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What are chat features in Android and how do you enable them?

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 on
Women's hand typing on mobile smartphone
iStockphoto/Getty Images

Google Messages comes pre-configured with quite a number of handy features. 

Some of these are notifications, pinch to zoom, current country, suggested actions, smart reply, show transcripts of voice messages, view messages by category, and much more.

However, there are some pretty important features that are not enabled by default. 

These features fall under the name Chat features 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.

Also: The 6 best Android smartphones

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

There is, however, one thing to understand. It is that 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.

What are chat features in Android and how do you enable them?

Requirements

The only thing you'll need for this 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 feature. 

That's all you need. Let's enable it.

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 available 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.

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