A young girl using iPhone messaging app to send a message abroad
Technology

14 Best Messaging Apps for iPhone Reviewed

By

What are messaging apps?

As familiar as we are with iPhone messaging apps flooding our space nowadays, they were nowhere to be seen some 25 years ago. When Nokia launched its first SMS-enabled phone back in 1997, people were still coming to grips with the advancement of calls being made not just from landlines but also from cellular phones. Network notifications till then had been limited to voice mails. Phones were not equipped with the 10-digit multi-tap keyboard we now are familiar with.

Fast forward some two decades, and with the commonality of smartphones, dozens of messaging apps have entered the marketplace. Text messages will always have that edge over phone calls or emails, allowing people to connect in real-time.

The latest messaging apps capitalize on the convenience of chats blending into your daily routine. With each one offering an abundance of options for file, photo, video, and GIF sharing (among others), a messaging app is, simply put, a platform or medium through which instant communication is possible.

The iPhone messages app allows most of the sharing options facilitated by chat apps these days, but the number of people using smartphones is constantly rising.

How it’s becoming a trend in the fast-moving world?

The concept of a one-on-one thread gives context to every conversation, a personalization aspect that businesses have taken advantage of to market their products.

Considering that there are over 6 billion global smartphone users and rising, this means that the landscape for instant messaging apps will continue to widen and grow.

Seamless video conferencing, chat rooms, remote coworking spaces and online communities are just some of the outstanding features of the rapid evolution of iPhone messaging apps.

When deciding which messages app to keep, it is useful to consider your specific needs first. Since the pandemic began, most businesses have gradually transitioned towards work from home or hybrid model. Such adaptations also require effective communication and collaboration for teams to follow deadlines and accomplish tasks.

With most iPhone messaging apps offering end-to-end encryption, the choice mostly boils down to which one your family, friends and colleagues are using.

Whatsapp messenger, the leading giant in the instant messaging universe, is not considered by some to be the most secure. It is free after all.

Like Slack introducing HubSpot integration into its framework, some apps have tried to become more inclusive while staying in their niche.

The pandemic has also seen an exponential growth of collaborative iPhone messaging apps, with companies becoming more inclusive to increase their users, such as Facebook acquiring Whatsapp in 2014.

Most businesses had not explored the option of working from home or hybrid models before Covid 19. For many, the transition proved difficult to manoeuvre initially. Employees and managers both had to become familiar with video conferencing and digitally shared workspaces.

As it turns out, however, people are happier with the new model, with some employees quitting due to being forced to come back to the office.

How messaging has evolved over time?

Messaging through network notifications and protocols was a concept restricted to programmers and emergency communications back in the early days of the internet. Party Line and Talkomatic in the 1970s were precursors of the worldwide web, utilizing earlier, simplified versions of the internet.

Instant messaging became widespread in 1997 when AOL made its appearance. People would now be notified in real-time whenever someone entered or exited a chat. The concept of sending a message and the anxiety and mystery associated with delays in responses was born.

The way AOL revolutionized telecommunication en masse soon had other technology giants following in their footsteps. Yahoo! launched its messenger side-by-side with Microsoft’s MSN Messenger, which facilitated photo sharing and introduced the concept of social network integration.

However, all these instant messengers did not integrate into each other, causing people to miss messages when they were logged out of one. Jabber came up with a solution, combining chat buddies from all three messengers in one place.

All these developments were centred around people specifically logging in to chat on their desktops.

Gchat was introduced by Gmail, allowing online contacts to chat in real-time, while Apple’s iChat soon became commonplace. Precursors of the constant connectivity pervading through everyone’s lives nowadays, these instant services really became part of everyday lives when they were integrated into their routine actions – checking emails and repeatedly opening their phones.

iPhone messaging apps and have now evolved from a simple text to a plethora of options to choose from, often becoming overwhelming.

What does a modern-day iPhone messaging app look like?

When deciding which iPhone messaging apps to keep and which ones to discard, ask yourself, how many do you really need? Some come pre-installed, such as iMessage for iPhones and Hangouts in some Android phones. Some will combine text over network and internet into one, while some offer cross-platform messaging, such as Facebook’s Messenger, allowing messages to be sent over Instagram as well.

The assimilation of real-time, seamless streaming over Discord made it huge in the gaming community, with sub-communities and private chat rooms dedicated to different topics and genres.

Another giant in the business industry, Slack, describes itself as “a messaging app for businesses that connects people to the information they need.”

Some, like Beeper, have realized the width of this constantly evolving landscape and made their product an amalgamation of all these messaging services, giving people the ease of one screen with all their conversations in one place.

Almost all have the basic features now considered commonplace, such as short voice messages, location, and screen sharing.

Some have gone further, such as Google Docs becoming the most popular chat app for teens with increased laptop use in schools. It’s an example of how even cloud services incorporate conversations for better collaboration.

Companies have started customizing their apps to ensure a simplistic view that covers major, commonplace actions and the choice of delving deeper to explore more options.

Some giants like Viber have mostly stuck to the limited services they’ve always provided, going so far as to keep the same dial pad as network calling through phones.

The overabundance of options can itself seem like clutter to the untrained eye. So what about the new user?

Make it simple. Keep it short.

The following list of 14 iPhone messaging apps provides alternatives for all your specific requirements.

Talk Home App | iPhone Messaging App

Available Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Pricing: FREE

Best For: International calling and texting

Overview: For making high-quality international calls using the internet and having the choice of using domestic phone lines, Talk Home App provides users with a wonderful experience. With a simple layout showing major actions, namely, call, message, top-up and transfer, the app strives to facilitate its users in the best way.

Smartphones have become more commonplace, but reliable internet is still a luxury in many countries worldwide. Talk Home takes advantage of existing phone lines, with rates as low as 1p/min and other amazing bundles, giving you more value for money.

The team at Talk Home knows your time and money are valuable. For people calling their loved ones in another country, every second and every penny is precious. The app wants to ensure you’re never away from your family.

Key features: No internet needed, international top-ups and in-app buddy transfers, cheap bundles, seamless calling

Whatsapp

Available Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Pricing: FREE

Best For: File, photo, audio, video sharing, video calling and texting

Overview: With nearly 2 billion users in 2019, Whatsapp is the most widely used messaging platform out there. Its pre-existing user base ensures that newcomers with their first smartphones download this app before any other service.

Providing end-to-end encryption, it is a secure messaging app boasting more than 60 billion messages shared every day! No wonder Facebook acquired Whatsapp in 2014.

Businesses are also slowly realizing the potential for marketing through these instant messengers, and Whatsapp cashed in on it. They made a separate app for Whatsapp Business, allowing added features such as broadcasted messages and direct payments.

Key features: Group voice and video calls, payment options, disappearing messages, advanced chats search

Telegram

Available Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Pricing: FREE

Best For: Secure conversations, large chat rooms

Overview: Marketing itself as the best encrypted messaging app out there, Telegram has become an alternative for those unsatisfied with Whatsapp’s security. Offering end-to-end encryption for every conversation, Telegram is increasing its user base daily.

A free and open-source program, Telegram also has cross-platform support in addition to other sharing options. As a matter of fact, it is so private that governments aren’t pleased about their people using it.

It uses 2048-bit RSA encryption and 256-bit symmetrical AES encryption, making it a free, secure luxury for everyone. Funded by donations, they have vowed to never generate revenue or sell data.

Key features: Chat rooms with up to 200,000 participants, no limit on the size of file sharing

Viber

Available Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Pricing: FREE

Best For: International calling and chats

Overview: Even though Viber is relatively unknown in some parts of the world (read: USA), it is big in others. Providing an overall experience encompassing video messages and self-destruct chats can be a bit heavy for older model phones.

For a chat experience, it is well-rounded. For users looking for a minimal experience, it can be overwhelming with all the options, such as colour-coded encryptions for chats.

With more than 1 billion users worldwide, Viber’s wide user base is confident of its call quality, urging friends and colleagues to join as well.

Key features: full multimedia sharing, seamless calling

Skype

Available Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Pricing: FREE

Best For: Voice and video calling and conferencing

Overview: One of the most well-known and recognizable apps out there, Skype, like Viber, has been around for a while now. Offering calls to real numbers as well for a nominal charge, Skype strives to make its users’ calling experience the best.

Offering all the basic chat options such as GIF, photo, and file sharing, it also has above par support for cross-platform integration and multiple chats.

For the layman and minimal user, there is also a Lite version providing a nominal experience. The only disadvantage that people face is that spammers can send messages easily.

Line

Available Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Pricing: FREE

Best For: Secure calls over the internet and phone lines, timeline news feed

Overview: with over 600 million users globally, Line is huge in Asia. Combining the news feed feature of Facebook, where you can see your friends’ activities, Line offers its users sharing posts and comments.

Group chats can have up to 500 members, with support for encrypting chats as well. There is also the option of setting up chat rooms for collective video watching and setting up and sharing music albums.

Users must register with a working phone number to access their contacts on Line. Apart from free calls to other Line members, users also can place calls over domestic phone lines.

Key features: voice calling to landlines and mobile phones, chat rooms

iMessage

Available platforms: App Store | Google Play

Pricing: FREE

Best For: Group chats, full-size photo and video sharing

Overview: Combining emails and text messages into one platform, iMessage provides a range of useful features that set it apart from the rest. It also gives users the option of backing up their messages to iCloud. This means your important messages are never lost.

Like Venmo, iMessage gives you the option to send and receive money from your contacts directly through the app using Apple Pay.

There’s even an option to set up your unique Memoji. Take your online presence to the next level with this cool feature, using a pre-set Memoji or your own gallery.

Key Features: Customizable read receipts, chat with businesses, Animoji talking messages

WeChat

Available Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Pricing: FREE

Best For: Marketing, payments, grocery shopping

Overview: Known as the “super app” in China, WeChat lives up to its name. The company has invested heavily in providing users with an unforgettable experience; one that is easy, reliable, and secure.

It has become the go-to for most actions people needed multiple apps for, such as planning holidays, contacting customer support directly, and buying goods and services.

The developers have also added the useful feature of scanning QR codes to quickly add new contacts and chat immediately. Apart from an E-wallet and news feed that updates people on what their friends are doing, there’s also the feature of taking out loans against no collateral. Amazing, right?

Key features: advanced search engine, booking hotels, movie, flight and train tickets, flash sales, WeChat Client Relationship Management

Kik

Available Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Pricing: FREE

Best For: bot chats and help, anonymity

Overview: Designed to resemble the appearance of typical texting or SMS, Kik markets itself as a safe and comfortable environment for users and communities to get together and share. As opposed to phone numbers, Kik uses profiles and usernames. People then share their profiles through social media.

Kik came up with the option to decide which chats you want to prioritize and which not to. You can choose to instantly see a message from someone, such as notifying a friend already on the platform.

Apart from full multimedia sharing, Kik also offers its users to see when the other person is typing. This will let you know if they’re about to send a message in a few seconds; another example of social media integration in our lives.

Key Features: Group conversations, customizable chats and profiles

IMO

Available Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Pricing: FREE

Best For: multiple languages support, chat features

Overview: Available on PC and phones, IMO provides its users with another level of security. You do not need a SIM to register, allowing Facebook login, as well as end-to-end encryption for one-to-one and group chats.

Its own separate cloud service allows IMO to give its users encrypted space and access to that storage. There is also an advanced search feature that looks through chats and even the content shared inside them.

Its minimal app size (32.2MB on iOS) has become the go-to for many people using older models. The app can also be optimized for tablet use as well.

Key Features: 30 languages, contact integration, 4.8 rating in the store

Messenger

Available Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Pricing: FREE

Best For: clear audio calls, bot chat

Overview: With over 1.3 billion worldwide users, Messenger is one of the most widely used apps out there. Allowing options such as desktop use, it can lower your distractions, especially from the News Feed.

Even setting up payments is as easy as tap, tap, go! There are also collaborative gaming experiences, with the games built right into Messenger.

For those wishing to guard their privacy, secret conversations are also an option. While sharing news, recipes, and booking flights etc., are now commonplace among these iPhone messaging apps, Facebook continues to quietly add new ones, always looking to enhance the service.

Key Features: cross-platform support, scribble chat, QR code scanning

Wire

Available Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Pricing: FREE

Best For: Secure chats, easy registration, extensive browser capability

Overview: Slightly shifting its focus from a secure, consumer experience-based app to a corporate-biased one, Wire has an open-source code available on GitHub.

Giving users the option to register with even throw-away email addresses is the optimal experience for privacy-conscious people. Thus, Wire has the edge over other iPhone messaging apps requiring phone numbers or verifiable email addresses.

Based in Switzerland, the haven for cyber-security, the staff at Wire ensures that your data is stored on your device only. Otherwise, it temporarily stays in EU-based servers. Storing all data on user devices gives the app even more credibility, emphasizing personal data security.

Key features: Self-destructing messages, transparency reports, corporate market bias

Signal

Available Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Pricing: FREE

Best For: group calls with up to 8 members, secure messaging

Overview: Signal is one of those iPhone messaging apps that gained momentum following the fallout of Whatsapp’s changed user and privacy policy. Signal provides the latest encryption service for your chats. Signal uses its open-source protocol to ensure your personal information and chats are never shown to third parties, not even the company itself.

The only drawback with Signal is that you need a phone number to register. They make up for it by never storing user records, so even if someone knows you’re on Signal, they can never find out who you’re talking to.

The company has even given users the option of setting up a separate screen lock specifically for the app. At the same time, messages from certain conversations can be prevented from showing up as notifications on your home screen.

Key Features: extra verification layer for calls, self-destructing messages, screen lock

Hangouts

Available Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Pricing: FREE

Best For: Cross-platform compatibility, integration with other applications, HD video conferencing

Overview: The advantage of Google Hangouts is that people get to use its corporate settings with the feel of a social network, making them comfortable and easy. Launched as a successor to Google Talk, it integrates your phone number with your Gmail or Google+ account, amalgamating all your conversations in one place.

There is also a feature of a chat watermark, which lets someone know how much of a chat they’ve read when logging in to the service from another device. Google+’s album features allow photos to be shared and uploaded seamlessly.

A powerful integration tool, Hangouts aims to enhance already-installed features and give users an overall better experience.

Key Features: Custom control for admin, auto screen focus, intelligent mute, screen sharing

FAQs:

What is the best text app for iPhone?

There is no one best app that suits the needs of all users. Every person has different requirements, whether for personal use or corporate. Many messaging apps are geared towards separate purposes; Telegram and Signal provide top=notch security, while Hangouts and Wire offer more options for corporate use. Some apps like WeChat and Messenger have now become marketplaces with all their buying options and payment features.

With security threats from both companies themselves and third-party malicious entities, people are generally gearing towards an encrypted experience. Companies nowadays are realizing this and focusing more on addressing this specific area.

What is the best secret texting app?

The abundance of options available with each new version of messaging apps ensures that whatever service you prefer to use will eventually allow secret conversations if it has not already done so.

People value their privacy more than anything. They can also not always be around, such as when someone else is using their phone. Companies are realizing this and focusing their services towards better security and privacy.

How to find the deleted messages on your iPhone?

iPhones by default back up messages to iCloud. They are stored in your personal space on the cloud. This ensures only you have access if needed.

You can go through archived conversations and recently deleted ones, restoring messages as needed.

How to hide messages on iPhone?

Hiding messages on iPhones is easy and simple. Simply select the conversation you wish to hide, tap on the profile icon. You will see several options, including hiding alerts as well as silent notifications. These features allow you to hide messages from specific conversations.

You may also like

Post A Comment

Your email address will not be published.