I am certainly not a die hard texter, but texting certainly is useful on so many occasions, and free texting is obviously the preferred option.  Especially if you’re texting peope abroad, or texting from abroad, texting can become very expensive – especially if the messages turn into a bit of a text-rally!

For iPhone to iPhone users, the obvious choice is iMessage as you don’t need to load anything additional.  iMessage is the standard text message app that comes pre-loaded when you received your phone.  Many people don’t really understand how this works.  It’s actually quite simple:

  • If the messages are blue, they’re free
  • If they’re green, they’re standard text messages you pay for.

How to know if messages will be chargeable 

Best here is to follow a rule of thumb:
  • if the other person has a recent iPhone (iPhone 4 or iPhone 5), most messages to & from them will be free when you’re in the country where your contract is based; and
  • you, and the other person, have to have access to data at time the message is sent.  In other words, both of you either have to have your phone connected to wi-fi, or your mobile data needs to be switched on.
So, if you’re messaging someone at home, and you know they have wi-fi, the message will be free.
Cost:  free (and comes standard)
Drawbacks:  If no data is available to enable the transmission of the message, it will be sent as an ordinary chargeable text message.  All messages to and from people without iPhones will be green, and therefore chargeable messages.

WhatsApp is my messaging app of choice.  It is simple to use and messages are free once you’ve bought the app.
I love how easy it is to send pictures from your camera roll, or even the ability to take a picture on the spot and send it through WhatsApp.  Also, it has the benefit of broadcasting a message to all your users, or setting up a group and inviting people to join the discussion in that group.  Great for planning or discussions.  My family and I set up a group whilst watching the Olympics 2012 opening ceremony, and discussed it all the way through.  We might not have been together, but all along we knew the others’ opions.
You can also change your profile picture and status, but I don’t really get excited about that.  I do believe it is important to teenage users through.
Cost:  £0.69.  Put that into perspective – it is equivalent to the cost of 3 standard priced international texts.
Drawbacks:  You need to have data available to use it, so either wi-fi or mobile data.  But so many people have access to either of these now, it is generally only when abroad that you feel the impact as mobile data is very expensive and wi-fi not always available.

Group Text! is brilliant if you often have to send multiple text to a group of people.  It enables you to set up multiple lists of recipients and message templates.  I have, e.g. my teams at work set up, as well as my book club.  So sending messages to them all is really quick and easy.  I also helped my mum set up two lists of about 20 people, whom she needs to message each week. And she’s found it very easy to use.
Cost:  £1.99 – by App standards that is an expensive app.  But in time saving terms, I believe it is definitely worth it.
Drawbacks:  it uses standard chargeable text messages instead of free data-based text messages.  But I guess you need to weigh that up against the time it saves…