WhatsApp has become ubiquitous with mobile messaging, but it̵
When it comes to WhatsApp alternatives, Signal is at the forefront. Its popularity is largely due to the company’s stance on user privacy. Signal is an end-to-end encrypted app, just like WhatsApp. The messaging service promises that all of your data is encrypted and cannot be viewed by Signal or third parties. It is a relatively small company, run by a non-profit organization and living on donations.
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What sets Signal apart, however, is the fact that the app is open source. All of his code is available online and is up for debate. This means that if there is a privacy issue in Signal, it can be checked by security experts. In fact, WhatsApp’s internal encryption system is built using Signal’s code.
When it comes to user experience, Signal is a lot like WhatsApp and it won’t be a big hurdle to switch from WhatsApp to Signal. They both have a similar interface for sending messages, creating groups, making voice and video calls for groups (up to eight participants), sending stickers, and more.
Signal is available on iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows, Mac and Linux. The app is free to use and all you need to sign up is your phone number.
Telegram has long been touted as the best alternative to WhatsApp for its stance on privacy and its range of features.
The messaging service allows you to create groups with up to 200,000 users and share files up to 2 GB for free. There are public channels and self-destructing messages (as opposed to WhatsApp’s disappearing messages).
Telegram’s list of unique features is quite long. For example Telegram Bots. This feature allows you to integrate various services and automation directly into Telegram using chatbots.
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The app has end-to-end encrypted chats, but the default chats are also stored on Telegram’s servers. If you want real chat, encrypted from device to device, you can use the Secret Mode feature. Once enabled, messages are only stored on your phone. If one person deletes a message, it will be deleted from both devices.
Telegram is free to use and available on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Android, Mac, Windows and Linux. While Telegram doesn’t have a web version like WhatsApp, it has support for great third-party desktop clients (something that is very lacking in WhatsApp).
Discord started as a game chat platform, but has evolved into something much more. It is now being touted as an alternative to both Slack and WhatsApp depending on your needs.
Discord is a server-based messaging app, but it also has a private messaging feature that is very similar to WhatsApp. From the “Friends” tab you can add friends with their username or gamertags. You can then use Discord for private messages, group chats, group conversations, media sharing, and more. You can also create a group chat with up to 10 friends. If you need more, you can always start your own Discord server.
Discord is free, feature-rich, and private. Unlike Signal and Telegram, you don’t have to share your phone number or even your real name to use Discord on iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, Windows and Linux.
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If you want to increase the security key to 11, check out Keybase. Keybase started out as a key directory for personal and public identification keys, but it also has an end-to-end encrypted message component.
The messaging feature can be used for private messages, groups and teams. Keybase is an open-source app and uses public-key cryptography to protect messages. Messages, media and file transfers are so secure that even Keybase cannot read your messages.
Since Keybase is built on the basis of public key identifiers, you can also use the app anonymously. Keybase is available for free on iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows, Linux and Mac.
Threema really takes security seriously and isn’t afraid to charge for it. You pay a one-time fee when buying the app ($ 2.99), and in return, you get end-to-end encryption for all data passing through the messaging service. This includes messages, video calls, files and even status updates.
The company lets you chat anonymously and there is no need to associate a phone number or email address with your account (they are optional). The service generates a random Threema ID when you first use the app, which other users can use to communicate with you.
Threema does not collect user data and does not display advertisements. It is a Swiss app with servers hosted in Switzerland.
The app doesn’t skimp on features, either. You get your usual text messages, voice calls, video calls, file sharing, groups, lists and access to a desktop web client. Threema is available for iPhone, iPad, Android and the web.
Not ready to jump ship from WhatsApp? Here’s how to keep your WhatsApp account and data secure.
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