With over 1 billion users in 180 countries worldwide, WhatsApp is definitely one of the most popular messaging apps.Facebook acquiring WhatsApp in 2014 had left security-conscious users and privacy experts concerned. After all, Facebook and some of its third-party apps were involved in multiple security breaches that resulted in thousands of users getting their private information compromised. However, WhatsApp has always maintained the same stance that it is a separate app that is dedicated to creating a secure messaging platform.
WhatsApp can even store your data outside of your device. You could create a back-up with a Cloud service. Earlier, chat history wasn’t encrypted and Cloud service providers and hackers were able to easily read your conversations. But now WhatsApp has started encrypting the back-ups but it hasn’t stopped safety and privacy issues becoming a concern for WhatsApp users.
WhatsApp still has safety issues, both on your device and with external services. Making changes to your WhatsApp privacy settings can only help you to an extent. These issues are more than enough to get people scrambling around to check some reliable alternatives to WhatsApp.
Here are 5 safer alternatives to WhatsApp that you should consider checking out.
Signal is a free messaging app that has strong encryption and works well on every mobile platform. Just like other messaging apps, Signal is simple to use and it offers both voice and video calling so that you don’t miss out on any features that WhatsApp offers.
Signal also includes desktop installation files that’ll allow you to use the app on your computer, similar to WhatsApp web.
Each and every message will be encrypted, which means only the sender and the receiver will be able to read them. The messages are unreadable to hackers. Signal makes use of open-source encryption that allows the experts to test it and find any potential bugs to make the app even more secure.
Unlike on WhatsApp, Signal users will be able to choose to let the messages disappear after selecting the automatic deletion after a certain time interval. This will guarantee privacy even if someone gains access to your smartphone.
- End-to-end encryption
- Available on both mobile and PC
- Disappearing messages
- No animated emojis
Threema is a great messaging app that promises complete privacy. It is based in Switzerland, a country renowned for its pro-privacy laws. The contact lists and information is stored solely on the phone and not in the app. Unlike WhatsApp, the messages on Threema are deleted as soon as they’re delivered. Moreover, you’ll be able to connect to people using the 8-digit Threema ID instead of your phone number, which will further protect your privacy.
Threema will provide end-to-end encryption and all types of messages, including texts, group chats, shared files, and voice calls. It’ll even encrypt your status messages so no one will be able to keep track of what you post online. The messages can only be read by the sender and the intended receiver.
Similar to WhatsApp web, Threema can be used on your computer’s web browser and it also offers formatting features like sending files and locations. But unlike WhatsApp, it doesn’t stop there. It offers more benefits including creating polls, leaving “like” feedback on individual chat messages, and you can even password-protect particular chats or hide them.
- Using home numbers isn’t mandatory
- More text formatting features than WhatsApp
- Verify the contacts with QR codes
- Password protect the chats
- Paid app
With over 200 million active users, Telegram is definitely a popular alternative to WhatsApp. This cloud-based app works across multiple platforms. Just like WhatsApp, it makes use of the double-tick system to see when someone has received/read your message while it also supports multimedia file-sharing. The app will feature default end-to-end encryption for audio calls, ensuring that no third-party can listen to your calls. However, encryption for messages does require to be manually turned on for preventing storage.
Unlike WhatsApp, Telegram offers the feature to automatically delete the messages after a certain time.
- User-friendly platform
- Open-source software
- Cloud-based, meaning you won’t lose your material
- Create their own standard encryption, that has sometimes been criticized
- Encryption isn’t by default and has to be manually turned on
Protected extensively by European data retention laws and end-to-end encryption, Wire is a fairly popular messaging app. You can either create a free personal account or a paid business account that has additional features and support. Wire offers 1:1 as well as group screen sharing while its voice and video communications are second to none. It comes with support for audio filtering and multimedia file sharing. It is available for every major platform and you’ll be able to log in to your account from as many as eight synced devices.
Format text using bold and italics, optimize file sizes for easy sharing, and create lists within chats. Unlike WhatsApp, Wire offers added privacy by allowing you to set timers to automatically delete messages.
- Secure chats
- Use 8 devices simultaneously
- Time messages to get deleted automatically
- Format-rich conversations
- Paid app
Riot.IM is a highly versatile and secure messaging and video calling app that uses VoIP and end-to-end encryption for messages. Every user will receive a unique ID and the ID will be used instead of phone numbers to help protect your anonymity.
It works on open-source software while it also has its developers and bots that help the users interact with the software.
PC – itsfoss.com
It has conversation rooms, private rooms, and public chat rooms for communication. Moreover, the desktop client is a clean, friendly interface and the mobile app is available in seven different languages.
- Makes use of unique IDs instead of phone numbers
- Clean, friendly desktop client and mobile app
- Open-source software
- Encryption isn’t enabled by default and will have to be manually switched on
There you have it. Five amazing alternatives to WhatsApp that’ll let you use the same features (if not more) in a more secure way. All of these suggested apps are known for their strong encryption and privacy policies.