This year WhatsApp is still the hottest messenger. That does not change the fact that there is a lot of good competition competing for your chat favor. We introduce you to our updated overview.
For the first time in 2013, we listed Messenger alternatives to WhatsApp secure for you. Some of the recommendations of that time are still up to date – and maybe even more than ever – at the end of 2017 – WhatsApp is a real competitor. Some others have disappeared and are now appearing in our article on messenger flops.
What makes a messenger a real WhatsApp competitor? For some, it is the scope of functions, another is security. Here WhatsApp has caught up significantly in recent years, now also offers end-to-end encryption. Nevertheless, one does not approach messengers like Signal in this discipline.
As always, one of the most important factors in regular use is the spread of the service: the safest messenger with the most features does not bother us if no one else uses the same service. Here we introduce you to the most important WhatsApp alternatives 2018 messengers who sometimes score more with security, sometimes more with the range of functions and who are also not very far behind WhatsApp.
below are top 10 WhatsApp alternatives for your android and ios iphone
The Facebook Messenger ( here also independently of Facebook usable) is not by numbers very close to WhatsApp, both services belong nevertheless to Facebook. While the chat service with the green logo has now reached 1.3 billion users, the Facebook Messenger comes (as of May 2017) to 1.2 billion users.
With these numbers and of course the 2 billion people who generally use Facebook, this messenger is one of the first alternatives when it comes to finding as many own contacts as possible. The functionality can also be seen: In addition to normal messages, you can of course also chat in groups, phone function is there as well as video chat and photos, videos and other files you can share.
I really like the opportunity to share locations. This will not only tell you where you are currently located but may also find you with multiple people in a single map at the live location. Incidentally, with this feature, Facebook’s messenger was also brisker than WhatsApp, but this feature is now available as well.
You can send voice messages like WhatsApp, but they are limited to one minute, which is very frustrating because you do not get it displayed when the minute is full and sometimes you continue to talk senselessly, even though you are no longer recording.
In addition to a lot of messenger light, there are of course also shadows: With Facebook, the privacy and the use of collected data is always an issue and in terms of security, the messenger is certainly not the very first choice. Although end-to-end encryption is now available, it has only been activated on a mobile basis and not automatically.
Facebook strives to expand the range of functions and to make more of the messenger than just a chat tool. You can see that in the integration of chatbots, which can provide you with a lot of information, in the US you can now even order an Uber cart via the messenger.
In terms of size, WeChat really does not have to hide behind WhatsApp: Just under a billion users can see the Messenger from Tencent from China, making it one of the largest in the world. A few days ago we introduced you to WeChat in detail, where you will learn everything worth knowing about the service, which practically everybody in China uses.
The usual messenger features – chatting alone and in the group, sharing videos, photos and locations, voice messages and video chats – are all there. Even before the big US services, WeChat has put on stickers, of which there are countless free, but also paid, with which you can spice up your messages.
In addition, WeChat is much more than just a messenger. Here you can also order movie tickets or a table in the restaurant, generally, you can pay in China almost everywhere with WeChat Pay. Also important for the concept of WeChat: The up to 1 MB mini-programs – almost apps within WeChat.
In China, pretty much every person uses Wechat, which is online. But this is also the catch for all users outside of China: The distribution in Western countries is still very manageable, many functions such as bank connection to WeChat Pay not yet possible. Also on the subject of security WeChat should not be your first alternative, data is sometimes passed cheerfully to the Chinese government.
Let’s go to Threema and the first messenger in this list dedicated to security. When Facebook bought WhatsApp at the time, Threema and Telegram were the winners of the day, and were thrilled with the cro
By mid-2016, the number of users at Threema had grown to four million. That’s a proud number, but still only a small fraction of what the messenger giants achieve. Threema, a messenger from Switzerland, thus serves only a niche audience, but very successful
Long before WhatsApp, Threema used end-to-end encryption, which also includes phone calls. The data is stored in Switzerland, ie on European servers, and communication between the Threema servers and the terminal is secured by transport encryption.
Threema also has privacy and anonymity on the note: every user generates a random Threema ID when setting up the app. The link to a mobile number or e-mail address is optional for you.
You send via Threema text messages, pictures, videos, your own location and voice messages and in addition to apps for Android and iOS, there is now also Threema Web, so you can use the messenger in the browser on your notebook.
The best encryption according to own statements, the prevention of a fat data trace and anonymity – these are advantages, which Threema can pay from its customers: While most messengers are free of charge, here before installation only once 2.99 euro become due. Absolutely appropriate for a secure messenger.
As mentioned above, Telegram also profited from the fact that many WhatsApp users were looking for a new, safer messenger when they acquired Facebook. Telegram was also found, a service that is currently reaching at least 100 million users worldwide.
Telegram proudly announces that it is relying on a combination of 256-bit symmetric AES encryption, 2048-bit RSA encryption and the Diffie-Hellman key exchange process. End-to-end encryption is also available here, but beware: this only applies to the so-called “secret chats”, which you must therefore initiate.
The functionality is also very neat, do not be fooled by the minimalist design. There are also group chats, up to 30,000 people can be gathered in such a group. Of course, pictures, videos, etc. can also be sent here, and because everything is stored in the Telegram Cloud, these files will not take away any storage space.
If you like, you can also send any files (documents, MP3s, etc.) up to a size of 1.5 GB. Even locations can be revealed in real time, voice messages can also be sent.
However, we have to point out that there are some experts who do not think that Telegram is as safe as the service tells itself. So it says on Wikipedia:
A security analysis from May 2017 confirmed that Telegram has “serious and simple issues”. So there are problems in the Diffie-Hellman key exchange and it has been shown that the command line client can find out when contacts communicate with other contacts
Of course there are telegrams for iOS and Android, but also for many other platforms and also in a web view . Telegram is both free and ad-free.
When you read posts about Signal – the next messenger candidate with a focus on security – you usually do not miss the name, Edward Snowden. The colleague really likes to recommend Signal as the safest messenger:
Open Whisper Systems has created a messenger here that is very secure, yet easy to use. Signal was previously known under the name TextSecure, was then renamed Signal in 2015. The fun is funded by donations and scholarships, so Signal is not dependent on advertising revenue and can still offer the app for free.
The signal is open source so that the code can be viewed publicly and checked for gaps. Incidentally, the encryption protocol of Open Whisper Systems is not only used by Signal here, but also by other messengers, including WhatsApp. Even phone calls and video chats are encrypted, but you can not send voice messages.
In general, the functionality of Signal is manageable. The signal is very safe, but also simple and rudimentary. The user numbers are still reasonably manageable, with Google Play alone there is talk of 5-10 million downloads. If you want to write safely and for sure, you will not get past Signal. The perfect messenger for everyone he is not because of the lower number of features but not yet.
Viber is now called Rakuten Viber, which makes it clear that the Messenger is located under the roof of the large Japanese group. Rakuten took over the service as early as 2014, but has recently begun to focus more on the “Rakuten” brand. The service has also been around for several years and was one of the first to have a voice feature in addition to the normal messaging. According to own data Viber is currently used by over 900 million users in almost 200 countries.
Of course, the messenger supports voice messages as well as calls and video chats, and you can also set up chat groups with up to 250 members. Viber also offers end-to-end encryption, but has repeatedly been talked about due to the amount of data collected.
There are some very nice features at Viber: You can also send video messages, there is also the possibility to delete sent messages later and you can even hide selected chats from prying eyes. Viber lets you call the landline and send SMS.
Similar to WeChat, Viber also has public profiles so you can keep an eye on brands and businesses via Messenger. As an advertising partner, Viber has recently won major names such as FC Barcelona, Olympique Marseille and Shakira.
Wire is still a younger representative of the messenger-guild, which exists only since 2014 and whose roots are in Berlin and Switzerland. As a unique selling proposition, you can assign the group calls to Wire, which are made possible thanks to Voice over IP technology. That’s not by chance, Wire founder at the time has also helped to make Skype from the baptism.
Wire also uses the end-to-end encryption of Open Whisper Systems. As far as security is concerned, we would like to point out that – as with Telegram – metadata is also stored, however, this can be deactivated with Wire. Both the group calls and video chats are encrypted end-to-end, and wiretaps on Wire are tap-proof too. Wire also stores its data on European servers, so security enthusiasts may also enjoy using Wire for that.
YouTube, Soundcloud, Spotify and Vimeo content can be shared in the chat, but of course Wire has all the basics that other messengers have to offer. The messenger looks nice and can be operated easily and intuitively. There are apps for both Android and iOS, web versions are also available for different browsers.
BBM is the BlackBerry messenger, also a chat veteran and probably also one of the last success stories, the Canadians can claim for themselves. Once the part was reserved for BlackBerry or previously RIM customers, now it is a project that is offered for every popular system.
Functionally, it can not keep up with other services or offers different features only for BlackBerry devices. On the other hand, there are some very interesting ideas, such as the ability to create topics within group chats. You will also see when a message was delivered and when it was read. You can take back sent messages, limit sending of photos and messages and use private chats, and thanks to PayPal integration within BBM, you can send money to friends free of charge.
Unfortunately, you do not get end-to-end encryption, which means you need to use the BBM Enterprise version of this feature. The functionally offers significantly less, since it targets business customers, but it comes but just with end-to-end encryption.
Unfortunately, I cannot provide current user numbers for the BBM, but the number was already over 100 million users in 2014. So we’re dealing with one of the bigger messengers in terms of downloads. Nevertheless, it seems to me that the BBM is not used much in this country.
Skype is a service that I’m never sure I would even enumerate among the usual messengers. The Microsoft offer has become big due to the possibility of Internet telephony and video chats and not because it is so great to chat there. Again and again Skype is called by users as a necessary evil, because there are always contacts, which can only or at least best via Skype reach.
On end-to-end encryption, you have to do without Skype. For this you also have next to the individual and group chats, you can send any file types and for several years, synonymous with the use of different devices. Against coal you can also call landline numbers and mobile phones.
This year, Skype will tear the 1.3 billion user mark and would be basically as big as WhatsApp. But as I said: Basically one compares apples with pears here, so Skype is actively used by significantly fewer users or by many users only very sporadically.
Tjoa, Allo. Again, a Google Messenger – and once again someone who somehow does not really want to pick up speed, although Google has given him both interesting design and exciting features. As a unique feature Allo can show that the Google Assistant is integrated into the app.
If you do not have a chat partner on hand, you can also talk to Google’s artificial intelligence there and elicit the most interesting answers and information. Allo is tied to your phone number and thus, like WhatsApp can only be used on a single smartphone. This is a shame insofar as many messengers manage to easily overcome this hurdle.
Official user numbers are not available at the moment, but with the distribution, it went downhill rapidly, after the first 10 million users could be reached very fast. Google Play currently shows between 10 and 50 million users, which is basically very neat, but not enough for a provider like Google.
Functionally, you get all that the others can – just added to the Google Assistant. This allows you to use, for example, the Smart Reply feature, so it gets smart solution phrases or phrases suggested that really often fit surprisingly well. Allo has incognito mode – only in this mode will your messages be encrypted end-to-end.
After I have presented in the original article in the end not the original ten messengers, but just a few more, I’ve evaporated this list here again to 10. Among them are still missing well-known and big names like Google Hangouts and KakaoTalk, but also the smaller, lesser known messengers like Hoccer, Gino or Wickr. Let me know here again, whether I have covered with these ten the main WhatsApp competitors, or whether you wish that I should include the just listed here and more messengers also in this article.