WhatsApp is a widely used messenger – but that doesn’t necessarily make it the best. Especially in terms of data security, there are better options. We show you which alternatives are worthwhile.
Telegram as Alternative to WhatsApp
Telegram is one of the most popular messaging apps worldwide and is also increasingly used in the US as an alternative to WhatsApp. It comes equipped with many of the same features as its competitor.
- Like WhatsApp, Telegram allows you to chat with your friends and create group chats
- Private chats can also be end-to-end-encrypted. However, this feature has to be enabled in the settings and is not available for group chats. Calls are encrypted by default.
- Additionally, Telegram offers some features that are unique to it, for example the so-called super groups that allow for up to 100.000 people, public channels and the ability to share files of up to 1,5 GB.
- Files like photos, gifs or videos are stored on Telegram’s servers. While this is a potential weak point security-wise, it also means these files do not have to be downloaded to your phone to be viewed. This will save you tons of storage space on your phone.
- While WhatsApp is officially only developed for mobile operating systems and can only be used on a computer in conjunction with a smartphone, you can install Telegram on almost all operating systems as well as access it in the browser.
What not everyone might know: The end-to-end encryption WhatsApp makes use of is powered by the Signal Foundation. Signal is their own messaging app and puts even more emphasis on encryption and data security.
- Through various encryption methods, your messages are only readable by you and your chat partner. Furthermore, there is the option to send self-destructing messages that delete themselves after a while.
- Additionally, not only messages but any data you send is encrypted and therefore safe from prying third parties.
- Unfortunately, the app is not yet widespread, so the number of users is quite low. However, if you are particularly concerned about your privacy with a particular chat partner, it is still worth trying out the app.
- Just like WhatsApp, the app is only available on mobile devices in conjunction with a phone number. There is a desktop app, but it is also only available when you are actively connected to your smartphone.
Kik is the only messenger in this list that uses an email address instead of your phone number.
- As the messenger does not make use of your phone number, that also means not everyone that has your number can automatically contact you via Kik. To do so, they need your Kik username.
- Group chats are also supported. They are public and can be found using the group’s respective hashtag.
- To join, simply log in with a username and password.
- It is available for iOS and Android.
Viber comes packed with all the same features as WhatsApp and then some. Alongside Telegram, it is one of WhatsApp’s biggest competitors.
- It offers end-to-end-encryption for calls, messages, and files.
- There are also games you can play directly in the Viber app.
- One additional feature the app offers is Viber Out which allows you to make international calls to non-Viber-users via VoIP (voice over IP).
Thanks to multi-level encryption and no storing of metadata and contacts, Threema is one of the best apps when it comes to security.
- The app can be used without a phone number and can also be accessed via the desktop version.
- However, this level of security comes with a price tag: The app costs 2.99 Dollars in the Google Play Store as well as the Apple App Store.
- Unique to Threema is the option of password or fingerprint protect chats as well as to chat anonymously.
Alternative to WhatsApp: Other options
There are many other apps that offer chat features as well as chat programs originally meant for PC that also offer app versions. They are also a good alternative to WhatsApp.
- Snapchat: Mostly known as a means to send funny pictures to one’s friends, Snapchat can just as well be used as a messenger.
- Skype: Skype was one of the earliest programs offering users a video call function and while there are many competitors these days, the service is still going strong.
- Discord: The text and speech chat program was originally focused on connecting people playing online games. Many of its features are also useful in other settings.
- ICQ New: With ICQ New, the old messenger makes a comeback on PC and Smartphones. It offers videocalls for up to 50 participants and groups of up to 25.000 users.