WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app on the planet.
The company releases new features regularly to ensure that it remains at the top. However, not everyone seems to be happy with WhatsApp.
The best WhatsApp alternatives are the perfect way to finally give Facebook’s messaging service the boot for good. They’re especially important if you’re one of the people that got angry about the prospect of WhatsApp handing over more of your data to its parent company.
Here are the 27 best WhatsApp alternatives you can use in 2021, These are the best encrypted messaging apps you can download now.
Viber is another popular messaging and VoIP app that really stands toe-to-toe with WhatsApp when it comes to features.
Firstly, the app offers end-to-end encryption in calls, messages and the shared media.
Moreover, the messages saved in multiple devices are also encrypted, which brings us to the fact that the messaging apps packs in multi-device support, which WhatsApp lacks.
Like WhatsApp, Viber lets you make video and voice calls but the app goes one step ahead with its Viber Out feature, which lets you make international calls to non-Viber users at nominal rates.
Talking about the messaging features, Viber includes support for stickers, file sharing, last seen, voice & video messages, public accounts, backup to Google Drive and more.
There is also a sticker store and Viber games, which are basically games you can play inside Viber. If you consider everything, you’d notice that Viber is an app that is very similar to WhatsApp. It packs in most of the features from WhatsApp and then some more.
2. Google Messages
Download Google Messages: Android
Google Messages is Google’s answer to iMessage, and it’s usually available on modern Android phones right out of the box.
If you can’t find it, you can download Google Messages from Google Play.
Designed to replace your existing SMS app and integrated with all Google’s services, Google Messages is essentially iMessage, but for Android (and Windows, but not Macs or iOS).
End-to-end encryption is automatic when you’re messaging anyone else with Google Messages and you can send all your usual images and files as you would with something like WhatsApp.
What Messages doesn’t have is video and voice calling, since that’s all handled by Google Duo.
That’s right: Just as iMessage and FaceTime are still separate for some reason, so are Messages and Duo, although the latter isn’t restricted to Android devices.
The good news is that Duo is likely already installed on your Android phone, and if it’s not it’s free to download from Google Play. iPhone users can get Duo from the Apple App Store.
Wechat was initially launched as an instant messaging app by Tencent in January 2011. According to the 2019 annual WeChat report, by September 2019, its monthly active users amounted to more than 1.1 billion – the population of China is around 1.4 billion.
As an instant messaging app, the basic function of WeChat allows its users to send words, emojis, pics one-on-one with contacts. They can also do audio calls and video calls.
Users can also form a WeChat group with as many as 500 people and hold group WeChat calls with as many as nine people.
If they are really bored, users can use WeChat to find strangers. Tap “People Nearby” or shake your phone to add new friends and meet new people.
If you go to a restaurant in China, use your WeChat app to scan the QR code on the table to order and pay for your food and drinks. Besides restaurants, people also use WeChat for a lot of daily payments.
WeChat and Chinese online retail giant JD signed a cooperation deal in 2014, and users can shop on JD without leaving WeChat. JD founder Richard Liu Qiangdong said in an interview in 2018 that a quarter of JD’s new customers comes from WeChat.
Fortknoxster is a private and secure communication solution that comes with military-grade encryption.
Founded by cyber-security experts, Fortknoxster lets you chat, send messages, make voice or video calls, store data, and more.
Fortknoxster takes privacy and data safety seriously while making it easy to use and ads-free.
It supports VoIP and video calling, as well as end-to-end encryption for messages.
Every user receives a unique ID; this ID is used instead of a phone number, helping protect your anonymity.
Riot works on open-source software.
While it has its own bots, developers are welcome to create their own. This lets users interact with the software, making it more versatile and secure. Its open source features make Riot more suited for developer teams than corporate groups.
Riot has conversation rooms and users can visit any public chat room. It also offers private rooms you can visit with a link.
In addition, the desktop client has a clean and friendly interface and the app is available in seven languages.
It also lets you connect to other applications.
Signal can do pretty much everything that WhatsApp can.
It uses your phone’s data connection to send end-to-end encrypted messages – or voice notes, images or videos – to individuals and groups.
As with WhatsApp, Signal also lets you make one-to-one voice and video calls.
The app’s end-to-end encryption means any message sent is turned into indecipherable code until it reaches the receiver’s phone – removing the chance for a third-party to intercept it on the way.
The encrypted messenger has also been frequently favoured by the NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
Because Signal’s underlying code is open-source, it has been scrutinised by security and privacy experts.
It has largely become the web’s main encryption standard and its tech is also used by Facebook and Google within their messaging apps.
In February 2018, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton – who left Facebook in September 2017 – announced Signal would be expanded to have its own Foundation, a nonprofit with the aim of making private communication accessible to everyone.
Signal is our recommended encrypted messenger of choice, but it you’re after a few more options.
Keybase is a relatively new open-source chatting application for computers and mobile phones and it is powered by public-key encryption.
It is free and boasts a clean modern User Interface on all GUI-supported devices.
It also boasts the ability to initiate conversations with people across the globe without using a phone number or email address, use Tor’s anonymity feature in the Command Line, use # tags and @ mentions, create groups, among others.
Features in Keybase:
- An eye candy GUI with well-organized panels, tabs, animations, and settings.
- Conversations with people across the world without knowing their phone number or email address.
- Chat in groups and use # tags and @ mentions to make communication and searching easier.
- Browse people’s profiles.
- End-to-end encrypted conversations.
- Free to download and use without ads.
- Available on multiple platforms including Chrome/Firefox, GNU/Linux, macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS.
- Open-source – with code available for contribution on GitHub.
- Supports Tor in the command line – Users can protect their identity thanks to Tor’s famous anonymity algorithm.
- Supports native notifications including @channel and @mentions popup.
- Chat securely with any Facebook, Twitter, GitHub, Reddit, and Hacker News user.
- Automatically syncs data across connected devices.
- Supports media attachments.
Skype is known as one of the simplest ways to communicate with your business partners or with people outside your office. For companies, it is also an excellent way to hold meetings as well as conduct interviews.
You can easily understand the popularity of Skype with the recently held research, according to which, people across the globe spend more than 50 billion minutes per month in communicating with each other on Skype.
But do you know that Microsoft has just introduced a new Skype tool, which is strictly designed for businesses? It is known as ‘Skype For Business’. Earlier, it was called as Lync, but in 2015, Microsoft changed its name to Skype For Business.
Although it is not free for its consumers but is sure to fit into your business model because of its robust features. You get an easy access to online meetings, video calls, voice calls and IM with much-enhanced security and call authentication.
I have figured out some of its important features:
- PowerPoint Presentations
- Manage Meetings
- Customize Participant Views
- Recording Feature
Platform: Android, Mac OS, Windows, Linux, FreeBSD
Tox is a free and secure software that allows you to connect with your team, friends, or family.
Its features include instant messaging, voice and video communication, screen sharing, file sharing, and group chats.
Free to use, encrypted, and with zero advertising, Tox is a secure solution for online communication.
IM+ is an all-in-one app for messaging in social media accounts. You can collect all your chat history from Facebook, Instagram, Skype, Pinterest, Telegram and Twitter on Instant Messenger.
It can save you a lot of time and the most important, a lot of space on your iPhone. Now it’s available only for iOS.
Like Wire, Wickr is an app that’s slightly more aimed at businesses than individual users.
It provides workspaces where people can chat securely. Primarily it’s a free service called Wickr Me, but there are also paid-for versions that help support the free version.
Much like Slack, there are limits to what you can do with a free account and more people can be included on voice calls when you’re paying for membership.
However unlike Slack, everything on Wickr is end-to-end encrypted, including screen sharing, and it also has multi-factor authentication available to protect people’s logins.
You can set messages to auto-delete after a set period of time. Unlike other products, you don’t need a phone number or email address to register.
One of the main problems with online messaging apps like WhatsApp is that they rely on an internet connection to work.
And if you are out camping in the woods even the normal text messaging apps will not work. That’s where offline messaging apps come into play. These apps don’t require a mobile network or internet connection to work.
Rather, they create a peer-to-peer Bluetooth mesh network or Wifi Direct-based network on your phone and allow you to send messages to your nearby friends.
If you are looking for such an app then you should use Bridgefy. Bridgefy offers three main types of messaging service; Person-to-Person mode, Broadcast mode, and Mesh mode.
You can send messages to a friend, broadcast them to entire group, and even use users as nodes to send messages to long distances.
It is quite helpful during music festivals, sports events, natural disasters, and other such situations where you won’t be getting reliable mobile service.
In fact, Bridgefy and other such apps have become a bastion for protesters around the world as it allows them to evade internet censorship imposed by their governments.
The app is free to download and use, and the best offline WhatsApp alternative in my opinion. You should check it out.
Riot is a universal secure chat application designed to enhance communication and collaboration.
With Riot, you can organize rooms around any topic you like, share files, chat, add widgets, and make video calls or organize conferences.
As an open-source application, built on Matrix, you can take control over your own data by hosting it on your own server.
HighSide is an ultra-secure team collaboration software and communication solution.
Compared to the most popular tools used nowadays, HighSide comes with a lot more security features like end-to-end encryption, geolocation-based access controls, and protection against phishing & spoofing attacks.
With HighSide, you can easily communicate with your team and increase productivity while ensuring that your data is as secure as it can be.
Platforms: iOS | Android
Kik is a great messaging app for users who don’t want to use their number to operate a messaging application.
While chat services like WhatsApp require users to use their number, I know many users who are not comfortable with sharing their personal numbers to these platforms.
For those users, Kik is a great service as it only requires you to use your email ID.
Once you sign up for the service using your email ID, Kik will create a unique user name for you which you can share with other Kik users to chat.
The best part about using Kik is that you are not losing out any messaging features.
You still get access to all the important features including text messages, emojis, stickers, Gifs, photo sharing, video sharing, and group chats among other things.
Another unique feature of Kik is that it supports bots which is something that you do not get on WhatsApp. Using bots you can play quizzes, get fashion tips, latest news, and more.
That said, the main USP of Kik remains its non-requirement of a phone number and if that’s something you want, definitely check it out.
If you’re an iPhone or Mac user, then the simplest option is sometimes the best, and iMessage is the ideal alternative to WhatsApp.
Not only can you send messaging to all phone numbers, whether they use iMessage or not, but Apple has a proven track record of not bending to demands by governments that it add backdoors to its encryption.
So your messages stay safe (unless someone can read your iCloud backups).
iMessage is just as fully-featured as other popular messaging apps, with support for images, GIFs, video and group calls.
In some countries iMessage users can even send each other money using Apple Pay.
Video and voice calling is not included in iMessage, and you’ll have to do that in the FaceTime app instead — and FaceTime works only with Apple devices. Why iMessage and FaceTime haven’t been blended into one single communications app isn’t clear, but that’s the way it is.
At least it’s already installed on all iPhones and most Macs.
Protected by European data retention laws, Wire is a secure messaging app with end-to-end encryption.
It offers free personal accounts and paid business plans with additional support and features. Wire boasts clear voice and video communications.
Wire offers 1:1 and group screen sharing. It also supports multimedia file sharing and audio filtering. Available for all major platforms, you can log in your account from eight synced devices.
You can format text with bold and italics, and create lists within chats.
You’ll also be able to optimize file sizes for easy sharing, and set timers to delete messages for added privacy.
Threema is a “seriously secure” messaging app, which should interest you if you are concerned about your security on WhatsApp.
The app encrypts all the data, including messages, shared files, and even status updates. While it lacks WhatsApp features like voice & video calling, its security features are certainly impressive.
Along with end-to-end encryption in the app, the app also does not collect metadata and offers various encrypted backup options.
It packs in the usual messaging features, along with a web client that works similar to WhatsApp Web but includes a few unique touches like the ability to create a poll in groups, password or fingerprint-protect chats, anonymous chatting (no number required), and the ability to agree/disagree to a message.
Threema is a paid app but if security is important to you and you want a simple messaging app, it is worth the money.
Telegram is one of the most popular messaging apps outside of China – and since it was launched in August 2013 has grown to have more than 500 million people using it.
Created by entrepreneur Pavel Durov, Telegram has been popular in countries such as Iran and Russia where governments have attempted to ban it several times.
However, WhatsApp’s policy changes saw Telegram benefit at the start of 2021 with Durov saying 25 million new people signed up for it in just 72 hours.
Telegram is an encrypted messaging app but it is not end-to-end encrypted by default – this has led to security experts warning against using it if you want the most private experience possible.
Telegram isn’t end-to-end encrypted as it works differently than some other messaging apps. There are a few different options including its “one-to-many” broadcast channels – these can be public or private and involve administrators sending out messages to everyone who subscribes to the channel.
There are also groups, which can have a maximum of 200,000 members and individual chats. End-to-end encryption can be turned on for one-to-one secret chats.
Voxer Walkie Talkie is a free app that combines the best of Live Voice, text, photos, and videos into a powerful secure messaging tool. Voxer is the only walkie talkie messenger with end-to-end encryption.
Features of Voxer:
- Live Audio – Instantly communicate with live voice, just like a walkie-talkie or push-to-talk (PTT) device.
- Listen Later – Not available to chat live? All messages are saved for later playback, saving or sharing.
- Private Chats – Send end-to-end encrypted messages – only you and the other party on the chat can read or hear messages. No one else.
- Photos, Videos and GIFs – Send text, photos, videos, and gifs. Share location and Dropbox files.
- Free – Voxer is free to download and use.
- Group Chats – Create chats with up to 500 individuals or team contacts.
- Pick Your Device – Get messages on your Android devices and other smartphones. Voxer syncs seamlessly across all your devices.
- Voxer for Web – Listen and respond to Voxer messages from your computer’s browser at web.voxer.com.
- Use Any Data Network – Talk over any 3G, 4G, or WiFi network in the world.
- Audio Quality Enjoy crystal-clear audio quality.
Pros: Flexible features let people communicate by text, image, or voice.
Cons: Some features — such as sharing your contacts and enabling your device’s microphone — may feel intrusive.
Bottom Line: A cool tool for teachers to collaborate with each other (but maybe not with their students).
Discord is a handy text and voice chat for gamers. It is secured, and it works for both a smartphone and a desktop. Moreover, Discord is a community for gamers built around playing games.
Their free voice and text messenger will help you to connect with people with similar interests.
We’ve also compiled a list of the best Discord alternatives.
Line is a social media app that was founded in South Korea, but especially popular in Japan.
It launched June 2011 in response to the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan three months earlier. The app was created to provide people with a reliable line of communication during disasters, but it soon became an everyday messaging tool.
Line is now considered a “super app.” Much like China’s WeChat and South Korea’s KakaoTalk, the platform grew from a chat app into a hub for entertainment, social and day-to-day activities.
Imagine YouTube, Spotify, WhatsApp, Instagram, Reddit, Clubhouse and Uber combined… and then some.
As media studies professor Marc Steinberg put it in a recent article: Line is “a Swiss-army-style app that pretty much does everything.”
Features of Line:
- Voice and video calls
- Sharing and creating stickers
- OpenChat forums and threads
- Making payments or sending money with Line Pay
- Ordering food delivery with Line Man
- Receiving predictions from Line fortune tellers
- Discovering and reading Manga
- Consulting with healthcare professionals
- Sending presents to friends with Line Gift
- Investing in stocks or cryptocurrency
- Streaming music, live concerts, sports and more
- Watching and talking with streamers on Line Live
Slack is a great, handy tool for work teams. It allows you to create chats with many users, share different types of media, and collect all the files for a project in one place.
It will enable you to send not only text messages, but also make voice and video calls.
It’s free for small teams, but if you are going to use it actively for bigger groups, consider getting their business plan.
If you’re looking for a communication tool with a few productivity features, you can also check our list of the best Slack alternatives.
KaKao Talk also uses your phone number and verification code when you register. You can use free chats with messages, calls, and videos with as many users as you want.
It allows you to send up to 100MB of files in your PC, including documents, videos, and images. Besides, you can even go live using your KaKao Talk app.
25. Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts can be a perfect Whatsapp replacement.
You can connect and chat with all your friends who have a Gmail account.
It is a separate app for sending messages on a smartphone, or you can use it inside Gmail.
However, you can’t use it to chat with friends who do not have a Gmail account. With this app, you can create group chats, send files, and search the text messages.
Platform: iOS | Android
Kontalk is an open-source, free chatting app for Android, web, and desktop. You can keep all the files entirely on your super-secure server. You will be the only person in charge of all the chats you have with your friends and family.
Encrypted everywhere. Both client-to-server and server-to-server channels are fully encrypted. Users can be safe with end-to-end encryption — servers can’t decrypt it.
Run by the community for the community. Kontalk is run by a community of volunteers offering servers and splitting costs among them.
Every bit of the software used in the Kontalk network, both server and client, is completely open source. Hosted by Github.
While Snapchat technically is not just a messaging app rather a social media app, I use it more and more as a messaging application thanks to some unique features that no other messaging application can offer.
For example, I can send messages which can self-destruct after a set period of time.
It also notifies me when someone takes a screenshot of my chats with them. Finally, it offers the best face mask collection of all the apps that I have ever used which makes this app fun to use.
Other messaging features are also here such as the ability to create group chats, voice calls, group voice calls, gifs, and more.
I also love Snapchat because it is one of the most innovative chat services on the market. The features that users on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger normally enjoy are generally copied from Snapchat.
So, if you want to access these cool features and be the first to receive the latest chat features, Snpachat is the app to use.
That’s pretty much it! So, there are Best WhatsApp Alternatives You Can Use. Best Chat Apps for 2021
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