- WhatsApp is a popular voice, video, and text chat app, but there are many alternatives to choose from as well.
- Similar apps that offer end-to-end encryption include Telegram, Signal, and Threema.
- Here are seven of the best WhatsApp alternatives you can use today.
WhatsApp has achieved its widespread global popularity thanks to its multi-platform support, secure encryption, and wide array of communication features. But the app isn't for everyone, and you might be looking for a WhatsApp alternative that mimics many of the best aspects of the app. Here are seven of the best alternatives to WhatsApp.
Telegram is a popular messaging app that offers voice, video, and text chat along with a mix of security options. Voice calls are automatically encrypted end-to-end, for example, and the app offers a secret chat mode in which your texts are also end-to-end encrypted, plus have a self-destruct timer. Routine texts aren't as secure, though. It's also one of the few apps that lets you lock the app itself, so if someone gets physical access to your phone, they still can't read your messages in Telegram. It's free for iPhone, Android, and even runs in a browser.
If you're looking for the strongest security in a WhatsApp alternative, Signal is probably what you need. The app leans hard into privacy with complete end-to-end encryption for voice, video, and text conversations when you chat with other Signal users. And the company behind Signal is a US-based non-profit organization that has no profit incentive to sell your data. You can set messages to self-destruct as well. On the other hand, the app is missing a sense of fun you might be looking for; there are no stickers or built-in GIFs, for example. It's available for free for both iPhone and Android.
While most messaging apps are free, Threema is not — it costs $5 on both iPhone and Android (and you can use it in a web browser as well). In return, you get complete end-to-end encryption for voice, video, and text messages, as well as file exchanges. It's also one of the very few apps which does not require you to sign up or confirm your account using your phone number, making it highly anonymous. You might also appreciate some of the extra features, like the ability to create polls and surveys, as well as search for images using natural language.
Facebook Messenger is an incredibly popular messaging app thanks to its connection to Facebook, and it's available for free for both iPhone and Android (plus you can use it in a browser). It includes all the basics, such as voice, video, and text messaging, as well as stickers and GIFs, if you are interested in that sort of thing. If you're concerned about privacy and security, though, it's worth noting that while Facebook is rolling out end-to-end encryption to Messenger, that feature is coming slowly and may not be fully available until 2023.
Kik is a little more than just a messaging app; it has a social component that makes it easy to meet new people to chat with, if you're looking for more than just a way to stay in touch with friends and family. Sort of like TikTok, you can join live broadcasts and watch and chat with a large number of other users. And when it comes to getting friends and family online, you can let people scan a QR code found in your profile to get them into a chat instantly. It's free for iPhone and Android, though there are a fair number of ads to contend with. If you value your privacy though, you can sign up with an email address without revealing your phone number.
Part of Microsoft's office productivity suite, Skype has always had something of a business focus, so it might not spring to mind for casual users. It's a full-featured communication app, though, and suitable for both work and recreation. As you'd expect, it can easily do voice, video, and text chats, as well as exchange files. Thanks to a variety of plug-ins, you can record video and voice calls when using Skype on the desktop, though it's also available for iPhone and Android. Perhaps the best reason to use Skype is for its more advanced features, though, like the ability to get real-time language translation, and the fact that you can use Skype to make calls to landline phones (with low international rates).
Viber doesn't have the same name recognition as many other communication apps, but like Skype, it is a solid option if you want an app that can also place calls to mobile phones and landlines in addition to chatting with other app users. Free for iPhone and Android, it has voice, video, and text chat features, and it does this with end-to-end encryption for secure communication.
Dave Johnson is a technology journalist who writes about consumer tech and how the industry is transforming the speculative world of science fiction into modern-day real life. Dave grew up in New Jersey before entering the Air Force to operate satellites, teach space operations, and do space launch planning. He then spent eight years as a content lead on the Windows team at Microsoft. As a photographer, Dave has photographed wolves in their natural environment; he's also a scuba instructor and co-host of several podcasts. Dave is the author of more than two dozen books and has contributed to many sites and publications including CNET, Forbes, PC World, How To Geek, and Insider.
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