Android 4.4 KitKat to have “default SMS app;” developers advised to get their apps ready

by: Chris SmithOctober 14, 2013

Android 4.4 KitKat default SMS app

Google on Monday advised SMS app developers to get their apps in order for the arrival of Android 4.4 KitKat, which will let users select their “default SMS app.”

The company did not reveal when Android 4.4 KitKat will be released, although it did say it’s coming “later this year.” Furthermore, Google did not mention whether Hangouts will get SMS and MMS support in Android 4.4, as it’s currently rumored.

However, it’s clear that Google plans some changes for SMS apps, which is why it’s making sure developers update their apps accordingly.

Developers will have to update their apps to make sure they work properly in Android 4.4, as only one app will become the default SMS app – which means just one app will be able to both send and receive SMS messages.

Other installed SMS apps will be able to only receive the same messages, but will not have the power to send messages – until the user selects the app as a default SMS app, that is.

Developers are encouraged to turn off features of their apps when they’re not selected as the default SMS app on a device, and to offer users a quick prompt allowing them to change the default SMS app if the app in use on the device is not the default SMS app.

The SMS changes in Android 4.4 may be related to Hangouts getting SMS support, but they may also be related to preventing malware apps from silently sending SMS messages to premium numbers at the expense of the unsuspecting user, since just one app will be able to send SMS messages.

In its detailed post on Android Developers, Google is offering specific information to SMS app developers about the coming changes, so in case you have one such app in the Google Play store, you may want to make sure it’s ready for the Android 4.4 update.

Google also noted that it will “soon” provide the Android 4.4 SDK components to SMS app developers in order for them to update their apps “as soon as possible.”

With all that in mind, we can only assume that Android 4.4 KitKat won’t be unveiled tomorrow, as some recent rumors suggested, but we’ll certainly keep our ears to the ground for more KitKat news for you.

  • Jean valJean

    How will this affect an app like mightytext?

    • Tuấn Ankh

      I think you won’t be able to use mightytext when the N5 first comes out anyway. The new version of Android won’t support the app.

  • Seth Forbus

    This is awesome. I never replace the default app because of problems. Maybe this will fix that.

  • Oli72

    nexus 4 owner this is awesome.

  • I’m starting to believe that the Nexus 5 isn’t going to come this month…

    • Tuấn Ankh

      I thought Google would announce it either today or tomorrow. We are hearing nothing about nit now. Idk if Google even has an event any time this month.

      But well, “waiters” gotta wait. It’s not like there is anything we can do, lol.

  • Ali Khalid

    i dunno what wrong with google they are changing bits and bine in all new updated from 4.1 to 4.4 why not change the whole thing some thing more innovative

    • gommer strike

      Because “innovation” doesn’t suddenly come out of nowhere.

      Innovation needs to work in small, gradual steps, so that it’s accepted by the community and people are given time to adjust to change. You can’t just hold everything in secret, then suddenly release everything with all new-UI, all new SMS app, all new this and that, and expect everyone to just accept change for the sake of change.

      • Ali Khalid

        well gommer i am not taking about such a minor changes which we already used on cm modes and all but i am talking about the whole new idea of android i cant elaborate all here but something more stunning

        • gommer strike

          have a look at the firefox mobile OS

  • deepen03

    How is this news? My S4 already does this on 4.2.2! I use textra as default..

  • Ronak

    This just sounds like music to a proud Nexus 4 user ;)