by what ever means that hangout was started with.

But when starting a new hangout from your contacts, after you select the person, but before you send any text, tap the pull down containing the person's name. It will offer hangouts or sms.

gordongr says:

I'm still adjusting to texting with hangouts but I think I'm going to like it, clearly needs some work though

JoeZone says:

Idk about this..

Posted via Android Central App

webby_s#AC says:

Me either, but we have the option at least. I just might get used to it!

Tower72 says:

Does this allow any customization or is it just a plain old blah black and white'

TeknoBug says:

8SMS is OK, basically the same SMS app Cyanogenmod has.

Michael Kerr says:

I don't mind using Hangouts for SMS and MMS on my Nexus 5. I was using it on my Nexus 4 after the apk was leaked.

Posted via Android Central App

Epic Tea says:

updated the app but no SMS options, i don't understand how everyone else is doing it it says version 2.0 but it looks and acts exactly the same with no SMS options.

icebike says:

What device did you install it on?

sprint4lyfe says:

You must not be on 2.0

BRENDO702 says:

It did the same for me on my note 3. Got the update but nothing changed in the app itself haha

Posted from my Galaxy Note 3

zero3187 says:

Updates are being pushed to different devices at different times. It might say 2.0 in the play store but if you open hangouts, hit the overflow, settings, then about hangouts it will say what version it is. My play store says 2.0 but my app says 1.2something.

Ho12nyGuy says:

For some reason, I can't get the notifications to work. When I try to verify my phone number, it says that the number is verified. When I go to do it again, it still has my phone number with a question mark asking if I would like to verify. I will get a new text message but the will not be anything there in the notification bar. Please help. Thanks in advance.

TeknoBug says:

Do you have another SMS app installed? Handcent and Go SMS steals the system's notifications for some reason.

fldude99 says:

Too bad it doesn't work with drive assist in the Moto x

jph1282 says:

Why would you want to?

Posted via Android Central App

Amir47 says:

What of you want the SMS app back?

Posted via Android Central App

because its better and simple and receives better pictures

When can we use it for Google Voice? Google Voice has been really buggy this past year.

Posted via Android Central App

peterfares says:

Anyone notice that Hangouts for some reason has lower resolution images for MMS than other apps? If you save the images they also don't contain EXIF data. If you use another SMS app the saved images will be in full resolution received and contain any EXIF data received.

Rashawn29 says:

I think theres a option to long press and download a high quality photo

peterfares says:

How do I do this? I can tap the photo and press the three dots and say save. I don't see anything else. If I hold the message there's no get higher quality. If I press View Details it says 394 KB. When I tap it the photo is not very high quality and if I save it it only saves at 84 KB. If I use 8SMS to view the picture it's high quality and saving it, it's 384KB.

BK Phil1 says:

I'm having equally strange results.

Hangouts seems to upconvert all pictures to 1080x810 when it saves them - the two I tested were were 640x480 and 1024x768 originally (as confirmed with the same message from 8sms and even another device).

In addition, the higher-resolution versions produced by Hangouts has smaller file sizes.

Think I'll pass on Hangouts until they sort out the kinks.

here's what i had to do, give it a try, although mine was also an LG G2 from verizon

1) click on your settings wherever you may have put it.
2)scroll down to application manager
3)click on application manager
4)page over right twice to get to the all page
5)scroll down to hangouts and click on it
6)disable hangouts and be back with your old messaging which you know and love

What about the opposite? Is there any way to force enable SMS on the LTE Nexus 7? The stock SMS apk sideloads and runs just fine, but the upgrade would be nice.

Troneas says:

hangouts still need to improve to make it a viable sms app. essential features like blocking numbers is missing. another thing that that i've experienced is that unless the phone number is listed in its international format, hangouts will not recognise it and display the number instead of the person who is sending the sms in the header. so no, i went back to stock sms for now.

I have a nexus 4 with hangout 2.0 but the SMS feature is neither enabled or able to

Posted via Android Central App

my LG G2 VS980 gave me a hard time too this is what i had to do

1) click on your settings wherever you may have put it.
2)scroll down to application mannager
3)click on application mannager
4)page over right twice to get to the all page
5)scroll down to hangouts and click on it
6)disable hangouts and be back with your old messaging which you know and love

RRasp says:

Also, when you send a mms picture, the other person gets the picture sideways. Also, you can't attach voice memos..? I really like the concept but they need to get this all figured out before they replace the current sms app. Jiff's alone are not enough to make me change over.

fam617 says:

im still waiting for 4 user

mdhorton says:

I don't have those options available in my settings in the app. Where do I go to find them.

Posted via Android Central App

ysstog says:

I have a Nexus 5 and like Ninja SMS, which works great but the messages still go to hangouts. When I go into the Default SMS area, Ninja isn't listed even though it's installed and running. Only Hangouts is listed.

RobynnYip says:

Nice tips! It seems that Android 4.4 Kitkat allow user to use the 3rd-party sms apps instead of the official one. I think it is awesome!! BTW, I don't know how to recover deleted sms from Android phone without backup, I just found a program which announces it can recover deleted sms here:, however, it just can get back deleted sms on rooted phone. My phone(Sony Xperia Z) haven't, can you give me some guides?

Dayna D says:

Tried it, but it wouldn't show the messages. Got the notifications, but just couldn't ever see the actual messages. Samsung Galaxy S3

defunkatated says:

Okay, well I tried it, but was dumb and didn't back up my sms messages first. Now none of my old conversations are in my standard phone messager. They all still show up in my hangouts page. Why did Hangouts clear all of my conversations? Can I save them to my computer somehow, at least?

marcspear says:

I, quite simply and very seriously, am too old to be using an app called "hangouts". You are, too, if your age begins with the number number 2 or larger...

treebee55 says:

I want to control what name and picture appears on an SMS. I do not want to use my standard google phone info and picture when texting strangers. Is there a way to change what goes out with an SMS as sender? I have a nexus 5

jsm1963 says:

Here's a dilema: When I want to send a text to a contact it won't allow me unless I enable sms in Hangouts. Anyone know a fix for this?