Whatsapp is used by millions over the world due to its security features as a private messaging app. Yet, many lost faith in Whatsapp when Facebook added it to their repertoire of social media applications – Facebook’s track record with security hasn’t been the best, as multiple security breaches regarding facebook and its third party apps have resulted in thousands of peoples personal and private information being leaked.
In a world where we store everything on our phones, the last thing anyone wants is for their private messages to be open to security threats.
Bank details, personal information and pictures and social media accounts can all be accessed through the information we share on messaging apps such as these, so security is incredibly important!
Whether you’re having a personal conversation or a work conversation, most people would feel uncomfortable if someone unwanted had access to them, which is where Whatsapp can come in handy.
Whatsapp’s end-to-end encryption is undoubtedly one of its most desirable features, but with heightened concerns over Whatsapp’s privacy regulations, there are other apps that can provide you with this – as well as peace of mind. Read on to discover what we consider to be the top 5 alternatives to Whatsapp for both privacy and safety.
Signal is probably one of the more well-known alternatives to Whatsapp. It was developed in order to give users a stronger sense of privacy when Whatsapp was purchased by facebook, so this app directly tackles the main weak points within Whatsapps security as a messaging app.
Signal has strong encryption – it is open source, which means that experts are able to check the software for bugs and potential security issues. Signal uses end-to-end encryption, so if someone hacks Signals’ server (or even your device), they will not be able to see any messages exchanged.
All messages sent within Signal are encrypted, unlike some other apps, meaning that you can have peace of mind knowing that no one apart from the intended recipient can read your messages.
If the encryption isn’t enough to make you feel fully secure, you can also set a timer on Signal, which means that the app will automatically delete messages sent after a certain amount of time has elapsed. This setting can be applied to group chats and one-to-one conversations.
This ensures that even if someone did get access to your phone, your private messages are kept private. The app allows you to send your location, and also utilises read receipts similar to other messaging apps.
You are able to install Signal onto your computer as well as your phone.
- Encrypted – end to end encryption means any messages can’t be seen by hackers!
- Open source – can easily be checked for potential bugs
- Available on all platforms – accessible to everyone!
- Timer on messages – if you don’t completely trust the encryption, you can choose to delete messages automatically
- No online status – this prevents people from being to track your activity on Signal
- No emojis – Signal does not include any animated emojis
Threema is an app that provides ultimate privacy! The company that owns the app is based in Switzerland, known for their pro-privacy stance and laws.
All information is stored on your device instead of the app, including contact lists and group information – keeping your personal information out of the hands of hackers.
Threema allows you to use a unique 8-digit ID, meaning that you can keep your phone number private in order to message on the app, unlike Whatsapp. Contacts can be verified by using QR codes.
Threema has end-to-end encryption for all of the message types available within the app, including texts, shared files, voice calls, group chats and even any statuses you might put up, preventing anyone from being able to track what you post.
As well as this, Threema also automatically deletes messages upon delivery, ensuring that only the person they are delivered to has access to them.
It can be used within a browser, and offers formatting features within messages, as well as the ability to create polls and send feedback, meaning this is a good app for companies.
The app also allows you to send your location if necessary. Specific chats can be hidden and password protected, giving you the option to add extra layers of security as needed.
- Provides a user ID – you don’t need a phone number
- Verification – contacts can be verified by using QR codes
- Text formatting – enables you to express yourself the way you see fit
- Password protection – specific chats can be password protected and hidden
- This app costs money
Telegram is an extremely popular alternative to Whatsapp, boasting over 200 million active users!
The app is cloud based, so it works across multiple platforms. As a default, Telegram messages all use cloud encryption, meaning that Telegram may be able to read your messages, as all messages are served on their servers.
This can open the door for potential hackers as well, as if a hacker managed to access Telegram’s servers, they might also be able to access any data you may have stored from the app. However, similarly to Signal, the app allows you to delete messages after a certain amount of time.
Telegram allows you to create a “secret” chat – in these chats, messages are end-to-end encrypted, providing you with more privacy. Voice calls are also end-to-end encrypted!
You can see when messages have been read based on a double tick system – not unlike the one that Whatsapp uses.
The app allows you to share multimedia files.
- Over 200 million users – popular and accessible
- Deletion timer – messages are deleted after an allotted amount of time, providing extra security
- Cloud based – stored remotely so that you don’t lose any data
- Only secret messages are end-to-end encrypted.
Wire offers end-to-end encryption. It is a secure messaging app, and is protected by European data protection laws.
Wire enables either one to one or group screen sharing, as well as allowing audio filtering and supporting multimedia file sharing, so this is a great app for companies to use!
File sizes can also be optimized for easy sharing, so long waits are reduced! The app apparently has clear voice and video communications, which is definitely a plus as connection can often lead to audio and visual issues within other instant messaging applications.
Wire is available on all major platforms and enables you to log in to up to eight synced devices, which means that you can use it anywhere and everywhere!
The app offers formatting, allowing you to use both bold and italics (similarly to Whatsapp), but also gives you the ability to create lists. Wire also includes read receipts within messages, so you know if and when your messages have been delivered and read.
- Timed deletion – messages can be set for deletion within an allotted time period
- Flexible – you can use up to eight devices at the same time!
- End-to-end encryption – allows complete privacy for the sender and receiver
- This app costs money
Element (previously known as Riot and Vector), provides end-to-end encryption for all messages, and provides you with a personal user ID instead of asking for your phone number.
The app uses open source software, and despite having its own bots, it allows developers to create their own and interact with the software themselves. This means that the app is probably better for developer teams – although corporate groups can still use it!
The app supports VoIP and video calling. It also has public chat rooms and conversation rooms, although you can create your own private rooms that are only accessible via a link sent to people of your choice, unlike the public rooms.
The app is available in twenty-five languages and can be connected to other applications, such as Telegram.
- User ID – no need to provide your phone number
- Open source software – able to create and add your own bots
- Clean desktop client – easy to use
- Available in 25 languages – accessible
- Encryption needs to be switched on manually.
The amount of technical jargon and information might be overwhelming, and so within this section we’ll explain some of the most common security features that are built into these types of apps. When looking for an app that will provide you with the level of privacy you desire, it is important to consider these key features:
End-to-end encryption ensures that only the sending and receiving devices involved within the conversation are able to access any sent messages. This is an appealing feature when it comes to privacy, as this prevents third parties, such as the company that owns the app you are using, from viewing any of your messages.
It also prevents important files sent through applications like this from ending up in the wrong hands.
Cloud encryption, whilst secure, is slightly less secure than end-to-end encryption as it stores all of your information in the cloud. Messages are still encrypted, but are stored within the cloud.
As a result, anyone able to hack into the cloud or access the cloud can also potentially access your messages, resulting in a lack of security.
Despite this, cloud encryption is still a viable option for those looking for extra security, as it offers more security than just allowing information to be stored without any encryption at all. This can be used alongside end-to-end encryption.
A lot of the time, messaging apps similar to Whatsapp will ask you to provide a phone number. Phone numbers can be uncomfortable to share with certain people, and so an app that provides you with a User ID enables you to shortcut this, maintaining your privacy.
A lot of the time, apps like this can provide you with a QR code, which allows you to verify your devices and further improves your security.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Should I Worry About My Privacy On Instant Messaging Apps Such As Whatsapp?
Facebook has been involved in a few security breaches, which have led consumers to feel that Whatsapp, owned by Facebook, is not as private as it used to be, leading them to look for alternatives.
Whilst Whatsapp have maintained that their services remain secure, many instant messaging apps are just as secure and comfortable to use, so you don’t have to worry (even a little bit) about random people reading your messages.
What Is VoIP?
VoIP stands for “voice over internet protocol”.This is basically a type of technology that lets you make voice calls over the internet, using a broadband connection, in place of a regular phone line.
Calls using VoIP through instant messaging apps are usually free, and allow you to make phone calls without using a phone number.
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