Facebook-owned WhatsApp Messenger is the most popular messaging app on the planet. The company releases new features regularly to ensure it remains on top. However, people have different tastes and not everyone may like how WhatsApp works or looks both internally and externally. Meta-owned WhatsApp has a policy and it makes it clear that the company collects lots of telemetry data from your device. Hence, if you are someone who wants to move on to a more personal or secure messaging app, here are the 12 best WhatsApp alternative apps you can use in 2023.
1. Telegram Messenger
Telegram Messenger has been known as the best WhatsApp competitor for a while now and nothing’s changed. The open-source messaging app is still the best WhatsApp alternative out there. Along with the usual messaging features that both WhatsApp and Telegram pack, the latter brings other features like supergroups of up to 100,000 people, public channels, usernames, the ability to share files of up to 2 GB, passcode lock, self-destructing messages and end-to-end encryption in secret chat among other things.
Then, there are Telegram Bots, which really enhance the experience. The bots not only bring you important info on the go but there are several game bots that let you play games inside the messaging app. Other than that, unlike WhatsApp, Telegram can be used on multiple platforms at once, so you can start texting on your phone and then continue it on your PC. I also love the voice call feature here which works quite well.
Availability: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Windows, macOS, Linux, Web (Free)
2. Signal Private Messenger
Signal Foundation, the organization that powers the end-to-end encryption technology in WhatsApp Messenger and Facebook Messenger, offers its very own messaging app dubbed Signal Private Messenger. As you’d expect, Signal brings a number of security benefits when compared to WhatsApp. It offers self-destructing messages, screen security (prevents anyone from taking screenshots), and more.
Plus, Signal brings encryption to its backups, calls, group calls, and every other data in the app. Even the files that you send using Signal are protected. Furthermore, according to Apple’s App Store listing, Signal doesn’t link any data to your identity.
It’s a great app for anyone who wants to securely converse with other users. That’s why, Signal is quite popular with journalists. Signal Private Messenger is for people who are looking for a simple and secure messaging app and if you are looking for something like that, it is the best WhatsApp alternative for you.
Availability: Android, iOS (Free)
Discord is no longer just a platform for chatting with your fellow gamers. While you can explore a variety of Discord servers to engage with your interests, Discord’s DM functionality is often overlooked by many. You can use Discord’s personal messages feature to send messages, emojis, emotes (if you have Discord Nitro), GIFs, images, and even documents. Furthermore, you can make voice calls, video calls, or even browse together after sharing your screen.
Combined with neat integrations from Spotify, Twitch, YouTube, Battle.net, Steam, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Xbox Live, and GitHub, Discord has got you covered for all your messaging needs and is arguably better than WhatsApp.
You can also create group chats on Discord with a total of 10 members. If you need more capacity, you can always create a server. If you ask me, I’d recommend uninstalling WhatsApp right away and installing Discord. You will find the link to download Discord below and I can assure you that you won’t regret the decision.
Availability: Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, Web (Free)
4. Messages by Google
This might be an odd one but hear us out! Google’s RCS messaging service has improved by leaps and bounds since it was first introduced. Although it may not be the most widely available service in the world and is limited to just Android users, almost every Android device should have this feature. Just download the Google Messages app, go to the settings, and enable RCS (Rich Communication Services).
RCS is a secure way of sending messages across devices; messages sent with RCS are encrypted and can carry more information across than SMS, and the Google Messages app comes tailored with lots of handy dandy features such as smart replies, stickers, GIFs, suggested actions, and integrates very well with GBoard. The one major con of RCS comes due to Apple not adapting the service despite multiple jabs from Google. This means if the party on the other side uses an iPhone, your messages would be sent as regular SMS.
Availability: Android, Windows, Web (Free)
One of the main problems with online messaging apps like WhatsApp is that they rely on an internet connection to work. And if you are out camping in the woods even the normal text messaging apps will not work. That’s where offline messaging apps come into play. These apps don’t require a mobile network or internet connection to work.
Rather, they create a peer-to-peer Bluetooth mesh network or Wi-Fi direct-based network on your phone and allow you to send messages to your nearby friends. If you are looking for such an app then you should use Bridgefy. Bridgefy offers three main types of messaging services; Person-to-Person mode, Broadcast mode, and Mesh mode.
You can send messages to a friend, broadcast them to the entire group, and even use users as nodes to send messages to long distances. It is quite helpful during music festivals, sports events, natural disasters, and other such situations where you won’t be getting reliable mobile service.
In fact, Bridgefy and other such apps have become a bastion for protesters around the world as they allow them to evade internet censorship imposed by their governments. The app is free to download and use and is the best offline WhatsApp alternative in my opinion. You should check it out.
Kik is a great messaging app for users who don’t want to use their number to operate a messaging application. While chat services like WhatsApp require users to use their number, I know many users who are not comfortable with sharing their personal numbers to these platforms.
For those users, Kik is a great service as it only requires you to use your email ID. Once you sign up for the service using your email ID, Kik will create a unique user name for you which you can share with other Kik users to chat.
The best part about using Kik is that you are not losing out on any messaging features. You still get access to all the important features including text messages, emojis, stickers, Gifs, photo sharing, video sharing, and group chats among other things.
Another unique feature of Kik is that it supports bots which is something that you do not get on WhatsApp. Using bots you can play quizzes, get fashion tips, the latest news, and more. That said, the main USP of Kik remains its non-requirement of a phone number and if that’s something you want, definitely check it out.
Availability: Android, iOS (Free)
While Snapchat technically is not just a messaging app but rather a social media app, I use it more and more as a messaging application thanks to some unique features that no other messaging application can offer. For example, I can send messages which can self-destruct after a set period of time. It also notifies me when someone takes a screenshot of my chats with them. Finally, it offers the best face mask collection of all the apps that I have ever used which makes this app fun to use.
Other messaging features are also here such as the ability to create group chats, voice calls, group voice calls, gifs, and more. I also love Snapchat because it is one of the most innovative chat services on the market. The features that users on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger normally enjoy are generally copied from Snapchat. So, if you want to access these cool features and be the first to receive the latest chat features, Snapchat is the app to use.
Availability: Android, iOS (Free)
Skype is without a doubt one of the best business chat applications out there that you can use right now. With the power of Microsoft behind it, Skype has left all the other business chat applications in the dust. However, that progress has worked against Skype when it comes to personal chats as the business moniker that it has earned keeps normal users away. But let me tell you that Skype is one of the best chatting applications on the market especially if you make a lot of video and voice calls.
I especially find Skype useful when I am using it to make overseas calls as the sound and video quality on Skype is far better than its competition. I also love Skype for its group video call functionality.
While most other apps don’t support group video calls, the ones that do often lag when you add more than three to four people. If you are someone who makes a ton of video calls with their friends and family, I can certainly recommend Skype over WhatsApp or any such chat application.
Availability: Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Web (Free)
Keybase is an open-source secure chat application, which is great for users who want to communicate securely. Since this is an open-source app, there’s no private company that is looking at all your data. Anyways the data is end-to-end encrypted so at no point in time, the message is exposed to nefarious actors.
The app doesn’t even allow you to take the screenshot of the chats. The messaging app works more like Slack than WhatsApp, however, it’s not aimed at businesses. Rather, it is mainly targeting users who are concerned with their online privacy.
My favorite feature of Keybase is that you don’t need anyone’s number or email ID to connect with them. This allows you to remain in contact with users whom you don’t want to share your personal information with. Finally, this is one of the few messaging apps that offer a native application for the Linux operating system. If you value your privacy, you should definitely check it out.
Availability: Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, and Windows (Free)
Viber is another popular messaging and VoIP app that really stands toe-to-toe with WhatsApp when it comes to features. Firstly, the app offers end-to-end encryption in calls, messages, and shared media. Moreover, the messages saved on multiple devices are also encrypted, which brings us to the fact that the messaging apps pack in multi-device support, which WhatsApp lacks.
Like WhatsApp, Viber lets you make video and voice calls but the app goes one step ahead with its Viber Out feature, which lets you make international calls to non-Viber users at nominal rates.
Talking about the messaging features, Viber includes support for stickers, file sharing, last seen, voice & video messages, public accounts, backup to Google Drive, and more. There is also a sticker store and Viber games, which are basically games you can play inside Viber. If you consider everything, you’ll notice that Viber is an app that is very similar to WhatsApp. It packs in most of the features from WhatsApp and then some more.
Availability: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Windows (Free, with rates for Viber Out)
Session is another great contender for one of the best WhatsApp alternatives if your priority is securing messaging. It is a privacy-focused messaging app that promises no metadata and only messages. The open-source app encrypts messaging as well as calls to ensure that nobody has access to your messages on the internet. Session uses Libsodium cryptography to encrypt your chats and its public keys are stored locally on your device.
You don’t need an email or mobile number to start using the messaging app. All the messages on the app are sent via a decentralized onion-routing network similar to Tor. Despite being a privacy-focused app, Session’s user interface is quite customizable with themes and dark mode. You get groups, video calls, voice messages, attachments, voice calls and even group calling functionality on this WhatsApp replacement app.
Availability: Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux (Free)
Another WhatsApp alternative you can use is LINE, which is a highly popular cross-platform messaging app that packs in a ton of features. Like WhatsApp, the app features end-to-end encryption, support for voice and video calls & messages, and more.
It also brings quite a few unique features when compared to WhatsApp like LINE Out (lets you make international calls to non-LINE users), a sticker store, a cool Keep feature (lets you save your favorite messages, photos, etc.), and more. It also features a timeline in the app, where you can see any status updates and photo changes from your friends.
Other useful features of LINE include passcode lock, filter messages, themes, LINE Pay for payments, and more. There’s no doubt that LINE is a very capable and feature-rich messaging app, however, it does feel a little bloated. So, fans of WhatsApp’s simplicity might not like LINE much but if you aren’t bothered by that, you should give LINE a shot.
Availability: Android, iOS, iPad, Windows Phone, Windows, macOS, Chrome, Firefox (Free)