Best messaging apps of 2021

Messaging apps (1 - 5)
Telegram MessengerViberWeChatTroop MessengerLineBat MessengerThreemaSkypeSignalKakaoTalk
Image
Telegram Messenger
Viber
WeChat
Troop Messenger
Line
Bat Messenger
Threema
Skype
Signal
KakaoTalk
Summary
Summary
  • General info (79)
  • Users (42)
  • Contacts (83)
  • Messaging features (94)
  • Content sharing (100)
  • Security (67)
  • General info (73)
  • Users (50)
  • Contacts (67)
  • Messaging features (89)
  • Content sharing (98)
  • Security (50)
  • General info (95)
  • Users (39)
  • Contacts (100)
  • Messaging features (72)
  • Content sharing (88)
  • Security (33)
  • General info (85)
  • Users (61)
  • Contacts (67)
  • Messaging features (83)
  • Content sharing (80)
  • Security (50)
  • General info (95)
  • Users (79)
  • Contacts (83)
  • Messaging features (78)
  • Content sharing (83)
  • Security (33)
  • General info (83)
  • Users (100)
  • Contacts (67)
  • Messaging features (89)
  • Content sharing (71)
  • Security (83)
  • General info (80)
  • Users (51)
  • Contacts (50)
  • Messaging features (61)
  • Content sharing (94)
  • Security (100)
  • General info (87)
  • Users (54)
  • Contacts (67)
  • Messaging features (78)
  • Content sharing (60)
  • Security (50)
  • General info (93)
  • Users (50)
  • Contacts (17)
  • Messaging features (100)
  • Content sharing (92)
  • Security (50)
  • General info (88)
  • Users (35)
  • Contacts (83)
  • Messaging features (67)
  • Content sharing (77)
  • Security (17)
General info
Compatible with AndroidIt is compatible with a range of Android devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Compatible with AndroidIt is compatible with a range of Android devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Android app sizeThe app requires less storage space on your device. A smaller size means there is more space on your device for other apps, as well as other data such as photos and music.
Android app sizeThe app requires less storage space on your device. A smaller size means there is more space on your device for other apps, as well as other data such as photos and music.N.A.19MB
25MB
13MB
19MB
37MB
13MB
37.2MB
N.A.13MB
Available on PCThese services are ideal if you want to use the app while sat down at your computer, as well as on-the-go.
Available on PCThese services are ideal if you want to use the app while sat down at your computer, as well as on-the-go.
Free appYou can download the app for free, from platforms such as Google Play or the App Store.
Free appYou can download the app for free, from platforms such as Google Play or the App Store.
Ad-freeAdverts can be distracting and obtrusive. Apps and blogs without ads are more aesthetically pleasing, nicer to use, and make the content stand out.
Ad-freeAdverts can be distracting and obtrusive. Apps and blogs without ads are more aesthetically pleasing, nicer to use, and make the content stand out.
Total score for "General info"
Total score for "General info"
Users
Rating on Google PlayThe app has a higher rating on Google Play, showing the overall quality of the app and user satisfaction. The lowest score is 1, with 5 being the highest.
Rating on Google PlayThe app has a higher rating on Google Play, showing the overall quality of the app and user satisfaction. The lowest score is 1, with 5 being the highest.4.4
4.4
4.2
4.5
4.2
4.2
4.5
4.3
4.6
4.4
Rating on Apple's App StoreThe app has a higher rating on Apple’s App Store. The rating measures the overall quality of the app and user satisfaction. The score ranges from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest).
Rating on Apple's App StoreThe app has a higher rating on Apple’s App Store. The rating measures the overall quality of the app and user satisfaction. The score ranges from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest).4
4.5
4
4.8
N.A.5
5
4.5
4.7
3.5
Monthly usersWith more users it is likely that more people you know will use the app too.
Monthly usersWith more users it is likely that more people you know will use the app too.500m
823m
272m
N.A.N.A.0.3m
3.5m
N.A.40m
70m
Social networkIt is a social network, which has features such as commenting and tagging. This means you can share content quickly and easily and engage with a community.
Social networkIt is a social network, which has features such as commenting and tagging. This means you can share content quickly and easily and engage with a community.
Social network integrationIt allows you to share information to popular social networks.
Social network integrationIt allows you to share information to popular social networks.
Total score for "Users"
Total score for "Users"
Contacts
Two-way opt-inThis means that you have to add or accept contacts before being able to message. It prevents strangers sending you unwanted messages.
Two-way opt-inThis means that you have to add or accept contacts before being able to message. It prevents strangers sending you unwanted messages.
Favorite contactsWith favorite contacts you have quick access to the people who you communicate with most.
Favorite contactsWith favorite contacts you have quick access to the people who you communicate with most.
Public user profilesYou can browse and contact any of your fellow app users.
Public user profilesYou can browse and contact any of your fellow app users.
Existing contacts integrationThis means you can easily access and communicate with contacts from your existing phonebook.
Existing contacts integrationThis means you can easily access and communicate with contacts from your existing phonebook.
Send contact stampsYou can quickly and conveniently forward a person’s contact details on. This is a lot easier than finding their number and typing it into a message.
Send contact stampsYou can quickly and conveniently forward a person’s contact details on. This is a lot easier than finding their number and typing it into a message.
Total score for "Contacts"
Total score for "Contacts"
Messaging features
Shows that someone is typingYou can see when someone is typing a reply, which can prevent confusion.
Shows that someone is typingYou can see when someone is typing a reply, which can prevent confusion.
“Message seen” notificationYou can see when someone has opened your message, so you know whether or not it has been read yet.
“Message seen” notificationYou can see when someone has opened your message, so you know whether or not it has been read yet.
Temporary imagesYou can send an image which is programmed to self destruct after a few seconds. This means you can send something a bit daring, as it will disappear once the person has seen it.
Temporary imagesYou can send an image which is programmed to self destruct after a few seconds. This means you can send something a bit daring, as it will disappear once the person has seen it.
Temporary text messagesYou can send a text message which will self destruct after a short time, so you can say whatever you like, without it being saved on the person’s phone.
Temporary text messagesYou can send a text message which will self destruct after a short time, so you can say whatever you like, without it being saved on the person’s phone.
Voice messagesYou can send a pre-recorded voice message.
Voice messagesYou can send a pre-recorded voice message.
Total score for "Messaging features"
Total score for "Messaging features"
Content sharing
Cloud syncingYour data is synced to the cloud, making it easier to access across different devices and making sure it is always backed up in case you lose your device.
Cloud syncingYour data is synced to the cloud, making it easier to access across different devices and making sure it is always backed up in case you lose your device.
Maximum file sizeThe largest file size you can share. The higher the limit, the less restricted you are when sharing content.
Maximum file sizeThe largest file size you can share. The higher the limit, the less restricted you are when sharing content.2000MB
N.A.20MB
N.A.300MB
30MB
50MB
300MB
N.A.100MB
Image previewYou can see a small thumbnail of an image before opening it.
Image previewYou can see a small thumbnail of an image before opening it.
Search functionIf you need to find something specific, you can search your data for certain keywords.
Search functionIf you need to find something specific, you can search your data for certain keywords.
Send documentsYou can send documents using the app.
Send documentsYou can send documents using the app.
Total score for "Content sharing"
Total score for "Content sharing"
Security
End-to-end encryptionEnd-to-end encryption protects data between two communicating parties and ensures that only the intended receiver can access the unencrypted information.
End-to-end encryptionEnd-to-end encryption protects data between two communicating parties and ensures that only the intended receiver can access the unencrypted information.
No account requiredThe app doesn't require you to make an account in order to log in and use the app.
No account requiredThe app doesn't require you to make an account in order to log in and use the app.
Passcode authenticationYou can set a passcode to keep your data private.
Passcode authenticationYou can set a passcode to keep your data private.
Facebook sign-in optionSigning in with your Facebook account can be faster and easier if you don’t want to spend time filling in a registration page.
Facebook sign-in optionSigning in with your Facebook account can be faster and easier if you don’t want to spend time filling in a registration page.
Phone number not requiredThe app is not connected to your phone number, so you can use it on devices such as tablets without needing a SIM card.
Phone number not requiredThe app is not connected to your phone number, so you can use it on devices such as tablets without needing a SIM card.
Total score for "Security"
Total score for "Security"

Which are the most important features of messaging apps?

Thanks to smartphones, our family, friends, and colleagues are now just a text message or call away. In humanity's effort to make people all over the world more connected than ever, messaging apps have been developed for a wide range of devices. The number of text messages has been steadily declining with the introduction of these apps. Messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have become the gold standards in digital communication.

Why go with messaging apps over the more traditional SMS, you may ask. Well, economically speaking, messaging apps tend to be much cheaper. Most of the time, as long as you have an internet connection, you could message, voice call, or video call any of your contacts from anywhere in the world at no cost. The messaging apps themselves can be downloaded for free most of the time, providing even a SIM-free login. Some messaging apps also offer prepaid-like services. Skype, for example, offers free video and voice calls on the app, and, in addition, gives you the option to contact people on their mobile phone or landline at meager rates, using Skype credits purchased beforehand.

The free service is just the icing on the cake. Messaging apps are also packed with neat features meant to make communication easier and more fun. Sending videos, pictures, and documents, for example, are common options in many messaging apps. To help you figure out which app is the right one for you, we've compiled a list of aspects you should consider.

Compatibility

You might be thinking as to whether the messaging app you are eyeing is compatible with all your devices. You might want to receive messages on your desktop computer, laptop, phone, or tablet and have the advantage of cloud synchronization. One thing that you might want to know first is whether the app is compatible with the various operating systems you are using on your devices. Therefore, you should check whether the app is compatible with:

iOS
macOS
Android
Windows

After making sure the app works across devices, it is also worth knowing the size of the application. Smaller app sizes are crucial if you own a mobile device with limited internal storage.

Messaging features

A messaging app should allow you to send free messages to other people who have the same application, at the very least. Most messaging apps, though, offer much more than that. Aside from letting you send free in-app messages, some apps also allow you to send free SMS to recipients who don't have the application installed on their phones.

App developers also add features in their messaging apps to enhance the user experience. For example, some apps would provide you with a Message Seen notification so you can quickly know if your message has already been read, assuring you that what you need to say has been delivered to the receiver. Some apps even show when someone is typing a message, so you don't need to guess as to whether you should wait for a follow-up message or not. Specifying your availability is also an option in many messaging apps. You could opt to show your contacts that you are available, busy, away, or set a custom status. In addition, the app may also be able to indicate when a user was last active. With all these features, it's very easy to eliminate any kind of misunderstanding. Or, from the other perspective, it's tough to come up with excuses when you don't want to reply to a message.

Cloud synchronization is an essential feature for those who are using multiple devices. No matter how many devices you wish to use, the messages and files show up on all of them and, in case you want to dig up a file you've received, you can find it on any of your devices. Speaking of digging up old conversations, some apps also have search function if you need to find something specific in your past conversations.

Sharing and social features

There are messaging apps that function as social networks as well. This means that you can share content publicly and engage with a community. Instagram, for example, is a social network, photo app, and messaging app. If sharing publicly isn't your thing, apps have privacy options, enabling you to control who sees your content.

Security features

Whether you are in a business chat and you don't want any sensitive information leaking out, or you just plainly want some privacy and secrecy while engaging in a conversation, having security features is definitely a huge plus. Some messaging apps would provide you some privacy right from the start by using a two-way opt-in. A user would have to send you a contact request first before being able to message you and see your profile information.

Most apps would also let you delete messages, so you could remove all those messages which contain sensitive information. While these are great ways already to boost privacy and security, some apps go even further. Telegram, for example, uses end-to-end encryption to prevent third-parties from accessing the conversation.

End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is using cryptographic algorithms to encode messages so that only the sender and receiver can read them. This way, not even the provider of the communication service can decrypt a message. This provides a high level of security, which is of utmost importance for people discussing confidential matters on messaging apps. Aside from encryption, some messaging apps also allow users to send temporary texts and images which are not saved on the receiver's phone and are designed to self-destruct after viewing.

Just for fun

For those looking to make conversations fun and entertaining, there are a number of features that can spice up the conversation. Voice filters enable you to change the way your voice sounds. There are also augmented reality filters that overlay visual elements over the image your camera displays. This way, you can add bunny ears to your head or other cute and fun elements. Some apps even offer animated versions of your favourite emoji characters, a feature made popular by Apple in 2017 with the release of the so-called animojis for iOS 12.

By Xhander Franco
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