How to Get Group Message Replies as Individual Messages on Android

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Sometimes, group messages just make more sense than sending individual messages. When you’re trying to get a group of people altogether and a conversation needs to happen, putting everyone in the same message is the way to go. Other times, that’s not the case.

The way group messaging works most of the time is pretty straightforward: the SMS is converted to MMS, then sent to everyone on the distribution list. When someone replies, that reply goes to everyone in the group. Like I said, in many circumstances, this method just makes sense.

But what if you need to say the same thing to a lot of different people, but don’t want the replies to show up for everyone? For example, let’s say you’re throwing a party for your child and want people to RSVP–those replies only need to come just to you. They don’t need to bug the entire group. In order for that to happen, you might think you have to send multiple texts. But by tweaking one setting in Google Messenger for Android, you can actually send the same text to as many people as you want and receive replies individually. It’s like turning off “Reply All” in email, but for text messages.

First, you’ll need to jump into Messenger’s settings by tapping the three-button overflow menu on the app’s main screen. From there, select “Settings.”

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At the bottom of this menu, there’s an option that reads “Advanced.” Head in there.

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The top options is for “Group Messaging,” which is what you want. Tapping on this entry will open a simple pop-up menu with two options: “Send individual SMS messages to all recipients” and “Send a single MMS to all recipients.” Change this setting to the first option, and away you go. By sending your message as a group of individual SMS messages, the replies will come back as individual SMS messages.

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The primary downside here is that this can’t be done an a per-message basis: once you change this setting, it will apply to all group messages moving forward. You’ll have to change it back in order to use the more traditional group messaging method.

Cameron Summerson is a die-hard Android fan, Chicago Bulls fanatic, metalhead, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at HTG, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, spinning legs on the bike, chugging away on the 6-string, or being disappointed in the Bulls.