5 alternative messaging apps similar to WhatsApp

Facebook-owned messaging service, WhatsApp, has more than one billion users worldwide, but there are other options out there.

High profile figures, including Elon Musk and Edward Snowden, have encouraged the public to switch messaging platforms in the past.

If you want to try out something new, here are some of the best and most secure alternatives available in 2021. All of them are available across all major platforms.

Signal

Signal is a free to use messenger app which offers text, voice and video chat facilities, similar to WhatsApp.

For those worried about their privacy, every message is encrypted, so only the sender and receiver can read them. Messages are completely unreadable to hackers.

Users can also choose to let messages disappear, much like Snapchat, by setting a time interval for automatic deletion.

Telegram

Telegram is one of the fastest growing messenger apps, proving to be a popular alternative to WhatsApp. Similar to WhatsApp it uses a ‘double tick’ system to show when someone has received a message.

The app also features end-to-end encryption for voice calls, ensuring that no one can ever listen in on your calls with friends and family. Encryption for messages will need to be manually turned on.

Telegram offers a similar feature to Signal, allowing users to set a timer on messages to delete after a set time.

Threema

Threema is a privacy focused messenger, which keeps contacts lists and group information stored solely on your device, not in the app.

Messages are deleted as soon as they’ve been delivered, and end-to-end encryption is available for all messages, voice calls, shared files and group chats.

Additionally, instead of connection to someone using a phone number, you can add people using an eight digit long Threema ID. You can also verify contacts with unique QR codes.

The app has a collection of features that WhatsApp doesn't, including the Threema in-browser. Users can create polls and leave ‘like’ feedback on individual messages. Chats can also be hidden and put under password protection.

Viber

Viber provides the most like-for-like alternative to WhatsApp.

The app has a host of similar features, including group chats, instant voices and video chats. All the messages are end-to-end encrypted, and the app also features the ability to delete messages after a certain amount of time, using a self destruct timer.

Wire

Wire is a unique messenger service as it is protected by European data retention laws. The app is secured by end-to-end encryption and offers a free personal account or paid business plans. It features voice and video calls.

A version of this article originally appeared on our sister title, The Edinburgh Evening News