A decade ago, you had to call or send a message via short message service to communicate. Thanks to the rising popularity of mobile phones, service providers saw the chance of cashing in. That is why they came up with unlimited plans where subscribers were charged $20 to $30 each month. This was quite expensive to maintain especially when you enrolled other family members like teenagers into a plan. Thanks to the introduction of smartphones, messaging apps that route information via the internet were developed. They became popular thanks to their ease of use, ability to send messages and multimedia content at the same time.
Here are the top instant messaging apps on both for Android and iOS you need to know about.
The top 5 instant messaging apps for Android and iPhone
It’s arguably one of the best instant messaging apps available in the market today. As a cross platform messaging app, its popularity came about after the company’s acquisition by Facebook in 2014 for $19.3 billion. Two years later, the company had achieved a user base of one billion. With WhatsApp, users have the ability of speaking freely with family and friends. Furthermore, you can enhance the experience by having a face to face conversation. The good news is you don’t have to incur additional mobile charges. Why? The messaging app uses internet connection instead of cell plan voice minutes.
End to end encryption was introduced after it was confirmed that security agencies around the world were intercepting millions of messages thus compromising the security and privacy of users. This security feature is built-in the latest version of the messaging app and comes as a default setting. It allows the encryption of calls and messages between devices thus preventing any snooping not even by the WhatsApp team.
While the messaging app allows you to keep in touch with family and friends, it also allows you to create groups too. You can invite as many users as you want allowing you to have group chats. Users have the ability of sending mass texts to 256 users. As the administrator of the group, you have the option of inviting and declining users who may be breaking the group’s policies.
With the WhatsApp web client, you can keep the conversation going thanks to the apps ability to seamlessly sync with your internet browser web-client (except Microsoft Internet Explorer) or desktop app. As a cross platform free messaging app, it works on a Mac, PC, Android, iPhone and Blackberry devices.
You can express what is on your mind with Voice Messages. All you need to do is tap and record. This is a perfect way of saying a quick hello or a longer story. If you don’t want to send the recorded message, just slide to cancel. The app will not save but will discard the draft with ease. Do you have an essay you would like a second or third opinion from friends or other professionals? Do you have a group project that is supposed to be presented in your class? Worry not; using WhatsApp, you can simply send PDFs, documents, spreadsheets and slideshows among others. The app has the ability of sending up to 100 MB making it easy for you to send and receive what you want to who you want.
Commonly known as Facebook Messenger, it is one of the best WhatsApp alternatives that is integrated with Facebook chat feature and built with the open MQTT protocol. With the Messenger app, you can send messages to your family and friends. Furthermore, you can see when your messages have been delivered and when they have been read. This allows you to know that your messages have gone through as intended. You can make HD voice calls with your family and friends. Not only will this feature allow you to keep in touch with your family and friends but you will get to hear sounds clearer and closer.
As one of the best chat apps, the voice calls are free so you don’t have to spend an arm or a leg every month just to keep in touch with your family and friends. You can even lower your charges by communicating via secure Wi-Fi connection.
Today, mobile users love to share photos and videos. They want their family and friends to see what they are up to. Thanks to built-in cameras available with modern smart phones, you can shoot and snap moments as they happen. To personalize your photos, one can make drawings and add text as they desire. You can suggest meeting points by sending a map of any location instantly updating your friends where you are. In 2015, Facebook enabled US users to send money to friends finally expanding the feature to support group payments as of April 2017. While Messenger offers end to end encryption, the feature is not default. It has to be enabled via settings.
Starting as Picaboo, a college project that was created by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown, it emerged to be Snapchat, an instant messaging app like WhatsApp that allows creation of multimedia messages called snaps. The snaps consist of a photo or short video which can be improved by applying filters, effects, text captions and drawings. To improve on snaps, the developers allowed creation of videos of up to ten seconds in length by holding down on the photo’s button.
In 2014, Geofilters were added and this allowed users to add special graphical overlays which were available when the user was within a particular geographical location for example event or city. Today, users have the ability of creating their own Geofilters and contributing to the community. By creating your own, you can surprise other Snapchatters in selected locations. Three categories are available – community, personal or business.
Unlike other WhatsApp alternative secure apps, Snapchat allows messages to disappear when they are read. Users also have the ability of using messages to reply to snaps which are part of the story. With the My Story feature, users can be able to compile snaps with chronological storylines which are accessible to all your friends. The Snapchat feature which was introduced in 2014 allows you to send and receive money to other users through private messaging. Its payment system is powered by Square.
4. GOOGLE ALLO
This is a smart messaging app developed with the purpose of allowing users to say more and do more at the same time. As a smart messaging app, it allows users to respond without typing. Thanks to the smart reply feature, users have the ability of keeping the conversation going all with a single tap. The smart reply feature suggests text and emoji responses that are based on your personality. That’s not all. You can add more meaning to your words by simply adjusting the size of your text. Just slide your finger up to shout or down to whisper.
To get the message across with visual, you can turn any photo into a work of art. Doodle on your photos by adding text or drawing a smiley face. You can also turn your friends into memes and mix with colors. With the sticker feature, you can add some fun to your conversation. It does not end there. You can receive help from Google Assistant without leaving the conversation. The AI can suggest nearby restaurants, movies and other places of interest right in your conversation. All you have to do is add @google in your conversation and the Assistant will be ready to help.
If you are searching for the latest scores for a game or to find out when a particular flight is scheduled, Google Assistant is ready to help. Unlike other messaging apps for iPhone and Android that use end to end encryption by default, Google Allo has come up with the Incognito mode.
This feature allows you to send a message with end to end encryption. It comes with expiring chats enabling users to control how long their messages can stick around. The feature also allows private notifications to help keep your chats more discreet.
As one of the best WhatsApp alternatives for iOS users, the app is developed by Apple and enables users to send texts, photos, videos, contact information, group messages and documents. It is designed to work with mobile data and Wi-Fi connection. The app is accessible via the Messages app available in all Apple devices namely iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Its protocol is based on Apple Push Notification service, a proprietary binary protocol that sets up the Keep Alive connection with Apple servers.
This enables every connection to have its own unique code that acts as an identifier. Thanks to the identifier, messages are routed to a specific device with ease. The connection is encrypted to prevent snooping. Unlike other WhatsApp alternative secure apps that use Signals protocol for security, iMessage uses TLS with a client side certificate. This certificate is requested by an Apple device on activation of the app.
As of iOS 10, users have the ability of sending more expressive and animated messages via iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. One can add new effects, sketches and bigger emojis to all conversations. Thanks to seamless collaboration with third party apps, users are able to create and share content right from within the app. Users can also collaborate with other users, decorate their conversations with stickers, share a song and much more. Using the App store for iMessage, you can download apps to use with iMessage. There are apps that will require additional purchases. By setting up family sharing, you can use Ask to Buy feature to control app downloads and in-app purchases.
If you have an Apple watch, you can read and reply to messages. The watch will give you a gentle tap to let you know that a new message is available. All you have to do is raise your wrist, read and reply to the message. You can even preset replies by using Scribble or even record a response. With hundreds of emojis currently available, you can bring your expressions to life with just a tap of your finger.
The best instant messaging apps are designed with the ability of allowing users to chat and make HD voice calls with family and friends from around the world. Unlike the short messaging service where you are required to subscribe to a plan offered by a service provider, top instant messaging apps use internet connection.
If mobile connectivity is not available, users have the chance of switching to Wi-Fi connection. This allows you to continue chatting and messaging with family and friends. To improve user’s privacy and security, end to end encryption has been enabled as a default feature for the best WhatsApp alternatives. If you are looking for the best messaging apps for iPhone and Android, I suggest the following – WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Google Allo, iMessage and Snapchat.