If you live in the US and you recently picked up a Samsung Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, or Galaxy S21 Ultra from one of the major carriers, then you’ll probably notice that Google Messenger did not come as the default texting app for your device and instead it was Samsung Messages. You can download Google Messages from the Google Play Store, but it’s just the regular version of it.
Recently, Google has rolled out a new version of Google Messages that is One UI themed, however, it doesn’t seem to be enabled or show up if you just grab the one from the Play Store. Instead, you have to grab one that is called “7.9.052 (Pine_RC01.phone_samsung_dynamic)” but you have to get it from a different source, which the link is provided.
This is a split-APK bundle so you’ll need to download an app called “Split APKs Installer (SAI)” from the Play Store in order to install it. Otherwise, Android doesn’t seem to be able to install it on its own.
After both of these two files are downloaded and SAI is installed, open SAI, locate the installer file for the special version of Google Messages, and install it. Don’t forget to give SAI permissions to install files. If you had Google Messages already installed, it will just upgrade over your existing install. Once this happens, force quit Google Messages from your App Settings and you’ll be good to go. You should now have the new One UI theme once you restart the app.
Note that while this basically has all the same functionality as the regular Google Messages, it does seem to be missing Notification Reminders. If this is a feature you use, maybe hold off on installing this update for now.