These are the best private photo sharing apps for iPhone

From self destructing pictures to secure and encrypted messaging, these are the best private messaging and photo sharing apps for iPhone!

Looking for the best iPhone apps to let you share photos and send messages both privately and securely? Whether you'd like to send photos that you don't want to come back to haunt you or you just value your privacy, there are lots of apps in the App Store that can prevent people from intercepting or saving the photos you send them. A lot of private photo sharing apps can even make photos self destruct after the intended recipient views them. So what private photo and messaging apps for iPhone are the absolute best?


Best private messaging and photo sharing apps for iPhone: Snapchat

Snapchat was one of the first private photo sharing apps available for iPhone and it's still one of the most widely used. With Snapchat you can take photos or videos and then choose how long you'd like the recipient to be able to view them for. The recipient then holds their finger down in order to view the photo. Once the time is up, they won't be able to view it anymore. You can also use the My Story feature of Snapchat to share continuous snaps that all your friends can view. You can type on photo and draw on them before sharing too. Snapchat now supports sending messages as well. However, keep in mind there are many apps like SnapKeep available in the App Store that let folks save Snapchats indefinitely with very little effort and will also bypass Snapchat's screenshot detection. So keep that in mind and consider what you're sending.

If you want a photo sharing app that is more social and entertaining than it is private, Snapchat is one of the most widely used.


Best private messaging and photo sharing apps for iPhone: Sicher

Sicher is a new private messaging app by SHAPE, the same developers of the popular instant messaging app IM+. Even though Sicher is a completely encrypted messaging app at its core, it does support file transfer for many different formats including photos, videos, PDFs, documents, spreadsheets, and more. Sicher boasts that it features true end-to-end encryption, private push notifications, group chats, password protection, and self destruction options for both messages and files sent.

If you want a messaging and photo sharing app that features true encryption along with support for many file types, you want Sicher.


Best private messaging and photo sharing apps: Avocado

Avocado is a messaging and photo sharing app for couples. Simply create an account and link up with your significant other and you're ready to start sharing. Not only can you send messages, photos, and videos, you can also link up calendars and even be alerted if the other person's battery is dying. More importantly, photos and files you share via Avocado do not end up in your Camera Roll, which makes it completely walled off from the rest of your device.

If you only need to share private photos and messages with your significant other, Avocado is what you want.


Best private messaging and photo sharing apps: Bonfyre

Bonfyre lets you chat and share files privately. Start by creating a Bonfyre of your own and inviting people, or joining an existing one. Once you're in, you can start chatting and sending files. Only people within that specific group can view files shared. You can also restrict settings on groups you create as to who else can join, or whether members can invite others. Each Bonfyre is also given a unique QR code that can be scanned in order to join a Bonfyre.

For a group chat and file sharing service that's easy to use and a little more private than the messages app, give Bonfyre a try.


Best private messaging and photo sharing apps for iPhone: Confide

Confide is a private messaging app that only lets you read messages by dragging your finger across the screen to read each line. Once you've read the entire messages, the words fall away and aren't accessible again. Not only does Confide feature end-to-end encryption much like Sicher, it is also screenshot proof on the recipient end due to the nature of how Confide works. You can send messages to any of your existing contacts or to anyone you have on Facebook. However, there isn't currently support for image and file attachments in Confide.

For screenshot proof private messages that are encrypted on both ends, give Confide a try.

Cyber Dust

Best private messaging and photo sharing apps for iPhone: Cyber Dust

Cyber Dust is a chat and photo sharing replacement app that automatically self destructs messages and photos after 30 seconds. For the most part, Cyber Dust works the way any other chat app would with inline images and messages, complete with read and sent receipts. Cyber Dust also lets you add text to your images as well as share emojis and stickers. As for privacy, Cyber Dust in encrypted and while it can't prevent screenshots, it does offer screenshot detection so you know if someone is saving your conversations. Cyber Dust has stated that group photo and video messaging is coming soon as well.

For a more chat like experience complete with encryption and screenshot detection, take Cyber Dust for a spin.

Your picks for best private photo sharing apps?

If you share a lot of private photos, we aren't here to judge, what apps do you prefer and why? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

Note: Originally published, June 2014. Updated, September 2014.