Best messaging apps for iPhone

Online chatting is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family throughout the day, and there are dozens of useful messaging apps that offer great features for doing so. Whether you want free voice and video calls, emoji reactions, or vanishing selfies, here's my list for messaging apps that stand out from the crowd.


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Facebook's Messenger: It's partly on the list because practically everyone in the industrialized world has it, but partly because it's more than just a messaging app. Sure, you can send photos, stickers, GIFs, and videos to individuals or groups on Facebook, but you can also send money, too. So, if your buddy tells you he is going to pick up a pizza on the way to your house, you can send him your half of the check before he even arrives.

Personally, my favorite aspect of Messenger is its awesome selection of response GIFs. Why say it when you can show it?

If you use Facebook, you need the Messenger app. Give it a try. You may be surprised at how much fun you can have chatting with — and paying — your friends.


Snapchat is the voice of a new chatty generation: You take a picture or video of a moment in time, share it with others, and viewers can only see those Snaps for a few seconds (unless they take a screenshot). Snapchat gives you a glimpse into your friends' life events — the little pieces of the day that come and go. The app's photo tools include filters, stickers, text overlays, and doodles.

You don't even have to take a picture to use Snapchat: You can also send text messages in case you don't want to participate in the whole narcissism of the Selfie. But, chances are, they'll still probably send you pictures of themselves.

If you like sending and receiving photos, and love to live in the now, you'll enjoy messaging with Snapchat.


WhatsApp Messenger is a big hit with mobile device users: It lets you send and receive chats, phone calls, photos, and videos — none of which counts toward your minutes and messages limit. (It does so by using your data plan, however, so it's not completely free.) The app also lets you message large groups of people using the Broadcast tool.

The thing that makes WhatsApp stand out is just how easy it is to start using it. You don't have to create a new username or remember a pin: It loads your iPhone contacts so you can immediately tell which of your friends is already on the service.

If you want a messaging app that requires practically no setup time and doesn't charge for international calls, try WhatsApp.


Telegram is a great app for businesses. You can send and receive all manner of files, including PDFs, Word documents, and more. All of it is saved in the company's secure cloud storage. You can create a group chat with up to 200 people at once.

If you find yourself needing a little extra privacy, you can open up a secret chat in real-time with someone. Secret chats use end-to-end encryption and includes a self-destruct timer, so your conversation can disappear forever.

If you want the added privacy of self-destructing chats that can't be forwarded, or think you may want to chat with your 200 friends all at once, Telegram is for you.


BBM: It's not just for Blackberry anymore. With the BBM app, you can chat with people that are using any type of smartphone. You can send voice messages, and even make calls with other BBM contacts. Send and receive large files through the chat window and allow friends to see where you are at by sharing your location with Glympse integration.

You can control how long conversations and attachments are available to the recipient, and you can retract messages, too. Group chats are great for sharing to-do lists, events, and more.

BBM also features Channels, which are public profiles where individuals and groups post content, like events, news, and even contests. So, you can message your friends and coworkers while reading news that is important to you without having to leave the app.

If you know people that use a Blackberry device, get BBM so you can freely chat with them. If you don't know anyone that uses a Blackberry, you may still like the business-friendly features that BBM has to offer.


LINE is this wonderland of messaging where the hills are made of ice-cream and the chats are made of emojis. Almost every word that you type will automatically reveal an emoji that you can use instead. The sticker options are amazing, too. There are hundreds of sticker packs, many of them animated, with some of your favorite Disney, Sanrio, and Nintendo characters.

LINE is more than just a messaging app. It is also a social networking site. As soon as you sign up, you will automatically create a profile page, where you can post status updates, pictures, and more. Friends can like and comment on your posts without having to start up a conversation with you.

If, in your mind, you live in a world where the clouds are cotton candy and the rivers flow with Sprite, you will definitely love LINE.

Your favorite?

Didn't see your favorite messaging app? Which one do you use and why does it stand out from the rest?

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).