In 2019, we came across the fact that NSA collects almost 200 million text messages every day. That is when we realized that our privacy was indeed being invaded. The truth is, we live in an age of internet surveillance and data logging, where companies do almost anything to get our personal information. Thankfully, there has been a rise in private messaging apps, which focus on keeping our privacy intact through end-to-end encryption and other ways. Well, we explored various messaging apps that claim to be secure and found the best secure messaging apps among them.

Best Secure Messaging Apps (Updated September 2020)

Here, we have enlisted all the secret chat apps so that you can take a quick look at all the listings. You can also move to the corresponding app by clicking on the link. Apart from that, if you want to learn what is the need for a private messaging app and what makes a messaging service really secure then go through our explainers below.

  1. Signal
  2. Threema
  3. Wickr Me
  4. Wire
  5. Element.io (Riot)
  6. Telegram
  7. WhatsApp
  8. Surespot
  9. ChatSecure
  10. Cyber Dust
  • Why We Need Secure Messaging Apps?

There are a number of reasons as to why we need secure messaging apps. In a test conducted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, most of the popular messaging apps (BBM, Facebook Messenger, Hangout, Kik Messenger, Skype, Snapchat, Viber, Yahoo Messenger) we use, failed to tick most security standards.

This suggests that while these apps are great, the companies might be using our conversations as information to target advertising in a better way. Moreover, reading our private conversations is certainly an invasion of our privacy.

Along with our personal privacy invasion, there are various industries where secure messaging apps are a must. Legal & Advisory firms need the best in class secure messaging apps because they wouldn’t want their client’s sensitive info to leak out.

Health care is another industry where secure messaging apps are a must to protect patient information from leaking out to everyone. Finance, Banking, and Insurance industries too need secure messaging apps because the information they share is very confidential indeed and they need to be sure about sending such sensitive information on an app.

These are surely good enough reasons to suggest that we indeed need secure messaging apps that give our privacy the priority. Thankfully, we have found some great secure messaging apps for you. But before that let’s find out what makes a messaging app secure.

  • What Makes a Messaging App Secure?

To make a messaging app really secure, the first and foremost criterion is to have End-to-End encryption (E2E). E2E messages can be read only by the sender and the receiver. And the best part is that not even the service provider can access your chats. Secondly, the service provider should be located in regions where the government is less hostile against user privacy.

For example, the EU is the best place to operate a company that deals with user data. It has some of the best privacy laws that protect user data from third-party companies and government interference. Next, a secure messaging service should not bow down to government pressure and it should have a history of standing up for user rights.

One of the great examples is Signal which operates in the US, but regularly defends user privacy and even takes the government to court. Apart from that, if a messaging service is funded by non-profit organizations, makes both server and client-side code open-source and offers metadata encryption then it makes the service more trustworthy.

List of Best Private Messaging Apps

1. Signal Private Messenger

In our comparison between Signal vs Telegram vs WhatsApp, we found that Signal is the most secure messaging app out there. Signal uses the gold standard, open-source Signal Protocol to implement end-to-end encryption. And it implements E2E encryption on all forms of communication on Signal– be it voice/video calls, chat messages, media or audio clips.

While other messaging apps also encrypt messages and calls, Signal goes one step further and encrypts the metadata too. In order to protect user privacy from all corners, Signal devised a new way to communicate between the sender and the recipient and it’s called Sealed Sender. Basically, with Sealed Sender, no one will be able to know — not even Signal — who is messaging whom, which is great.

signal private mesenger most secure messaging app

In addition, you have some incredible privacy features on Signal that is going to make your messaging experience even more private and secure. For instance, you can lock Signal with a passcode or biometrics. Then there is 2FA and an option to block screenshots within the app and the recent screen. And recently Signal added a new feature to blur faces automatically before sending images. That’s cool, right?

Not to mention, Signal by default encrypts all the local files with a 4-digit passphrase. And if you want to create an encrypted local backup then you can do that as well. All in all, in terms of security and privacy protection, Signal stands head and shoulder above the competition. You can learn more about its feature from our article on the best Signal tips and tricks.

Major Security Features:

  • End-to-end encrypted
  • Encrypted metadata 
  • 2FA available
  • Encrypted local backup

Missing Features:

  • Needs a phone number to sign up

Install: AndroidiOS (Free)

2. Threema

Threema is another highly secure messaging app that is quite popular and deservedly so. It does what it’s supposed to do, that is keeping data out of Governments, corporations, and hackers’ hands. Threema brings end-to-end encryptions to messages, group chats, shared media, and even statuses.

The developers have also made sure that your privacy remains intact no matter what, as it deletes any messages on the server once they are delivered while other details like groups & contacts are stored on the device’s local storage. To use Threema, you don’t need an email id or phone number as the app provides you a unique Threema ID.

2. Threema

Along with the security features, Threema is a comprehensive messaging app, thanks to some really unique features like a poll, ability to send most file types (pdf, gif, doc, mp3, zip, etc.) along with the usual features like sending texts, voice messages and more.

That said, keep in mind, Threema is not fully open-source. There are reports that soon Threema will go open source, but we will have to wait for that. Besides that, Threema has a transparent privacy policy, unlike most big corporate giants. It is available for Android and iOS for a nominal price tag.

Major Security Features:

  • End-to-end encryption
  • Messages stored in local storage
  • Based in Switzerland
  • Funded by users
  • No user data collection

Missing Features:

  • Not fully open source

Install: AndroidiOS ($2.99)

3. Wickr Me

Wickr Me, as it likes to call itself is another messaging app that aims to bring a secure chat experience. Most of its features are aimed to make you feel more secure. It brings end-to-end encryption of texts, voice messages, videos, and pictures. It also includes a “Shredder” feature that irreversibly deletes all your chats, media content from your device.

There are a number of other security features like anonymity when it comes to Wickr ID, no metadata information, the ability to set an expiration time on all messaging content, and more. Wickr Me also claims to not read any messages of yours, not collect any of your personal info, and does not own the media or text you send on Wickr.

3. Wickr Me most secure messaging app

Wickr Me seems pretty impressive as a secure, private communication platform and it’s no slouch when it comes to messaging features. You can send texts, audios, images, videos, and create groups, which are a little limited with only 10 contacts per group.

It also supports cool stickers, graffiti, and cool photo filters. Wickr Me is available for free on Android, iOS, and desktop platforms like Windows, macOS & Linux.

Major Security Features:

  • End-to-end encrypted
  • No instance of data sharing with government
  • Minimal data collection
  • Encrypts metadata

Missing Features:

  • Not fully open-source

Install: AndroidiOSWindows, macOS, Linux (Free)

4. Wire

Wire is a secret messaging app available on iOS, Android and other desktop platforms. The E2E encryption is turned on by default so that is great and the encryption applies to all forms of communication on Wire. It also supports group collaboration with enhanced security so if you are running an organization or a business and need a private messaging app then Wire is just perfect.

4. Wire most secure messaging app

Next, the company is based out of Switzerland so you have ironclad privacy laws of the EU to protect your data. In terms of data collection, Wire has been found to gather minimal data only for the purpose of transmitting messages in a secure manner. What I like about Wire is that it also encrypts the metadata which should enhance user security by many folds.

Not to mention, Wire encrypts all the backup files— both on Android and iOS– so that no one can read your data. To sum up, Wire is a highly secret messaging app for iPhone, Android smartphones and you should give it a try.

Major Security Features:

  • End-to-end encrypted
  • Based out of EU
  • Minimal data collection
  • Fully open-source
  • Locally encrypted backup

Missing Features:

  • Not all metadata are encrypted

Install: AndroidiOSWindows, macOS, Linux, Web (Free, Pro plan starts at $5.83 per month)

5. Element.io (Riot)

Element.io, which was earlier known as Riot, is a secure chat app that is built around protecting user privacy. It offers end-to-end encryption out of the box, which means that your conversations are fully encrypted and only the sender and receiver can read the messages. After the transition from Rio to Element, the secure messaging app has become more enterprise-friendly.

5. Element.io (Riot)

You can now use it for team collaborations and as such, it includes a bunch of tools to help you streamline your team’s workflow. The messaging app is developed using the low-latency Matrix open communications protocol which means the performance will be top-notch despite hardened encryption.

Apart from that, Element can be used to share messages, images, videos, and files of any type within groups of any size. Not to mention, now there is support for group video and voice calls too. Simply put, if you run a medical, legal, or any kind of business where confidentiality is a top requirement then Element.io is your best secure chat app.

Major Security Features:

  • Supports E2E, but need to opt-in
  • Based in UK
  • Completely open-source
  • Private key stored on device

Missing Features:

  • No metadata encryption

Install: Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, Web (Free, Paid plans available)

6. Telegram

Everybody is pretty well acquainted with Telegram, the very popular WhatsApp competitor. Telegram’s ticks all the boxes when it comes to being a secure messaging app, thanks to its “Secret Chats” feature.

Telegram is a secure messaging app but its Secure Chats bring end-to-end encryption (E2E) along with the ability to send self-destructing content like texts, media, and files. Even without the Secret Chats feature, Telegram brings standard encryption to all your data, but that is not end-to-end.

6. Telegram most secure messaging app

Along with being secure, Telegram is a highly capable messaging app that’s available on most platforms including a web version and it can go toe to toe with any other messaging app when it comes to features.

Apart from that, Telegram is fast, reliable, and packs features like large group chats, broadcasts, file and media sharing with incomparable size limitations and more. It also features cloud syncing so that you don’t lose your chats even when you are changing your devices. You can go through our article on Telegram tips and tricks to learn more about its features.

Major Security Features:

  • Optional E2E
  • No data handover to intelligence agencies
  • Self-destructing Message
  • Feature-packed

Missing Features:

  • E2E Encryption not turned on by default
  • Not fully open-source

Install: AndroidiOSWindows PCmacOSLinux, Web (Free)

7. WhatsApp

WhatsApp is another highly popular messaging app that has brought end-to-end encryption to the masses. And the best part is that the encryption is enabled by default and extends to all forms of communication on WhatsApp, be it messages, audio or video calls, and WhatsApp Web. It uses the encryption protocol developed by Open Whisper Systems — the company behind Signal messenger.

The cryptographic protocol has been named as the Signal protocol and it’s entirely open-source. Further, the protocol has been peer-reviewed by many security researchers. Apart from that, on the user’s side, WhatsApp now offers a native app locker which is great. Next, you also have the option to enable 2FA on WhatsApp and that’s again commendable.

7. WhatsApp

That being said, keep in mind, WhatsApp does not encrypt cloud backups on Android. Also, it does not encrypt the metadata which is used to carry communication between two endpoints. This is one of the major criticisms of WhatsApp’s security model. While metadata does not allow anyone to read your messages, it lets authorities know whom and when you messaged someone and for how long.

Next, WhatsApp is owned by Facebook which is a major point of concern. In addition, the company is implicated in giving customers’ data to intelligence agencies. All in all, while on paper, WhatsApp remains quite secure, the owner’s controversial stand on privacy makes it a less appealing choice among privacy-minded users.

Major Security Features:

  • End-to-end encrypted by default
  • 2FA available
  • Uses Signal protocol
  • Simple and easy to use

Missing Features:

  • Does not encrypt metadata
  • Back-ups not encrypted
  • Owned by Facebook

Install: AndroidiOSWindows PC, macOS, Web (Free)

8. Surespot

Surespot Encrypted Messenger might not have the best user interface among secure messaging apps but its security & privacy features are solid indeed. Every message sent using Surespot is end-to-end encrypted with symmetric key encryption. According to Surespot, whatever you send to a person will only be read by that person, Period.

That’s quite a bold claim but Surespot’s encryption details do look promising. You have total control with the app and you can have multiple identities for different people.

most secure messaging app

Surespot also features voice messages that are encrypted the same way as text messages, so nothing to worry about here. It might not be very feature-rich on the messaging front but it gives you the promise and confidence to send any message without any worries. Surespot Messenger is open source and free although there are some in-app purchases for features like voice calls.

Major Security Features:

  • End-to-end encrypted
  • Create multiple identities
  • Prevents screenshot
  • Send messages, media, files

Missing Features:

  • Not user-friendly

Install: AndroidiOS (Free with in-app purchases)

9. ChatSecure

ChatSecure is a free and open-source encrypted messaging app for iOS. It takes various measures to make sure there are no loopholes in your security and privacy needs. The secure messaging app features OTR (Off-the-record) encryption over XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol). You can enter your Facebook or Google accounts to use it or create an account on public XMPP servers.

The app also gives you the ability to use your own server for your account, so you don’t have any doubts about your info. ChatSecure uses open-source cryptographic libraries and its source code is auditable as well. It also uses SQLCipher to encrypt conversation logs locally on your device’s storage.

9. ChatSecure most secure messaging app

ChatSecure’s security and privacy features might be a little confusing but they are very strong indeed. The app uses everything there is to make sure you have a secure chatting experience.

On the messaging front, it features the usual features like the ability to send text, audio, files, images, video, and more. It’s available for free on the Google Play Store and iTunes.

Major Security Features:

  • OMEMO encryption and OTR encryption
  • Use open-source cryptographic libraries
  • Best secure messaging app for iOS
  • Send all kinds of files

Missing Features:

  • No metadata encryption

Install: iOS (Free)

10. Cyber Dust

Cyber Dust is a cool secure messaging app, which along with security & privacy brings features that are pretty sleek. It likes to call its messages Dust and broadcast messages Blast. All the Dusts and Blasts are heavily encrypted and are never stored in permanent storage.

The app along with others on this list prevents screenshots as well. The messages disappear within 100 seconds or in 24 hours if it remains unopened by the recipient. Every Cyber Dust message is encrypted with its own unique 128-bit AES encryption along with added security through the RSA 2048-bit key.

10. Cyber Dust most secure messaging app

Cyber Dust is a social media platform as well as being a secure messaging app, as it lets you follow people. You can send your followers a blast or create a group of people with similar interests.

It also brings you exclusive content from celebrities along with news that might interest you. To sum things up, Cyber Dust is a secure messaging as well as a secure social media community platform.

Major Security Features:

  • End-to-end encrypted
  • Self-destruct message
  • Sort of social media
  • Private key stored on device

Missing Features:

  • No metadata encryption

Install: AndroidiOS (Free)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Which is the Most Secure Messaging App?

In my opinion, Signal is the most secure messaging app in the market. It’s open-source, has a well-audited cryptographic protocol and lastly, the messaging app has received top score in EFF’s Secure Messaging Scorecard.

Q. Which Messaging App is Encrypted?

Nowadays, almost all the messaging apps are encrypted using the standard SSL/TLS encryption. What you should look for is End-to-End encryption which is a gold standard when it comes to protecting user data. Signal, Threema, WhatsApp are some of the messaging apps that are by default E2E encrypted.

Q. Which App is Best for Secret Chat?

I would recommend Signal if you are looking for the best app to chat secretly. It’s not only E2E encrypted but also encrypts the metadata.

Q. Is Signal App Really Safe?

Yes, Signal is really safe and in fact, it’s arguably the best secure messaging app out there.

Q. Can Signal App be Hacked?

So far, there has been no instance of hacking as far as Signal is concerned. Its source code and cryptographic protocol are open to the public and security researchers so the vulnerabilities are patched as early as possible.

Q. Is WhatsApp More Secure than Email?

It may sound weird, but yes, WhatsApp is more secure than e-mail. WhatsApp uses E2E encryption to relay messages whereas e-mail uses the standard SSL/TLS encryption. ProtonMail is one of the few email services that offer E2E.

Give These Private Messaging Apps a Try!

Our security and privacy are of paramount importance but as we mentioned, not everyone takes it seriously. It’s true that if we take things seriously, we will not be able to enjoy our favorite apps and services. There’s also a problem with these secure messaging apps, that is we don’t have enough users on them to converse with.

Well, if you and your friends & family are aware of the security issues and they are willing to jump ship to a more secure messaging app, then these apps should come in pretty handy. You should definitely check out these great secure messaging apps and do let us know your experience, as we love to hear from you.

17 COMMENTS

  1. What about ” Secret Mode” in Messenger? It has end- to- end encryption and a timer for the messages to disappear. I know alot of people who actually use Messenger. I don’t know anyone who uses Signal or any of these other apps.

  2. this is the thread i have been looking for some time, it is really amazing how you explain the features and compare with other apps. what makes you interesting is you are reviews the app from user perspective. keep up the good work and kudos!

  3. Recently i install Signal app Really it’s have Great features of privacy , Frankly Guys it’s nice and best App For our Privacy . Thanks to Signal Team

  4. Although Threema is good there’s 1 reason why I wouldn’t recommend it; it’s not multi-device friendly. You can’t have the same account active on more than 1 device as you can with other messengers. If you have Threema on your phone and want to use it on your tablet as well you’ll need to jump through some hoops that makes the whole setup janky. Signal is the best of the ones listed here.

  5. Your friend Kelly is here! As you know, millions of people have lost their life due to this deadly virus COVID-19. So, it’s a request please stay at home to make sure you are safe. While at home, keep connected with your friends and family by using Signal Secure App. It’s free, secure and simple to use.

  6. Best encrypted messaging service – Signal – has unveiled a new logo. With this, Signal is more confident about protecting their user’s data from hackers and attackers.

  7. Signal is a highly recommend encrypted messaging app for privacy-centric people. It runs on world’s best encryption protocol i.e. Signal Protocol.

  8. Hi there! I’m an active user of Signal Private Messenger. The messenger is awesome because it offers me full control over my messages. The best part is that it has a lot of advanced features like ‘disappearing messages’, ‘screen lock’, ‘incognito keyboard’, ‘read receipts’, ‘message trimming’ etc.

  9. I use Utopia, for me it is the best and most secure messenger. It is very convenient that Utopia has mail and a browser

  10. Thanks to Signal Engineer to keep our digital communications private and safe. No one can see / read Signal messages, not even Signal’s developers.

    • Kelly is here! As you know, millions of people have lost their life due to this deadly virus COVID-19. So, it’s a request please stay at home to make sure you are safe. While at home, keep connected with your friends and family by using Signal Secure App. It’s free, secure and simple to use.

  11. I have been using Signal Private messenger for almost two years and it never disappoints, i keep reading about stuff that how secure the signal private messenger is.

  12. I have been using Signal Private messenger for almost two years and it never disappoints, i keep reading about stuff that how secure the signal private messenger is.

    Recently they have extra level of security called sealed sender which is very unique and Signal messenger is first and only messenger to offer such kind of extra layer of security.

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