WhatsApp is a super popular messaging app around the world, but there are plenty of reasons you may not want to keep it around. Facebook — now known as Meta — owns WhatsApp, and that may not sit well with you due to the company's past actions. Or, maybe you don't like the features that WhatsApp offers and are looking for something a little different. Whatever the reason, the good news is you don't have to use WhatsApp; you can use one of the best WhatsApp alternatives instead.
I know, it seems obvious, right? But if you mostly have friends and family that use Apple products, Apple's built-in Messages app is the perfect communication app. It's built right into your iPhone, best iPad, and Mac, and it's constantly updated with new features, emojis, stickers, plus UI improvements as Apple continues to make changes to its iOS and macOS platforms every year. And, iMessages are sent using end-to-end encryption, meaning no one, not even Apple, can access your communications.
Obviously, it is most useful if the people you want to communicate with also use the Messages app, but if that sounds like you, why bother installing another app? If the best iPhone app is already pre-installed, why not use it?
Telegram Messenger has been gaining popularity in recent years and is very similar to WhatsApp. The design and layout will all look and feel pretty familiar to you, and it offers a lot of the same functionality, too. You can easily send photos, videos, GIFs, and stickers all using Telegram's built-in features, and it can send documents like PDFs, MP3s, and others.
The great thing about Telegram Messenger is the encryption. Everything you send on Telegram is encrypted using a combination of 256-bit symmetric AES encryption, 2048-bit RSA encryption, and Diffie–Hellman secures key exchange. In layman's terms, your messages and communication are as secure as they can be using a third-party app.
Fast and secure messaging that uses a pretty similar interface to WhatsApp. It's a great replacement if you don't like the idea of giving your data to Facebook.
You may think of Google Hangouts as a video calling service, but it offers a lot in the way of instant messaging, as well. Hangouts allows you to send texts, photos, and videos, on top of making and receiving audio and video calls. Hangouts' group messaging provides not only read receipts but also says who read them, so it's easy to keep track of what information people have seen. It works on iPhone, iPad, and Android, as well as any web browser on Mac or Windows, so chances are your friends and family will be able to use it no matter what they own.
Just because Google Hangouts is a great video service doesn't mean its messaging abilities aren't up to par.
Yes, Skype is still around, and yes, it's not just for video calls. There's isn't too much to say about Skype; it does a little bit of everything pretty reliably. It's easy to see who's online and who's offline. You can text, call, video call, send photos, GIFs, stickers, and so much more to any contact you wish.
Skype also has a native app for pretty much every platform you can imagine. iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, Android, if you have a device that can connect to the internet, you likely can get Skype on it.
Skype has been around for a long time, and it keeps getting better. It's available for practically every platform you can think of, making it a perfect way to keep in touch with many different people.
Kik Messenger has been around for ages, and it has an extensive user base. Its messaging is fast and free, you can make audio and video calls, and there are tons of stickers, GIFs, memes, and other media you can send to anyone you want. Kik also handles group chats quite well, and you can add a ton of people to a group chat, no problem.
Kik also has a bit of a social networking flair to it. You can find groups that talk about certain topics and meet people if you want, but you don't have to use those features if you don't want to.
Super great for huge groups of people as it handles group chats really well. Plus, it has a full suite of different media you can send to spice up your chat.
WeChat is only really useful if you have any contacts in China because that's where it's based and primarily used. I have friends in China, and WeChat is the only way to reliably communicate with them due to many other apps being inaccessible. It can do everything you want a messaging app to do, though, including texts, audio messages, audio calls, video calls, and more.
If you can't beat 'em — join 'em
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While we like our suggestions listed above as WhatsApp replacements, there's nothing saying you have to switch from WhatsApp. If you already have a ton of family and friends that use it, or you just can't find a suitable replacement no matter how hard you try, your sticking with WhatsApp is perfectly fine.
Use the app that works best for you; however, if you are choosing WhatsApp, check out our WhatsApp ultimate guide and learn how to use the messaging service to its fullest ability.
Updated February 2022: Updated for iOS 15.
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Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.