How to Send a Group Text Message

Being able to send the same text message to multiple recipients is one of the great tools of the digital age. It's a simple way to relay information without the need for multiple phone calls, and will circumvent your chances of getting sucked into an hour-long conversation with Aunt Grace when all you wanted to do was let her know what time the movie was.

Woman texting at an airport
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Re-writing your precious messages over and over is a fiddly and time-consuming task, not to mention completely unnecessary. Here are the steps to send group text messages.

Message app icon on Android
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Open your messaging app. On most phones there is a shortcut at the bottom on the screen, anchored among other apps you're liable to use on a regular basis.

Compose text message icon
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Create a new text and write your message. Again, most phones have an icon, often located in one of the top or bottom corners once you've opened up your messaging app.

contacts screen
credit: Ryan Hilary/Techwalla

At the top of the message window you should see the field for adding recipients--usually labeled "To:" What you might not realize is that you aren't limited t a single recipient; you can add as many people as you want here by entering each phone number separately, or directly choosing them from your address book.

on screen keyboard
credit: Ryan Hilary/Techwalla

Now write the text message the way you ordinarily would.

Once you have your message written tap the send icon (as you would normally). Your message will now be sent to all entered recipients. Any further messages in this "conversation" will appear in sequence as a "thread" so that you can see who has chimed in and at what time.

Be careful when sending additional messages on a thread you're probably replying to everybody on the original list. If you want to have a side conversation with an individual you're best to compose a separate private message in the normal fashion.

Setting up a permanent group

What if you have a group of people you want to send messages to on a regular basis? You're back to square one--inputting address after address, again and again. To make this task easier most mobile phone systems allow you to create a group. Here you can include the numbers you use most regularly--for example "family"--under a group heading. When sending a text to each of these people you can simply add the group as you would the individual contacts. While the interface for doing this may change a bit depending on which Android phone you own or what version of the operating system you have, here's a quick overview for doing it on Android and iOS:

Making a group on Android

Android group message screenshot
credit: Ryan Hilary/Techwalla

To set up a group on an Android phone, open Contacts. Next to the search field, you should see an icon with two people stacked on top each other

Tap this button to bring up the group page. To add a new group click the "+" in the top right hand corner. This will give you the option to name the group and add members (at the bottom on the page). Once you've named the group and added members hit save. Now, when you compose your text message, you can choose your saved group instead of the individual number.

Specifically on iOS

contacts screen with "group" button highlighted
credit: Ryan Hilary/Techwalla

Unfortunately, Apple currently doesn't allow you to create groups on the phone. Instead, you have to create groups on iCloud.

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