Our smartphones allow constant and instant communication with our family, friends and co-workers. however, the built-in options out of the box are not always the best.
New messaging applications have emerged to provide rich services that offer all kinds of interactions with others, from free text messages to voice and video calls, to sharing photos and files with the added benefit of encryption. We’ve tested a lot of different options, so here are some of the best messaging apps you’ll find on both Android and iOS.
If privacy is a concern, you may want to explore our picks for the best encrypted messaging apps. Do you want to chat directly from your desktop browser? check out the best chat clients for pc and mac.
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one of the most used messaging applications in the world, whatsapp is very easy to configure and is free. you can chat and share things like your location, photos, documents, and contacts. You can also make video and voice calls, and the app supports group voice and video calls of up to eight people. Setup requires you to grant access to your contacts, so the app can automatically populate your contact list. One of the things that’s so appealing about this app, aside from its sheer popularity, is the addition of end-to-end encryption for privacy and security, even though it’s owned by Meta (Facebook). It also supports gifs and snapchat-like editing features for fun. The latest new features include disappearing messages, which let you set your chats to disappear after seven days, and new custom wallpapers to brighten up your chats.
Meta (Facebook) has its own separate messaging app that makes it very convenient to chat with friends and family. It will automatically populate your contacts, but you can also add a contact or allow someone to add you as a contact by scanning a unique code. There are plenty of free stickers, and you can send GIFs, too. The video and voice calls are clear and very reliable. On Android, the Chat Heads feature allows you to keep a chat icon floating on top of your screen, which is very handy. You can also share files, share your location, and send money in some markets — or even start a secret conversation that is end-to-end encrypted. With the new Messenger Rooms feature, you can host up to 50 people, create a link to your chat, and share it with anyone, even if they’re not on Meta. You can also opt in to vanish mode, where your messages disappear after you exit the chat, or enjoy Watch together, which lets you watch TV shows, movies, and videos with your friends over video chat in real time.
With millions of active users, Telegram is the fastest messaging app out there. works on all devices on mobile and desktop platforms. You can store chat history in the cloud, share files with no size limit, and chats are protected with 256-bit symmetric AES encryption, 2048-bit RSA encryption, and Diffie-Hellman secure key exchange. There’s support for stickers and gifs, photo and video editing, and group chats for up to 200,000 people. telegram is also completely free and contains no ads. Funded by a donation, the app’s creators promise that it will remain free, never sell data, and is not intended to generate revenue. New features include animated stickers for photos or videos, a new media editor that makes it easy to improve video quality and add text and stickers, scheduled voice chats, and the option to set messages to automatically delete after 24 hours or less. seven days shipping. .
signal, from open whisper systems, is one of the most recommended apps when it comes to chat security and encryption, and has become a popular alternative to whatsapp if you are concerned about privacy. this app has military grade encryption for all your messages and voice calls. supports text messages, voice calls, group messages and sending multimedia attachments. Edward Snowden recommended this app, making it one of the best options for people looking for security first and foremost. Latest updates include the ability to blur features in an image editor, dark mode, new sticker packs, the option to react to any message with emoji, a new 8-hour silent setting to silence notifications while you sleep, and wallpapers. chat screen.
skype is another popular application that allows you to text and call people from anywhere in the world. you can use the app on your phone and desktop for easy access. The app allows you to share screens, join free video calls, record conversations, and share files, which can be useful for both personal and professional use. To enhance your experience, the video call feature also offers noise suppression, custom reactions, and a group mode where you can see all participants at once.
discord was first launched in 2015 as a chat app to keep gamers connected while playing together. today almost 300 million users worldwide use the free app for a variety of different chat purposes. in fact, the company registers at least 14 million active users every day. discord allows the option of private group chats, with up to 10 friends in the space at the same time. If players are concerned that typing chats might interfere with their gameplay, they can use Discord’s voice chat feature to communicate hands-free. Today, clubs and communities use Discord to keep in touch and facilitate meetings. It’s also a great way to meet people online because many digital communities form discord groups to keep people connected. we want to point out that discord does not use end-to-end encryption for its messages. if total privacy is a priority, use an alternative app to keep your messages safe.
Snapchat was an instant must-have for younger generations from its first launch, despite it later being popularized and capitalized on by celebrities. While this app’s ratings don’t quite reach as high as Instagram’s, it still does its intended job excellently. Users can communicate with friends and family through short videos, brief photos, or text messages that eventually disappear. These media messages are fleeting; they’re typically on one’s screen for a few seconds before they’re automatically deleted. You and your friend can continue to send “snaps” back and forth, and the messages will generally disappear every time. The app comes with several fun filters and photo editing software, and it’s Bitmoji compatible. Snapchat supports larger-scale group chats with all your friends. The company has undoubtedly made a strong home in the corner of the bite-sized communications market. The latest features include the ability to save photo and video Snaps, and the option to create, send, and view Snaps while on a Snapchat call.
tresma is a totally anonymous application that uses the naci cryptography library to protect your messages. Every time you open the app, a unique identification key is generated, so you can send messages anonymously or choose to associate your messages with a phone number or email address. threema offers end-to-end encryption for text, voice, video, and photo messages, and can share files up to 50mb. there’s group messaging, a handy polling system that lets you quickly gauge the opinion of family and friends, and a desktop version, so you can keep chatting while you’re at work. there are also personal qr codes that you can scan to quickly verify contacts.
wickr me is a secure messaging app that allows you to send private text, picture, voice, and video messages, with end-to-end encryption. messages self-destruct, with a configurable timer and shredding feature that securely deletes attachments, photos, and other data. you can start one-on-one conversations or join group chats of up to 10 participants, and you don’t need an email address or phone number to sign up for the app. wickr me takes security very seriously, with device-to-device encryption that is nearly impossible to crack. Latest features include the ability to pin your favorite chats and groups to the top of your conversations list, for easy access.
The most popular text messaging app used in South Korea is also available in the U.S. Known for its fast and reliable messaging no matter what network you’re connected to, KakaoTalk has become the go-to for many. A standout feature is the integration of e-commerce in the app. KakaoTalk gives users exclusive coupons and deals from popular brands to share with their friends and family. The app has gotten so popular for transactions that it now offers branded credit cards that users can use with their virtual currency. Bonus features include being able to create your own calendar and schedule appointments and reminders for lunches, work meetings, or gatherings. The app recently added group video chat to its features, so you can get together with your friends.
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Line is a very popular app, especially in Asia, and it boasts more than 600 million users. As well as all the standard features of a messaging app, there is a timeline similar to Meta (Facebook), where you can post and your friends can comment on your posts. Calls to landlines and free Line to Line video or voice calls are available. There’s also a very healthy store of stickers packed with Line characters that are famous in Asia. Group chat allows for chats of up to 500 participants, and there’s support for encrypted chats. You can also follow artists and brands on Line. It even allows you to set up albums and share them with friends or watch YouTube videos together while in a call.
kik is the messaging app of youth. Unlike many apps that require you to link to a phone number, Kik only requires a username to start texting. Adding your friends and loved ones is as easy as scanning their unique Kik QR code with your phone’s camera. the interface is fun and easy to use, you can even play inside your chat rooms! With nearly 70% of the user population between the ages of 13-24, Kik is a great way for teens and young adults to interact and make new friends.
With more than 1 billion users worldwide, this popular app will automatically add your contacts. It allows you to send text messages, stickers, and emoji, make video and voice calls, and share your favorite photos. Color-coded encrypted messaging is also available, along with group chats, and self-destructing chats. Viber Out is a feature that allows you to make international and domestic calls at low rates. Viber-to-Viber calls are always free. The most recent additions are a dark mode, a short-story feature called Shorts, and a create-your-own-GIF feature, which lets you turn a video from any chat into a GIF — plus the addition of Viber Communities, where you can create your own community on a shared topic or passion, and invite others. You can also now enjoy group chats with up to 250 people, and group video calls with up to 40 participants.
wechat is the most popular app in china with more than one billion users. It offers the usual features of the messaging application, such as sharing photos or video calls and voice calls. But with WeChat, you also get features like location sharing to help you find friends who are nearby, and you can share moments or snapshots of your day. now you can group chat with up to 500 people and enjoy group video calls with up to nine participants. This app also supports payments, games and much more. It is also available for Wear OS and Apple Watch. the latest additions include a dark mode and the option to quote a previous message when replying or sending a new message.
dust bills itself as “the world’s most secure messenger”, so if privacy is a concern, it might be worth downloading. the app is free and all messages are deleted after 24 hours. you can unsend a message at any time by deleting it from the recipient’s phone in real time (great for those “oops” moments) and the app will notify you if someone takes a screenshot of your messages. once messages are dusted, they can never be recovered, giving you full control over your privacy. this is one of the most secure messaging apps out there. newer features include bursts, where you can share your images and thoughts with your followers; they expire after 24 hours, just like messages.
As the name implies, it’s no surprise that groupme focuses on facilitating group chats or direct messages with others. it is essentially a text messaging app that also helps users send other forms of media or entertainment such as photos and voice memos. groupme allows users to create group chats with up to 500 people, though we don’t recommend groups of that size unless you want a flood of notifications. you can add contacts by email address or phone number. One of the great features of this app is that you can communicate with contacts in the US. uu., even if they don’t use the app. exchange images, gifs, videos and use the custom emojis of groupme with your friends. Microsoft owns the application, but they have not yet developed end-to-end encryption for this service. While the Microsoft name may make you feel safe, to ensure your privacy, you may want to consider a different chat option. The latest updates to the app include the ability to send your videos as gifs, delete messages, and report message concerns with just one tap.
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