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15 Best WhatsApp Alternatives for Users in 2021

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Overview: Is WhatsApp Secure?

Launched in 2009, the popular instant messaging app WhatsApp has been there for ages. Back in 2014, the social media giant Facebook took its ownership. Its user base started getting wider and wider with every passing hour until an eventful day in 2019 when the hackers learned that they could infect Whatsapp-installed mobiles with spyware. All they needed to do was call people on WhatsApp and infect their phones with spyware named Pegasus. And, they were able to access everything on the user’s phone remotely, from text messages to location data. The recent debate on the privacy issue has emerged into finding the best WhatsApp alternatives.

Though WhatsApp still remains the top instant messaging app with over 2 billion monthly active users sending over 100 billion messages every single day, people have started raising questions over its security since then. This WhatsApp hack led people to look for other reliable and secure WhatsApp alternatives, and the past few years have seen many popular apps catching people’s attention.

With WhatsApp security breaches getting limelight since 2019, it’s no strange seeing people look for reliable and secure WhatsApp alternatives. That’s why we’ve compiled this comprehensive write-up listing 15 best WhatsApp alternatives for users in 2021.

That’s why we have compiled this comprehensive list of WhatsApp alternatives, letting you know which can cater to your needs the best.

1. Talk Home

Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Best For: Boasting over a million downloads on the Apple store and a 4.5 user rating, Talk Home is a UK based app that’s fast becoming the top choice for people who want to call to places with no reliable internet services.

Intro: Be it Whatsapp or most of the other mainstream communication apps, most of them require two things. First, a fast internet connection. Second, the caller and the receiver need to have the same app installed on their mobile devices.

Talk Home is one app that bypasses both of these requisites intuitively. It relies on a combination of internet and local lines, enabling the caller to connect with anyone on their mobiles or landlines without an internet connection. And that’s also why the receiver won’t need the Talk Home app on their mobile devices. All these things make it a great WhatsApp alternative for international calls.

Pros:

  • Top-quality, crystal-clear calls with no distortion or disconnections
  • 240+ calling destinations worldwide best international calling rates
  • Total transparency, no hidden fees
  • Hosts more than 12 million calls every single month
  • Supports international mobile top-ups to over 500 global networks
  • In-app transfers
  • Super easy to use
  • Highly secure app with end-to-end encryption
  • No affiliation with any group or country

Cons:

  • No free in-app calls and text messages

2. Telegram

Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Best For: Telegram is one of the most famous cross-platform messaging apps worldwide due to its next-level encryption and privacy features. It caters to the needs of anyone who is looking for fast and reliable calls and messaging.

Intro: If you’re looking for a WhatsApp alternative with great attention to speed and security, you cannot ignore Telegram. It offers support for all your devices simultaneously, syncing your messages across all your devices seamlessly. With more than 100 million active monthly users, it is among the 10 most downloaded apps globally.

Telegram allows you to share photos, videos, messages and almost all types of files (zip, doc, mp3, etc.) in addition to creating groups for up to 200,000 people or channels.

Pros:

  • Telegram’s core area of focus is privacy. Unlike similar mainstream messaging apps, most of which are notorious for accessing and sharing your data, Telegram is the secure WhatsApp alternative. It protects your calls and messages with end-to-end encryption and has various other means of securing your data up its sleeve.
  • Telegram offers you unlimited messages for personal as well as business communication. Sending a voice message or connecting with your friends through a video call is completely free.
  • You can even share big files for free with unlimited free space unless they do not exceed the 2GB limit.
  • Set up instant quizzes, surveys, and trivia questions on Telegram for free, to get immediate feedback.

Cons:

  • Everyone may not feel comfortable using Telegram’s interface. For instance, you may feel difficulty in sending and retrieving files if you’re not aware of the channel’s instructions.
  • The sender and receiver both need internet connectivity and app installation.

3. Signal

Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Best For: Surfacing as a free alternative to WhatsApp in recent times, Signal offers free messaging, voice calls, video calls and much more. With its cross-platform compatibility, end-to-end encryption and open-source features, Signal can be a great choice for people wanting added privacy and security.

Intro: Launched in July 2014, Signal relies on end-to-end encryption for all types of communication between its users. It is totally open-source, and its code is available on GitHub. It also underwent an independent audit in 2016, gaining significant respect and reliability.

Pros:

  • Fully open-source and independently audited application
  • Highly secure
  • Audio chat verification
  • No logging of IP addresses
  • Secure and better transfer of files
  • Ability to replace your default messaging app

Cons:

  • Requires you to sign up using your telephone number, which makes a lot of people quite uncomfortable
  • Doesn’t run very smoothly with iOS devices

4. Wire

Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Best For: This app serves to cater to individuals and businesses that prefer security and privacy over all other things in a communication app. It features highly secure, end-to-end encryption across all the communication taking place through it.

Intro: Many believe that Wire can easily lead the rest of the contenders of WhatsApp alternative for chat/messaging, and quite rightly so. It’s top-end security considers all aspects of personal and business privacy, relying primarily on suave end-to-end encryption technology. The industry also knows it as the app being developed by the same team who were behind the development of Skype. It is also evident of its convenient and user-friendly interface.

Pros:

  • With end-to-end encryption for messaging and video calls, Wire may be the safest alternative to WhatsApp for video calls.
  • Supports a multitude of platforms, including Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Trendy and user-friendly interface
  • Open-source infrastructure means no backdoor channelling by different agencies or governments sneaking into your private information.
  • Multiplatform support, allowing you to sign in on up to 8 devices simultaneously.
  • A special sketch feature helps people explain things better when they want

Cons:

  • Cloud synchronisation is missing, which many people want to see in all contemporary communication apps
  • Sometimes lags in its performance on desktops
  • Lacks in various aspects of business usage

5. Riot

Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Best For: This app best suits those who want the functionality and diversity of Slack, but with the flexibility of an open-source platform with a high focus on privacy and security.

Intro: Running by ‘Vector’ in its beta version, Riot is a UK-based app striving hard to combine the best of communication and productivity in a single platform. This app is built on Matrix, enabling the users to work their way across different apps in tweaking and hosting their own version, thanks to its open-source nature. Teams can collaborate and share data on different projects across varying communication apps, such as Slack, IRC & Twitter.

Pros:

  • Offers way more than simple chatting, i.e., custom communication
  • Gives you a choice to trust anyone with your data
  • Allows for secure transfer of data and files
  • Intelligent notifications
  • Secure audio and video conferencing options
  • Bridges between multiple platforms and apps

Cons:

  • Not so convenient in handling on different devices

Useful Read:Top Rated Calling & Texting Apps

6. Bridgefy

Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Best For: This app is specially designed and developed to help people communicate during natural disasters, schools, large gatherings, and other places where internet services are not available.

Intro: It is a messaging app at its core but functions when you don’t have reliable internet access. All you need to do is turn the Bluetooth feature of your mobile phone on and start sending messages to others after creating a network. You can send messages to people on the network within your mobile phone’s Bluetooth antenna’s range (100 meters or about 330 feet).

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • 3 different ways to communicate in the absence of the internet facility
  • Relies on the Bluetooth feature of your mobile phone to send/receive messages
  • Ideal for places with no internet facility

Cons:

  • Needs you to provide your phone number and real-time location
  • There is a probability of offline messages not showing up sometimes
  • Often needs reboots

7. Kik

Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Best For: Kik is a great messaging app for people who want to keep in touch with their family and friends with ease, convenience and no compromise on personal security and privacy.

Intro: Many industry experts believe that Kik has great potential as a WhatsApp alternative that takes good care of user privacy. Many people are drawn towards this relatively new app because it doesn’t need your phone number to sign you in. It needs your email address. Offer multiplatform compatibility. So, you can use it on several different devices, including PCs and Macs. Simply download it on a supported device, install it and get going.

Pros:

  • Kick offers unlimited texts to anyone on the network
  • Talking of networks, Kik boasts over 4 million users. So, you can find a large number of people to communicate on this app
  • Not only can you download the app for free on a wide range of devices, but it also consumes less memory than many other similar apps
  • Along with a better notification system for sending, delivering and reading message statuses, you can block unwanted people with ease on this app

Cons:

  • Although rated for 17 and above, you can find a significant percentage of children between 11-15 on the app. This increases their probability of exposure to cyberbullying, harassment as well as sexting
  • With the level of privacy maintained in the app, young kids may be exposed to inappropriate content

8. Snapchat

Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Best For: Snapchat is a messaging application at its core. Its primary audience is people interested in sharing photos and videos with lots of filters and editing options but much more secure.

Intro: Person-to-person photo-sharing was the core focus area of Snapchat through its initial phases. However, you can now use it in several different ways to communicate with over 200 million users. Today, people are already using it as a reliable alternative to WhatsApp for video calls, and quite well-deservedly.

You can use it in several different ways, such as text messaging, sending short videos, live video chatting, caricature-influenced Bitmoji avatars, and so forth. You can even feature your “story”, which is visible to all your followers. Innovative, funny filters and AR-based lenses remain one of the most popular attractions of this wholesome application.

Pros:

  • Snapchat values privacy. So, no sharing of personal details. People can connect to each other using Snapchat ID or snapcode without the need to share other details.
  • Snapchat doesn’t store your pictures, videos and other data permanently on their servers. You also get a notification if someone tries to ‘snap’ you. The data disappears from Snapchat’s database after a day unless you want to personally save it to your device.
  • Snapchat allows you to do crazy things with your pictures and videos with its innovative and unique AR-based filters.
  • People are also using the app quite preferably nowadays to buy different things.

Cons:

  • The absence of like or share features in Snapchat also limits its analytics capabilities.
  • The core target audience of Snapchat ranges between 12 to 34 years, which makes it lag behind other social media apps with diversified audiences. For instance, Facebook, which boasts 62% of adults in its demographics.

9. Skype

Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Best For: Skype best suits people who have no internet connectivity issues and want to communicate with people through texts, audio/video calls & screen sharing. That’s why it’s often used for corporate communication as well.

Intro: Skype is a famous communication app that enables users to connect with other users through audio/video calls and messaging. You can share files and instant messages for free on it. It even allows calling you to landlines and mobiles through a function called “Skype out”, but it is quite expensive and not many people prefer or afford it. Skype offers support for mobile as well as desktop devices.

Pros:

  • Incredibly easy to use
  • Famous for official communication
  • Easy for group video and audio calls

Cons:

  • No end to end encryption by default
  • Higher call rates for VOIP calls

Not very well known for security. Since it offers different kinds of communications, its calls to landlines and mobiles are not end-to-end encrypted, so susceptible to security breaches.

Skype outcalls to mobiles and landlines are quite expensive. There are cheaper services for international calls with better quality and low prices, such as Talk Home Mobile.

10. Keybase

Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Best For: Keybase is a WhatsApp alternative for chat/messaging that best caters to the needs of people who are sick and tired of fake identities on the internet by making users ‘prove’ their online identity. Something that’s also being referred to nowadays as ‘Web of Trust’.

Intro: Keybase is known as one of the most secure messaging and file-sharing apps because of its centralised end-to-end (E2E) encryption system implemented on every single message and every file you share on the network. Direct voice and video calls are possible but not preferable on this network. It also gives you a massive amount of cloud storage free of cost.

Pros:

  • Messaging and file sharing protection with end-to-end (E2E) PGP encryption
  • Based on open-source architecture
  • Supports you send self-destructing messages
  • Supports multiplatform usage, allowing users to log in through different devices simultaneously.
  • Encrypted cloud storage up to 250GB

Cons:

  • Recently owned by Zoom, raising questions over its security despite having one of the securest mechanisms
  • Not easy to install and use for the average user

11. Threema

Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Best For: Threema best serves people who are looking for arguably ‘the securest WhatsApp alternative’, as it offers everything from instant messaging to voice/video calling and file sharing with the help of the most reliable and secure encryption protocols.

Intro:

If you want to ensure that your data remains safe and secure from corporations, hackers, and governments, Threema is the way to go. It is a paid app that offers you unmatched privacy by end-to-end encryption for all texts, audio calls, video calls and file-sharing activities. It is available for iOS and Android platforms.

Pros:

  • Threema resorts to one of the most reliable encryption protocols in existence today.
  • With its zero-knowledge encryption, Threema’s servers remain unaware of any encryption key or other information passed between two messages.
  • Supports personal as well as business group chats
  • Doesn’t require your phone number as means of identification, keeping your private information safe
  • Accept bitcoin-based payments

Cons:

  • Unfriendly and cumbersome installation and activation process
  • A paid application requiring around $3.05/month basic plan and $1.40/month for every single business user

12. Viber

Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Best For: People on the lookout for a secure, reliable and free alternative to WhatsApp can make the most of this instant messaging and calling app. It offers free messaging and calling (audio/video, group audio/video) and file transfer, but with the enhanced security of E2E encryption.

Intro: With over 1.17 billion registered users by March 2020, Viber is definitely a force to reckon with when securing WhatsApp alternative apps that people can turn to. It offers multidevice and multiplatform compatibility. So, you can use it on your desktops as well. Unlike some other popular messaging and calling apps, Viber relies on your phone number rather than other credentials to identify you.

Pros:

  • E2E encryption on texts, audio/video calls and other file transfers among individual users
  • No user-name and password-based registration just requires a phone number
  • People on Viber can enjoy unlimited free texts, voice and video calls to each other
  • Group audio/video calls
  • Communities, public chat rooms, news and games
  • Allows international calling (Viber Out) on landlines and mobiles, but it’s paid

Cons:

  • Some believe its video call quality is lacking in comparison to other popular alternatives
  • International calls cost you considerably compared to cheap but better options like the Talk Home app

13. WeChat

Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Best For: Best for people looking for an all-in-one communication plus daily digital-needs app.

Intro: The Chinese tech giant Tencent launched WeChat as an instant messaging app in 2011. Ten years later, it has evolved into an ambitious social media hybrid, becoming the world’s largest standalone mobile app in 2018 with over a billion active monthly users. In the absence of core social media outlets like Facebook in China, WeChat is currently the standard app for communication, business and a virtual socialising courtyard. It offers almost everything from texts, audio/video messaging and calling to making financial payments.

Pros:

  • Instant messaging, voice messaging, audio/video calls, group audio/video chats, stickers, emojis, file transfer.
  • Sharing photos and other updates using the ‘Moments’ feed
  • Sharing real-time location
  • Find and communicate with random people nearby using the Shake & Look Around features.
  • Money transfers and almost all kinds of daily-buy transactions using a wallet
  • Offers translation in about 20 languages
  • Using the “Mini Program” feature comprises miniature, low-memory apps capable of doing so many things – functioning like apps within the WeChat app itself.

Cons:

  • You can refer to the privacy settings of WeChat as the ‘loose privacy settings’, which take effect by default right when you sign up on the app for the first time. Under these settings, other users can find you and send add-requests without even knowing you or needing your consent. However, you may update the privacy settings to a certain level (and not go beyond that because the Chinese government doesn’t allow you to)
  • You cannot fully express yourself against the opinions of the Chinese government, as the app is subject to tight censor policies of the government

14. Line

Platforms: App Store | Google Play

Best For: People living in Japan, South Korea and some neighbouring countries predominantly, where Line enjoys the status of a super-app, much like China’s WeChat and South Korea’s Kakao Talk.

Intro: Originated in South Korea but enjoying unprecedented popularity in Japan right now. Launched in 2011 in response to the devastating Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that literally shook the foundations of Japan just three months earlier. The original intent of the app was to offer tsunami-hit people a reliable line of communication through disasters; it soon turned into a daily social hybrid app.

Pros:

  • Instant messaging
  • Audio/video calls and group audio/video chat
  • OpenChat threads & forums
  • Line Pay option to send money and make payments
  • Food ordering and delivery with Line Man feature
  • Live music streams, concerts and even sports events
  • And so much more

Cons:

  • Servers primarily people living in Japan, South Korea and a few other neighbouring countries. If most of your friends, family or acquaintances live in the West, this app won’t serve you much despite all its comprehensiveness
  • Charges for landline calls

15. KakaoTalk

Platforms: App Store, Google Play, Web

Best For: Just like WeChat for China and Line for Japan, KakaoTalk is for you if you live in South Korea, serving almost all your communication and daily digital needs.

Intro: Launched first in March 2010, KakaoTalk claimed about 90% domestic market share by 2015. It has become such a household thing for people in South Korea that they have turned its name into a verb, i.e., I’ll Ka-talk you later, or Ka-talk me when you’re free.

Pros:

  • KakaoTalk relies on your mobile number for registering you on the network, saving much time and hassle.
  • Offers free unlimited text messages, voice messages, audio/video calls
  • Group chat, audio/video calling
  • Offers multiplatform and multidevice support
  • Offers translation in 15 different languages
  • And a lot more like popular games, online shopping options, maps, banking features, etc

Cons:

  • No end-to-end message encryption, which makes it prone to security issues
  • Region-centric app, which means it would be mostly useless for you if you’re not living in South Korea

Conclusion

While WhatsApp still remains on top with 2,000 million monthly active users, according to a recent report by Statista, the fact is that the repeated WhatsApp data leak scandal has resulted in millions of people switching to WhatsApp alternatives like Signal and Telegram. And, WhatsApp may not be able to get out of this data breach shadow for some time to come.

FAQs

What are the best WhatsApp Alternatives?

Yes, various alternatives to WhatsApp have come to light after the WhatsApp data leak scandal surfacing again for the third time by the start of 2021. Some most popular of them include Signal (for all the things WhatsApp does plus enhanced security of end-to-end encryption), Telegram (offering every feature like WhatsApp with end-to-end encryption for added security) & TalkHome (fast gaining popularity for top quality, cheap international calls on landlines & mobiles, plus secure in-app messaging and calling).

What are some famous WhatsApp competitors?

People started looking for a secure WhatsApp alternative after it was repeatedly involved in a data leak scandal. This gave way for other instant messaging and calling apps to make their way to the top too. Though none of the WhatsApp competitors has totally overcome it, a few have made quite some name. Signal (for all the things WhatsApp does plus enhanced security of end-to-end encryption), Telegram (offering every feature like WhatsApp with end-to-end encryption for added security) & TalkHome (fast gaining popularity for top quality, cheap international calls on landlines & mobiles, plus secure in-app messaging and calling).

Which is safer – WhatsApp or Telegram?

Though WhatsApp may lead in the number of active users, most people now opt for Telegram when it comes to safety and security. That’s mostly because WhatsApp has been involved in a data leak scandal quite a few times by now. The Telegram relies on highly secured end-to-end encryption for communication and protects the user’s data in cloud storage. This makes it significantly harder for ISPs, network admins or other anonymous parties to intercept and decipher the user’s data.

Is Line a better Alternative for WhatsApp?

As of now, WhatsApp may have one edge over the Line, a significantly wider user base. But when it comes to features or even security, the Line supersedes WhatsApp undeniably. While WhatsApp offers many features around its core functionality, i.e., instant messaging and calling, Line is way more than just a communication app. It is a comprehensively bursting solution for almost all your day-to-day digital needs. However, Line is geographically confined to Japan and a few neighbouring countries, while WhatsApp is used worldwide.

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