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August 17, 2018

TextFree Review

TextFree is a mobile app for texting, and is available for iOS and Android devices. When it comes to smartphone and tablet usage, texting tops the list of most regularly used features. In fact, European telecommunications company O2 released a research study that showed the “telephone apps” and features on smartphones are generally only the fifth most-used apps.

That’s right, using your phone to actually call someone is fifth on the list of things you normally use that fancy gadget for!

But with cell phone carriers charging upwards of $20-$35 per month for “unlimited” text plans, pecking away at those little keyboards can get expensive. Luckily for us, there is a load of free texting apps just like Hushed, albeit with fewer features, available for both Android and iOS-enabled devices such as tablets and smartphones that allow users to text until their heart is content…all for the low, low price of FREE.

BUT, not all “free” texting apps are as good as they promise. This guide will provide you with an unbiased and unbridled review of the TextFree app, helping you determine if it is a good option for you to consider installing on your device(s).

Without further delay, let’s dig in!

What is TextFree?

Text free, as the name so generously implies, is an app that provides you the ability to send texts to your friends and family for free (even to those who don’t have the app installed themselves).

Textfree utilizes VoIP (voice over internet protocol) technology, allowing you to chat from an actual U.S. phone number and send SMS messages, as well as allowing you to chat via Facebook and send and receive phone calls for free (or for reduced rates depending on the type/origin of the call).

A quick overview of features available in the mobile app include:

  • Real SMS messages online
  • Texting (limited to 35 countries)
  • Calling / Voice (limited to the US and Canada)
  • Voicemail
  • MMS
  • Group messaging
  • Stickers, and more…

About TextFree 

When it comes to your personal details and data, especially sensitive messages and information, you don’t want to simply entrust any “fly by night” technology that pops up. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at who “TextFree” is and where they come from.

TextFree is an app brought to you by their parent company Pinger, Inc. or “Pinger” for short. Pinger, Inc. was founded in 2005 and is currently headquartered in San Jose, California.

The company received financial backing and funding from T-Venture, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, and DAG Ventures.

Who are Pinger? What do they do?

Pinger makes mobile communications apps for both the Android and iOS operating systems. Their flagship products include both Textfree and Sideline. Textfree represents their premier free texting and communications app, while Sideline adds a second number to smartphones in order to keep personal numbers private or to separate business from personal communications.

Textfree Specs / App Details

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Compatible Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android phones, Android Tablets, Kindle Fire

Price: Free*

Ads: Yes. In-app ad-supported.

Upsells: Yes. There are in-app purchases and paid upgrades

In-App Purchases: $1.99-$99 per item

Number of Downloads (Google Play): 10 Million+

Number of Downloads (Apple App Store): Unspecified

Release Date: August 9th, 2010

App Category: Social Media / Communications

Publisher: Pinger, Inc.

Current Version: 8.22

Download Size: 19.94 MB

Minimum Software Requirement: Android 2.1 or higher, OS 3.2 or later

Textfree Features

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Getting Started with TextFree

Step one, head on over to your favorite app store on your mobile device (smartphone or tablet). If you’re using an Android-based device this will be the play store. If you’re using an iOS-based device from Apple, this will be the Apple App Store.

Once there, search for “TextFree” (it’ll be easy to find). Next, download and install the app.

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Once installed, the Textfree app asks for a lot of permissions, most of which are required for the app to function correctly. For example, it will ask to access your contact list, photos (in case you want to send photos), your microphone, and so on.

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Once you’ve approved these permissions, you’ll need to create an account with a username and password, as well as confirming your gender, age and email address.

Next, the app will ask to access your “current location” via GPS.

Following that, you’ll have the opportunity to select a phone number of your choice (presuming it hasn’t already been claimed by someone else). Unfortunately, you cannot keep/port your current phone number into the app.

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However, you will be provided with the option to sync the app to your Facebook account which is an interesting add on.

TextFree Interface

Once the app is installed and your account set up, you’ll be greeted with the standard Textfree interface.

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This interface provides a simple, blue and white UI that serves as the inbox for your app. A horizontal navigation bar across the top of your screen will host icons for:

  • Contacts
  • Keypad
  • Recents
  • Favorites
  • Options
  • Compose

Across the bottom of the app screen lies the source of many complaints: a large, obstructive and annoying ad bar that services up and clutters your screen with advertisements.

Contacts

This is simply a list of contacts you have in the app. These can be synced and pulled in from Facebook as well as your phone’s standard address book.

Keypad

The keypad function simply allows you to manually type in a name or number and otherwise utilize as you would any other keyboard.

Recents

Largely self-explanatory, “recenfts” is simply a list of your most recent conversations (phone or chat) and who they were with.

Favorites

The “Favorites” feature can hold up to nine of your most often used contacts (or those of your choice). In order to add a friend to “Favorites” you simply tap on one of the rectangles in “Favorites” and then add them as prompted.

Options

Options are where Textfree allows you to change various settings, check on your remaining minutes available, stats and upgrade plans (i.e. to hide ads for example).

Compose

Tapping on “compose” pops up the interface to begin composing a message.

Parental Concerns – what you need to know

For those of us with kids, we know all too well how out of hand texting bills can get per month. And while apps such as Textfree seem like a good alternative to save a few bucks, there are some things to consider before diving in and having your kids install the app.

Considerations

  • The app does NOT send pictures. So no worries about unscrupulous photos floating around
  • The app does assign a random phone number
  • The app is rated for ages 15+, but you as the parent should decide what’s best

Consumer / User Reviews

The overall consumer consensus and feedback is that the app is pretty good for what it’s supposed to do, but not without its flaws.

The fact that it offers a “free” level of use has helped them grow in popularity and establish a wide user base. Those not looking to pay for upgrades and who are not concerned about extra features or being bombarded with advertisements may very well be content with the app as demonstrated in the reviews.

However, in the event that you need additional privacy, features, functionality, reliability and/or the need to remove advertisements, there are a number of other better-positioned options to consider such as the Hushed App.

Number of Downloads (Google Play): 10 Million+

Number of Downloads (Apple App Store): Unspecified

Google Play Rating: 4.3 stars (316,289 reviews)

Apple Store Rating: 4.5 stars (5,753 reviews)

Final Verdict

A final brief recap of what we have to say about the app based on experience and customer feedback:

The Good

  • Simple, easy to navigate interface
  • Can connect / sync with Facebook
  • Friends without the app can still receive texts
  • Favorites tab is handy

The Bad

  • Lacking in features
  • Privacy concerns
  • Can’t keep/port your phone number
  • Outbound calling isn’t free
  • No international calls for free except the US and CA
  • Annoying ads with the free version
  • Paid upgrades might make it worth considering other paid options

Verdict

Although Textfree is one of the more popular “free” apps for sending unlimited texts to any number in the United States or Canada, the app does have its drawbacks.

For example, users have to set up a brand new number that their friends won’t recognize. And while you can text to roughly 35 different countries, you can’t make calls outside of the US or CA.

Closing Thoughts

Depending on you and/or your family’s texting habits, as well as your carrier, texting bills can (and often do) rack up fast. If you’re looking for ways to shave a few bucks off your phone bill, some moderate anonymity when calling/texting, or need free messaging to countries outside of the US or CA, then something like Textfree might be a worthwhile consideration.

However, Textfree isn’t the only player in town, and many apps on both the Play Store and Apple App Store come with additional features that you won’t see in Textfree.

someone sitting at a desk with phone and laptop, the person holding the phone

Did you know—

Hushed is the easiest and most convenient way to get a second number. Choose from over 300 area codes in North America and 60+ countries around the world. No contracts, no credit checks, flexible payment options from $1.99 per month, and you can add and change numbers whenever you like.

Get started with a free number & 3-day trial now!

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