Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


Get more out of Android Chat by enabling these handy features

Out of the box, Google Messages is missing a few important features. Find out what they are and how you can enable them.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Person using phone
Xavier Lorenzo/Getty Images

Did you know that Google Messages includes a number of handy features? Some of these features include notifications, pinch to zoom, current country, suggested actions, smart reply, show transcripts of voice messages, view messages by category, and much more.

Also: The best Android smartphones right now

Even if you know about these features, you might not be aware there are some important extras that are not enabled by default. 

These features fall under the name Chat and include:

  • Send read receipts

  • Show typing indicators

  • Automatically resend as text if a message cannot send

  • Auto-download files you receive over mobile data

  • Auto-download files while roaming

For some, the read receipts and typing indicators alone are reason enough to enable the feature. The rest of the options may not apply to you or you may not want to have files automatically downloaded.

For those people who really want read receipts and to be able to see when someone is typing a reply, you'll definitely want to enable this feature. 

Also: How to set up a new Android phone: Do these five things first

There is, however, one thing to understand -- not all carriers support this feature. If you find the option isn't available on your device, it means your carrier doesn't support Chat options.

How to configure Android Chat features

What you'll need: The only thing you'll need is a device running an updated version of Android. Most devices sold in the past couple of years should include a version of the operating system that includes the features. 

That's all you need. Let's enable Chat features.

1. Open Messages

Swipe up on your home screen to reveal the App Drawer. Locate and tap the Messages launcher to open the app.

2. Open Settings

On the main Messages page, tap your profile icon, and then tap Messages settings.

The Messages profile icon popup.

If you have multiple Google Accounts, you'll want to make sure to select the right one.

Image: Jack Wallen

3. Open Chat features

From the Messages settings page, tap Chat features at the top and, on the resulting page, tap the ON/OFF slider until it's in the ON position. 

A popup will appear asking you to verify the enabling. Tap Yes, I'm In to enable the feature. After you've enabled the feature you'll see a button labeled Verify number. You do not have to do anything. 

Also: How to customize the Firefox homepage on Android

Wait a moment until the page refreshes to show your number has been verified.

The Android Messages Chat Features options.

Enable or disable all the features you need.

Image: Jack Wallen

4. Customize Chat features

You can now enable or disable any of the features you want. After customizing Chat features, you can back out of the Messages settings page and enjoy a much-improved texting experience.

You've now made Android Messages a more robust app that will keep you better informed and even let those who've texted you know you've read their missives.

Editorial standards