Have you ever got the feeling that your phone is listening to you? You’re not crazy—your phone is keeping tabs on you. And it’s not just what you say, but what you text to friends, what you ask your smart home devices like Alexa and Google, and more.
That’s where private messaging comes in.
There are plenty of fantastic messaging apps that are not only private and secure but also fun to use. In this guide, let’s discuss five alternatives to Whatsapp for private messaging.
Wait, What’s Wrong with WhatsApp?
WhatsApp is actually pretty good at protecting privacy. It uses end-to-end encryption so nobody could discover the content of your conversations. But WhatsApp does log some of your conversation metadata—meaning they do keep records of who you’re talking to.
And by now, you may know that Facebook owns Whatsapp. While they have abandoned plans to sell ads on Whatsapp for now, we all know that could change anytime.
In case you’re wondering, Facebook Messenger is the worst messaging app for privacy. It doesn’t use end-to-end encryption, and Facebook keeps logs of your conversation.
If there’s one thing you take away from this article, it’s that whatever app you do choose to use, it shouldn’t be Messenger.
Signal is the gold standard for privacy. It features not only encrypted texting but also encrypted voice and video calls. Signal is so secure that famous figures in the cybersecurity world like Edward Snowden and Bruce Schneier use it.
All conversations use end-to-end encryption by default. Even Whatsapp (along with other apps) use Signal’s security protocol to make messaging apps more secure.
If you’re looking for a free service that’s compatible with different platforms, it’s hard to beat Signal.
Telegram is another popular option for more secure messaging. It has many of the same features as Signal except for encrypted video chat. But it does include tools like message deletions and self-destructing messages you can set with a timer.
Unlike Signal, encryption is not the default setting for your texts. You have to turn it on yourself, and so does your message recipient.
Though, Signal does come with more advanced messaging features like Stickers and Gifs. Plus, it is entirely free with no ads.
If you want a private and fun messaging app, then Telegram is a fantastic option.
Viber is one of the most popular chatting apps in the world. Although it’s not too popular in the US, it enjoys widespread use in Europe. It offers end-to-end encryption by default, along with voice and video calls, stickers, and group chats. It also has fun in-app purchases.
You can delete sent messages and hide chats in different parts of the app. What’s neat about Viber is you don’t have to turn on encryption. It works as long as everybody you’re messaging is using the app (and you’re not sending an SMS text).
Line is another messaging app that’s popular outside the US. Similar to how Viber is popular in Europe, Line is popular in Asia, with over 700 million active users.
Line is much more than a messaging app. It includes social media features along with payment, shopping, and other fun things to explore. All messages in Line use end-to-end encryption by default.
Threema isn’t as popular as the other recommendations on this list, but it takes the cake when it comes to security. The app costs $2.99 and comes with security baked into it.
Threema offers encrypted voice, video, and text messages. Moreover, it also uses robust security protocols and removes all messages you send from its servers after you delete them.
Threema also includes a “Private Chats” feature that protects individual chats with a customized PIN code. It means nobody without the code can access your confidential conversations.
Encrypted Messaging is The Way to Go
End-to-end encryption is essential, but it’s easy to take it for granted. For example, you might be sending messages in a secret chat in Telegram and then open a new conversation that isn’t encrypted. Just like that, all your data is in danger again.
No matter what messaging app you use, you should always have a VPN enabled to protect your entire internet connection. VPNs extend encryption beyond messaging and across everything you do online. In other words, they create a secure tunnel for all your data. VPNs make it virtually impossible for anybody to see what you do on your smartphone, tablet, or mobile device both inside of chat apps and out.