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 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? If you mostly have friends and family that use Apple products, Apple's built-in Messages app is a perfect communication app. It's built right into your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and it's constantly updated with new features, emojis, stickers, and 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 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.
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 allow 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Updated March 2021: Updated for iOS 14.
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