How To Manage Group Texts on Android Phones

With the number of cell-phone users with unlimited text plans increasing, group texting has become a popular option for people looking to communicate with their sales team or simply wish everyone a “Happy New Year!”  However, it is annoying and sometimes embarrassing to receive a group text and reply, not realizing that you could be embarrassing yourself or even getting into trouble by responding, by accident, to other recipients of the text. Further, you may be included in responses sent by other people on the list, bloating your phone. Finally, your contact information may often be exposed to other people that you may not know when you or a friend send or respond to group texts.

How can group text mishaps be managed and prevented? While the stock text message applications on Android offer the most protection from the mishaps of group texting, many people choose to use third party apps and are susceptible to problems associated with sending, receiving, and replying to group text messages. This how-to will talk through the basics of group texting, options available on the Android phone, and things to do to opt out of group texting.

Android Phone Texting Options

All texting applications involve some form of control over how texts are sent and received.  The stock texting app on Android makes it difficult to send group texts, and gives control over responses to group texts. Two popular third party apps used to text on Android, Handcent and GoSMS Pro, offer more control than stock applications over sending and receiving group texts.

Android Stock Texting Application:

  1. Enter your android phone’s stock texting application.
  2. Find the “Settings” option by tapping on the multiple lines on the left side of the bottom of your phone screen.
  3. Tap on “Message Settings.” This is where you can set some basic controls for individual and group texting.
  4. Enable the “Thread Group Conversations” option by making sure that the checkbox next to the option is highlighted in green. Enabling this option means that if you receive a group text message, you will only be responding to the sender, if you choose to respond.

If using GoSMS Pro:

  1. Enter the GoSMS Pro application
  2. Find the “Settings” option by tapping the multiple lines on the left side of the bottom of your phone screen.
  3. The “Settings” will appear in the “General” area of the pop-up menu. Tap on “Settings” to open.
  4. Go to the “Advanced” option in the settings screen to access and adjust individual, send, receive, and basic security settings. This will allow you to create a “blacklist,” and decide how texts are sent and received.
  5. Go back to the initial pop-up menu, and click on the “Services” option in the pop-up.
  6. From the “Services” option, you can elect to filter messages according to “Stranger,” “Number Prefix,” or “Keywords” of the message. This will prevent you from receiving messages sent by strangers and reduce the number of messages you might receive, by accident, from people responding to all the recipients of the text in which you were included.

If Using Handcent:

  1. Enter the Handcent application
  2. Find the “Settings” option by tapping the multiple lines on the left side of the bottom of your phone screen.
  3. A menu of various settings will appear on the screen of the phone. Go to “Send message settings.”
  4. Disable the “Send as Split Threads” setting so that all of your group text messages are sent out as individual threads instead of sending one thread when group texting.
  5. Tap the back button on the phone to return to the “Settings” menu.
  6. Select the “security and privacy” option.
  7. A menu will pop up giving various security and privacy settings. Scroll down to “Filter” and tap.
  8. The “Filter settings” menu will appear. Set the “Current Mode” to either “Block Notification only” or “Block and Add to Blacklist” depending upon your privacy needs.
  9. Below filter settings, there is another section of the “Filter” menu called “Filter Items.” Enable “Unknown Number Filter” to filter numbers that are not in your contacts.

Opting out of Group Texts

Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to simply opt-out of group texts. For example, you cannot control if or when someone decides to include you in a group text. While you can control your settings for receiving and responding to group messages, you cannot avoid the mistakes of other people who may be responding to the whole group.

Although there are not any steps you can take through applications to remove yourself from group texts, there are a few more logical steps that you can take to ensure your privacy is being protected in the best possible way despite group texting.

  1. Let your friends know that you do not want to be included in group text messages. This seems like a simple step, but will definitely reduce the number of random group messages that you might receive. Inform your friends of concerns you have regarding the privacy of your contact information.
  2. When responding to a text message, check to see if it is a group message before sending a response. If there is an icon with multiple gray heads in the corner of the screen (Android) or if the message lists multiple contacts, it is a group text.
  3. When responding to a group text, hold your thumb down on the text and select the “respond to sender only” option. In third-party apps, research and learn how to do this option. This is necessary if you want to make sure that the only person who receives your response is the person who sent you the text.
  4. Finally, if you are the sender of a group text, think about issues of privacy and, if this is a feature you must use, look for a third-party app that handles the group text and offers privacy-protection features and the ability to set up different “groups.”

11 thoughts on “How To Manage Group Texts on Android Phones”

  1. This does not apply to the Droid 4, which is ironically the Android phone pictured on this page. There is no “Message Settings” in the Text Settings for the Droid 4. There is a Default group message type which only determines whether response to group messages goes to the group or the individual sending it, but that’s the only thing about group messaging. I have no problem receiving group messages, but I have not been able to find any way to send them. I tried setting up a group, but the Droid 4 Text application does not allow me to send texts to groups I set up. I tried looking at the Droid 4 manual, but it appears to be for a different version of the phone, as it makes a lot of references to things not on mine so it is essentially useless. Specifically, it refers over and over to a “Messaging” app which is not on my phone. I have a Text Messaging app, but it is very different from the Messaging app in the manual.

  2. Does this apply to anyone’s stock android messenger anymore? No one I know has this mysterious “Message settings” option.

  3. Wouldn’t disabling “Send as split threads” actually send one thread? And wouldn’t enabling “Thread group conversion” actually make it so you reply to all?

    1. Yeah that read really weird to me too. I mean if you DISABLE something that SPLITS, then it should NOT split up anything anymore…which would mean ONE…not many. I think the writer of this just had a bit too much coffee???

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