Ever since smart phones have popped up on the scene and completely changed our lives both for the better and in some aspects for the worse, they have, slowly but surely, rendered traditional text messaging an afterthought. But what caused this once-beloved form of instant communication to regress into a seldom-used has-been? The answer easy: better, cheaper, more versatile, and more entertaining alternatives of instant communication capable up spicing up your conversations with an ever-expanding assortment of fun and handy features. Over the past decade or so, dozens of messaging apps were developed. Some of them went straight down the drain, and some of them have become instant classics, and are certainly here for the long haul. To help you find the crème de la crème of iPhone messaging apps, we have put together a compilation trotting out the very best of the genre.
It seems like Wazzzuuupp WhatsApp Messenger has been around forever, which is evidenced by a nugget in its App Store description emphasizing that it works over 2G. No offense to second-generation cellular telecom networks, but in the age of 4G, that kind of feels like looking at dinosaur fossils. Concerning what WhatsApp Messenger brings to the table, it’s a combination of various forms of free-of-charge online communication: text messaging, phone calls, and of course video calls. Via WhatsApp, you can send all sorts of multimedia to your friends and family, such as photos, videos, and voice messages. WhatsApp chats are completely customizable, as you can set custom notification sounds (and custom wallpapers) in case your goal is to drive everyone around you crazy with your phone’s non-stop cacophonic notifications concert – or if you’d like to make an audible distinction between that special person in your life and everyone else. Unlike Facebook Messenger, in which your default contact list is made up of your Facebook friends, WhatsApp integrates with your iPhone’s existing contact list, and works seamlessly with your phone number – without any additional fees let alone international charges.
allows users to connect with others using just a mobile number no matter which platform they are on
Used by millions, WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps available. Like most apps on this list, WhatsApp is available on all major platforms including Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry which means that no matter what device peers are using, they will be able to download the app and chat across various platforms. This is one of the most distinguishing features of WhatsApp that make it better than competing messaging apps which allows users to connect with others using just a mobile number no matter which platform they are on.
With over a billion users worldwide, Facebook has a massive user base who are automatically made to be members of the Facebook Messenger service. As a large population of people are already existing Facebook users, it’s ability to connect those around the world for free make it one of the best free messaging apps available for both iOS and Android. The app is made highly easy to use with the ability to chat and share different files with family and friends in nearly any language. Whether for one-on-one conversation or group chats, Facebook Messenger is a must have for those seeking an alternative to paid messaging services. The app giant has also begun to offer different services that make it even more powerful with features that include voice chat and video calling, bringing a new dimension to messaging apps.
Despite being bombarded with harsh criticism basically on all possible platforms, Facebook Messenger’s popularity is still soaring high up in the sky.
Despite being bombarded with harsh criticism basically on all possible platforms, Facebook Messenger’s popularity is still soaring high up in the sky. Meeting the requirements of modern messaging apps, Facebook Messenger is so much more than a medium for text-based online communication, as it allows you to make free phone calls (free as in free over Wi-Fi, otherwise it eats into your mobile data plan) and video chat with your friends living in faraway lands. You can also record voice messages, shoot photos and videos without the hassle of having to quit the app, send photos and videos from your camera roll, share your location, create group chats, find out if and when your friends have seen your messages, and get in contact with anyone that’s in your phonebook even if the person in question is not on Facebook or, for some inexplicable reason, they are not on your friends list. Facebook Messengers comes equipped with dozens of free sticker packs (including animated sticker packs) made up of some of the cutest characters around, and in-app GIF-sending add-ons (as well as an integrated GIF-sending feature) are also at your disposal.
For those who use Gmail or Google Plus’s built-in chat service to communicate with their family and friends, Google Hangouts has proven to be an extremely useful tool. The Google Hangouts app is available for Android and iOS as well as on the web through Gmail, making it accessible to almost everyone regardless of device. Users can send text based messages or share pictures with the app, making it an all-in-one tool for a variety of purposes. One of the biggest differentiators of this app is that users can seamlessly chat and share content with others who are using different devices, although other services such as Facebook have similarly adopted this feature. With a wide range of services such as voice calls for individuals and groups, Google’s Hangouts is a must have for Gmail users.
While Blackberry is not as popular as it use to be, for those who were Blackberry uses before the iPhone or have many friends and colleagues who use BBM, this app provides perfect cross platform functionality. It not only enables users to have conversations with Blackberry users but also allows users to connect with Android users on a highly secure network which Blackberry is recognized for. Features include BBM profiles, delivered and read reports, image sharing, file sharing, privacy features, and much more. With regular updates, Blackberry aims to add a “fresh new look and feel” to attract and retain users. Being more of a professional chatting tool as opposed to a person one such as Facebook, the app offers secure messaging which makes it perfect for confidential and business use.
Brought to you by none other than BlackBerry Limited – perhaps as an appetizer to their soon-to-be-launched smartphone – BBM merges the most noteworthy features of several messaging apps into one superior messaging app to rule them all. We may have gone a little overboard with the latter statement, but still, BBM has everything you desire from a messaging app – and much, much more! Besides the absolute necessities such as free voice calls, file sharing, voice messages, and location sharing, BBM comes equipped with several extras that, even though we have come across them in other messaging apps, would not at all deem as dime-a-dozen. These not-so-commonplace features include “Retract”, with which you can delete photos or messages even after they’ve already been sent, though be aware that once your chat partner has seen or read what you’ve sent (indicated by a capital “R”), there’s no way on Earth to take anything back, unless you can get ahold of a neuralyzer that the Men in Black are so eager to use to erase the memories of the unwanted witnesses of extraterrestrial activity.
BBM merges the most noteworthy features of several messaging apps into one superior messaging app
BBM also packs a “Timer” function, giving you the ability to determine the amount of time for which a message or photo remains visible, and you can do the same with your location in case you’re playing tag or hide and seek. BBM’s indispensable security measures show themselves in the form of a private chat, a special chat mode that disappears like a ninja assassin once you’re done with the conversation, and a unique BBM PIN with which you can take full control over your contact list to determine who is allowed to send you messages or call you. It is only natural that BBM has an extensive collection of stickers and emoticons and a complex group chat feature allowing up to 50 members. To put the ever-important finishing touch on their app, BlackBerry’s developers came up with BBM Channels, a feature reminiscent of social media platforms, as it has so-called channels you can subscribe to, a feed made up of posts from said channels, commenting, and you can even create your own channel to share your thoughts with the BBM Channels universe.
Ever send a message you wish you could take back? Now with BBM, what you share is always yours to control – even once it’s left your phone. Download the latest version of BBM for Android, iPhone and BlackBerry 10 smartphones for great new features like Timed Messages and Message Retraction to take control of what you share.
Taking the world by storm, Snapchat is a messaging tool which introduces new dynamics to chatting between peers in ways that have not been seen in the past. It’s different from Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp in that its messages are temporary, expiring after they’ve been viewed. While more for leisurely messaging than a communication tool, it provides a unique twist to traditional texting and photo sharing services. With features such as stories where users can share moments of their day to friends for 24 hours, the highly utilized filters, and temporary video messages, Snapchat has strongly resonated with the younger audience who find it to be a fun alternative to purely text-based conversations.
Despite being a highly crowded space, mobile messaging apps have proven to be perfect substitutions to paid services offered by phone carriers. Whether used for sending messages, pictures, videos, or other files, our list of messaging apps provides a comprehensive list for a wide range of uses for every situation.
After a pair of known-all-over-the-globe superstars, let us put the spotlight on an undeservedly lesser-known messaging app that is sure to deliver the highest levels of data security, and last not least complete anonymity. The strongest feat of Threema is all-around encryption, safeguarding your priceless data and personal information at a hundred percent success rate from the snooping of intrusive outside threats such as corporations, hackers, and governments. Threema offers end-to-end encryption for all aspects of your online communications, guaranteeing that no one unauthorized will see your messages, shared media files, group chats, and status messages. To build an impenetrable wall for your messaging activity, Threema employs NaCl, an immensely reliable cryptography library that prevents backdoor access. Moreover, Threema generates and stores the least possible amount of data on its servers, as your messages are instantly deleted the moment they are delivered and local files are tucked away on your iPhone, preventing access to and the collection of your personal information and meta data.
Threema offers end-to-end encryption for all aspects of your online communications
But that’s not all, because Threema is, after all, a messaging app, and accordingly packs plenty of corresponding features: text messaging, voice messaging, multimedia and location sharing, file sending (covers all formats from GIF to pdf), group chats, polls, quick replies with the agree/disagree buttons, and contacts synchronization.
7Google Allo – Smart Messaging
To nobody’s surprise, Google also has horses in the messaging app race, one of them being Google Allo, a trendsetting pioneer of smart messaging. The essence of Google Allo’s AI-like smartness lies in a feature called Smart Reply, which, over time, learns your style, and suggests responses according to its ever-expanding knowledge of your potential reactions to text messages and even photos. We’d go on a fear-fueled tirade about the imminent threat of a robot apocalypse catalyzed by the takeover of evil AIs, but you already know the drill, so we’ll just carry on detailing Google Allo’s miscellaneous features. Since no messaging app qualifies for the seal of approval without the right amount of stickers, Google Allo adds flavor to your conversations with a multifarious selection of stickers courtesy of independent artists and design studios. To make your and your friends’ live a whole lot easier, Allo courteously introduces you to your very own tireless Google Assistant, with which you can find nearby venues, get answers to all your questions, or, say, share videos – all without having to quit the conversation you’re so immersed in! Based on these crumbs of information, Google Assistant is nothing more but a repackaged, glorified Google integrated into Allo’s messaging interface, but it’s certainly a convenient and useful novelty. To top it all off, you can change between ALL CAPS and lowercase with a single swipe, and easily switch to incognito mode to unleash end-to-end encryption.
8Signal – Private Messenger
In this day and age, when greedy corporations are constantly after your meta data to make substantial amounts of cash off of it, and cunningly villainous hackers do everything in their powers to steal, for instance, money from your bank account, online privacy and data security are priority number 1A and 1B. Due to the latter fact, it is imperative that you have multiple private messaging apps at your disposal. Signal- Private Messenger, very much like Threema, uses the most advanced end-to-end encryption techniques known to mankind to keep your data and messages out of harm’s way – meaning out of the hands of hackers, the aforementioned corporations, and the unwelcome surveillance of vigilant government agencies. Signal’s servers do not have even an iota of access to your messages, and do not, under any circumstances, store any of your data. With Signal, you can chat one-on-one or create chaotic group chat bonanzas with your friends, family, or colleagues, and make phone calls to the most remote nooks of the planet without having to worry about the usual long-distance charges. Signal is open-source, and prides itself on being the only private messaging iPhone app to employ open-source peer-reviewed cryptographic protocols.
Viber Messenger is another all-timer old timer that has been around since the dawn of smartphones. Viber, just like any other iPhone messaging app, makes use of your device’s internet connection to ensure that you can keep in touch with all the important people in your life wherever you go and wherever they may be. Whether it’s phone calls, video calls, group chats, or one-on-one chats, Viber brings you end-to-end encryption, and lets you filter out unwanted contacts with manual contact authentication, ensuring that no one you have no intention of communicating with can creep up on you on Viber. This purple-laden messaging app adds another layer of security by bringing you hidden chats you can make invisible and inaccessible to anyone but you, and has a feature called “Damage Control” that most people will welcome with arms wide open, as it lets you delete messages you regret sending. To put the Viber-purple icing on the cake, you can choose from an abundance of thematic sticker collections, and you can instantly get in touch with your most beloved brands, companies, and various celebrities via their public accounts, and follow them for the latest news and freshest updates or subscribe for regular direct messages.
LINE, boasting more than 600 million (and counting) users worldwide, is slowly but surely reshaping communication as we know it, connecting you with the most important people in your life in unprecedented ways. LINE makes its presence felt in instant messaging, bringing you all the necessary accessories of text-based messaging such as stickers (you can always upgrade your sticker collection in LINE’s Sticker Shop), file sharing, and location sharing. LINE also lets you to make free voice calls and video calls, and now allows group calls for up to a staggering 200 participants. If that’s still not enough for you, LINE packs a full-featured social networking service, and gives you to option to make international calls to cellphones and landlines at surprisingly low rates.
Telegram Messenger prides itself on being the fastest messaging app around, connecting new-age Telegrammers via a lightning-fast distributed network of data centers scattered all around the globe. Besides its Millennium Falconish speed, Telegram brings you seamless synchronization across any number of devices, allowing you to access your messages simultaneously from multiple platforms.
Another impressive feat of Telegram Messenger is its unlimited data sending option, putting no restriction on either the format or the size of the files you can share with your contacts.
Another impressive feat of Telegram Messenger is its unlimited data sending option, putting no restriction on either the format or the size of the files you can share with your contacts. Telegram is also as secure as a bank vault, encrypting all your data with the most up-to-date encryption technologies (for tech heads: a combination of 256-bit symmetric AES encryption, 2048-bit RSA encryption, and Diffie–Hellman secure key exchange), while thoroughly restricting third-party access to your data. Telegram Messenger is even perfect for facilitating efficient teamwork and for hosting online communities, as you can create group chats for up to 5,000 members with the same advanced file sharing options. To bring some fun into all the usefulness, Telegram pack powerful photo and video editing tools and an open sticker/GIF platform to make your Telegramming even more lively. Oh, and have we mentioned that it’s completely free and has no ads?