Best WhatsApp alternatives for Facebook haters

Best WhatsApp alternatives for Facebook haters

If Facebook buying Whatsapp means you're busy looking for a new instant messaging app to call your own then here are the best alternatives for you to consider!

Let's be clear — if you used WhatsApp today, very little will change today and likely tomorrow. According to WhatsApp's statement, not only will they stay an independent app, they'll stay an autonomous business unit. So, like Instagram, we may see some integration, even account sharing, WhatsApp won't become Facebook Messenger or vice versa, at least not any time soon. If, however, you absolutely can't stand even the idea of Facebook owning your instant messenger (IM) app, then there are some alternatives. So, if you're determined to ditch WhatsApp, where should you go? Here are our top 5 favorites!

Apple iMessage

WhatsApp alternative: Apple iMessage

I know you know about iMessage since it's built right into your iPhone but if you haven't looked at it in a while, it's worth a revisit. It makes the most sense for people whose family and friends are likewise all-in on Apple — iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It supports multiple media types, including photos, videos, audio, location, contact cards, etc., has option read-status indicators, and can send and receive via phone number or mail address. It's not cross-platform, however, so for anyone with family and friends on Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, etc. it'll default back to SMS/MMS and that's typically a deal-breaker. Messages also doesn't support video or audio calling, but Apple does provide the separate FaceTime app for that.

If most of the people you care most about are on iOS or OS X, give Apple's Messages app a try!

  • Built-in.

Google Hangouts

WhatsApp alternative: Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts packs a lot of instant messaging punch, especially for groups. Yes, loving Google while hating Facebook isn't the most consistent mindset in the world, but to each their own, right? Hangouts supports text, photos, and videos, as well as audio and video calls. Their group video calls are the best in the business, and their group messaging provides not only read status, but who-read status. It works on iPhone and iPad as well as Android, and in any modern web browser on Mac or Windows. There's no native Mac or Windows client, however, and no app for Windows Phone or BlackBerry. If you're deeply tied into the Google ecosystem you likely already know about Hangouts, but if you're trying to get away from WhatsApp, give it another look.

If you love Google and your friends and family are all on iOS or Android, check out Hangouts!

BlackBerry Messenger (BBM)

BBM is the grand-daddy of mobile messaging, and the app WhatsApp aped to get to the top. BBM pioneered the read state and has continuously been at the forefront of IM with features like groups, voice and video calling, and most recently, channels. Sadly, they waited far too long to go cross-platform, but they've recently expanded to both iPhone and Android, meaning everyone but Windows Phone can now get in on the action. There aren't any native Mac or Windows clients, and BlackBerry's quirky ID system only lets you stay logged into one device at a time, but there is a brand new version for iPhone with a bunch of new features, including location sharing.

If you grew up on a BlackBerry you'll feel right at home with BBM for iPhone.

Microsoft Skype

WhatsApp alternative: Microsoft Skype

Skype is a lot like that old joke about democracy — the worst except for everything else. As an audio and even video calling service, nothing has proven as robust and resilient as Skype. That Microsoft and eBay before them wasted years without substantially improving Skype and it still works as well as it does is a testament to good a start it had. So, while I remain apoplectic about the many announces Skype still stymies us with, there's no denying they work on almost all platforms, with native apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and Windows. In addition to voice and video calls, they have instant messaging with photo support.

If you need messaging that's absolutely everywhere and sync isn't high on your priority list, check out Skype.

Kik Messenger

WhatsApp alternative: Kik Messenger

Kik Messenger isn't owned by Facebook, Google, Microsoft, or anyone else right now. If you absolutely, positively don't want a big corporation involved with your instant messaging, then it's an alternative you can more happily check out. Kik Messenger supports iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone, and all the content types you'd expect.

Line, WeChat, GroupMe, and other options

There are other hugely popular instant messaging services in Asia, including Naver's Line, which is big in Japan, and Tencent's WeChat, which is big in China. Unless you live in those areas, however, you'll have to convince your friends and family to make the switch with you and that can be a challenge. They're worth checking out, but you'll likely want to stick with what's popular in your area. Likewise, Microsoft owns another messaging service, GroupMe, that might interest people focused on group sharing on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.

Your favorite messaging app?

What's your favorite messaging app right now? If it's WhatsApp, will you be welcoming your new Facebook overlords? If not, what is it and why did you pick it?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Best WhatsApp alternatives for Facebook haters


If I "text" someone through my Gchat app on BB, they receive it if they are on Google Hangouts, the successor to Gchat.

:O Rene, I'm surprised viber didn't make it to the list, even though I don't use it, I dare to say it is a lot more popular than others mentioned.

Whatsapp is my favorite for several reasons. It's simple, works with VoiceOver, has excellent audio quality, you can send texts when voice is inappropriate and is on so many platforms. I want to use Zello, but the biggest issue is that the audio quality really sucks when you're in channels. Also there isn't any texting ability. I do like it for its Windows client though. If they could get a Mac client, fix the audio channel quality and add texting capability, it would be pretty sweet.

Nobody even knows what they are gonna do with Whatsapp yet. Instagram is basically the same (though with an occasional ad granted i never see them). I think people should take a wait and see attitude and not freak out. I don't use any chat services by the way. I have unlmited text.

iMessage works just fine. I'm sure Whatsapp will get worked into some Zucker incarnation. Maybe let it die.

iMessage doesn't work just fine, it often gets messages out of order making for very confusing conversations, and sometimes messages that appear on the iPhone don't arrive on my iPad and vice versa.

Viber works fine for me

It boggles my mind that people actually use Facebook Messenger. If you have Facebook's App, then there's no need for the messenger.

It's also boggling my mind that Facebook is not just Paper already. Paper is far superior to the Facebook App, and I rarely check any tabs besides the Facebook one. It is a far fluid experience, in my opinion.

I love paper too and I don't use any of the sections other than the Facebook one but most people just don't like change. They don't like gestures and they don't want to change their user experience. I can't explain it but it is what it is.

Sent from the iMore App

It makes sense that FB messenger and the App are separate -- at least for me it does :).

Messenger lets me get in and out of FB Messenger without having to wait for the timeline to load before I can tap the messenger tab. It's a far better experience than using the FB app if all you wanted to do is send someone a message via FB.

Paper is awesome.

You forgot to mention Telegram that it is the same at whatsapp! But it don't put limit to what you share like whatsapp do!

Sent from the iMore App

I agree... Telegram is the best... It is just like Whatsapp... Lots of my friends are moving to Telegram now because they cant afford to pay for yearly fees in Whatsapp... In my country, (Malaysia,located near Singapore), credit card is a privilige that not everybody can afford...

So yeah... Telegram is the best choice right now... For groups, it let you added more than 50 people... Unlike Whatsapp...

Sent from the iMore App

iMessage, BBM and Skype. BBM by the way they did really good job with BBM 2.0, specially with file sharing from dropbox and all the new additional things,

I implore you to stay away from Kik, otherwise you will be harassed by teenagers on a daily basis, even when you ignore them, they keep bothering you.

I prefer BBM since it keeps me connected to my friends and family in my home country n now with VoIP which has excellent voice quality, makes it even better

Sent from the iMore App

I mainly use BBM and Line to communicate with family ajnd friends. Whatsapp and skype on occassions. Hangouts is definitely great for group video chats.

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I don't understand why people are afraid of losing any privacy. First they put their entire life's worth of information on Facebook, from birth to their entire previous relationship.. And NOW they become afraid of losing their provacy? People are so dimb at times.

Also, I think Telegram Messenger is by far the best mobile messenger out there, why is it not mentioned at all? It's even the number 1 free app in the store right now.

Sent from the iMore App

I've used Navers Line for about 2 years now. I just wish it had an iPad version but it's a pretty solid service the call quality is good. And honestly the stickers make it fun if you like anime line has several sticker packs including Tiger and Bunny as well as Attack on Titan. I like Marvel Comics and they have Avengers stickers.

Whatsapp and Skype has one thing in common which other platforms (beside sms) does not: They're available for most platforms out there. Not just iOS, Android and Windows Phone, but also Symbian, Nokia S40, Maemo, Meego, BlackBerry 10, etc. That was, and still is, the strength of Whatsapp and Skype.

I use LINE. Love the stickers and it has a desktop client (not great but better than nothing). Skype is abysmal in my experience; deleted it.

I don't understand the hysteria around FB and WhatsApp BTW. Not much seems to have changed after FB acquired Instagram.

iMessage on a Mac is pretty pointless as far as instant communications go for some people. For example, I can't be on my Mac most of my day, so it wouldn't work for everyone. Not that this needs a tweak, just putting it out there for people.

I don't consider iMessage as good as WhatsApp. First of all, it's iOS only and most of my friends use Android, and it doesn't support group messaging.

Posted via the Android iMore App!

I use Wicker; security and privacy is more important to me. Telegram is another good one. Kik is full of pedophiles....I don't go near it....