- Best WhatsApp Alternatives 2021
- Google Hangouts
- Wickr Me
- KaKao Talk
- People Also Ask:
WhatsApp may have had humble beginnings, but it has surged to become the most widely used instant messaging app on the planet. With more than 2 billion active users, it's safe to say WhatsApp has played a pivotal role in connecting us across countries and timezones seamlessly. However, it may have dealt itself a fatal blow with the announcement of privacy changes from February 2021. A lot has been written and said about WhatsApp's recent policy changes. There are multiple factors and ifs and buts. However, it boils down to WhatsApp now acknowledging that it’ll be sharing its users’ data with Facebook and other third-parties. While WhatsApp maintains it will not infringe on its users' privacy, it has lost a good chunk of goodwill among its users. The outcry over this decision has led WhatsApp to delay the implementation of these changes. However, the damage may already have been done and could prove to be irreversible. One of the key repercussions of this ordeal has been the surge in online searches for a decent WhatsApp alternative.
WhatsApp will share its users' personal information, including phone numbers, IP addresses, contacts, & more with Facebook from Feb. 8, according to the new T&Cs. No opt-out. The only way to object is to leave the service & move to a service like Signal or Telegram. https://t.co/FbGcq5T3JB— Mike Butcher (@mikebutcher) January 6, 2021
Best WhatsApp Alternatives 2021
There's no paucity of decent apps that can match, and in some cases, surpass WhatsApp in terms of performance and ease of use. However, each of them has certain pitfalls as well. So, here's a detailed breakdown of all WhatsApp alternative options along with their distinct pros and cons:
While Signal has been present in the instant messaging market for a while, its popularity soared after Elon Musk made a simple tweet recommending the service. This was a golden endorsement and understandably has led to a spike in new users signing up for the service. Signal's devotion to its users' privacy is unrivaled. Since it relies on donations, it does not have to run ads or share your data with third-party advertisers. If that weren't enough, the service was top-ranked in EFF's Secure Messaging Scorecard, corroborating all of Signal's claims about complete user privacy.
- Sealed Sender ensures not even Signal knows which messages are being sent between users.
- It encrypts not only your chats but also your media files and backup.
- It is consistently recommended by individuals such as Edward Snowden, Jack Dorsey, and Elon Musk for being the most secure messaging tool on the market.
- It relies on donations, meaning you never have to worry about ads or third-parties mining data about you.
- Cannot broadcast messages.
- Cannot send a message to multiple contacts simultaneously.
- The chat option is basic, missing features such as customizable emojis and stickers.
Telegram has a lot to offer if your primary concerns are security and speed. For instance, you can share up to 1GB of photos and videos at any given time. Some other features include creating group chats with up to 5,000 members. This is a stark upgrade over WhatsApp's 256 (or 257, if the last person clicks on the link) members. If you're interested in learning exactly how Telegram and WhatsApp compare in more detail, you can read all about it here.
- Self-destructing messages.
- Telegram bots make it a much more enjoyable experience within groups.
- Secret Chats mode offers end-to-end encryption via Telegram's MTProto encryption protocol.
- Users have access to scheduled messages, allowing them to send messages at specific times, even when offline.
- Telegram has encryption keys, meaning theoretically unless you're using the Secret Chats mode, all your chats are accessible.
- End-to-end encryption has to be enabled from the app's settings and not available for regular chats.
If there were ever a "jack of all trades but master of none" messaging app, it would be Wire. Once you get started on it, you'll notice that it has all the features that you might need, both personally and professionally. Moreover, while it is completely free to use, users can also get a paid account and access additional perks. If WhatsApp's recent privacy changes are your concern, you'll find Wire to be a great substitute. However, you should note that the service has been known to be somewhat buggy.
- Group video-calling option supports unlimited participants without reducing video quality or imposing time limits.
- Self-destruct messages guarantee privacy.
- Users have the choice of which messages they want to encrypt.
- The quality of photos and videos uploaded is visibly decreased.
- Login times can take as long as a minute.
- Chats cannot be downloaded and archived.
- Users have to pay for premium options such as 3rd party integration and multiple device sync.
Viber is one of the earliest competitors of WhatsApp. The interface differs from WhatsApp in both aesthetic and functionality. However, users can easily use the same Viber account on multiple devices simultaneously. This can be a convenient feature if you're multitasking and communicating with multiple contacts. Additionally, Viber encrypts all chats, video calls, and shared media.
- Multiple media extensions supported such .mov, .avi, .mkv, and others that aren't supported on other popular instant messaging services.
- Users can video conference up to 20 people simultaneously.
- Users can even call non-Viber users at extremely low prices internationally.
- All you need to do to sign up is a telephone number. It doesn't have to be your primary number either.
- Excessive ads.
- The user-interface is not easy to navigate, with frequent bugs and crashes as a result.
- Media files sent are automatically saved on your phone memory, and there's no option to disable this.
If WhatsApp is the instant messaging market leader, Skype is the unquestionable leader of the business chat application. This is understandable, considering it's backed up by Microsoft. However, Skype can just as easily be used for your daily instant messaging needs. You'll find all your favorite features such as unlimited voice and video call options, group chats, customizable Skype accounts, and end-to-end encryption on all its communications. Since Skype prides itself on being the messaging app of choice for business, you'll find the sound and video quality to be the best on the market. Rarely do users ever have to worry about lag, disconnections, or app crashes.
- Users can share their screens, allowing for easy presentations remotely.
- Users can make group calls without having to make a group.
- While there's a free version, the paid version gives users access to multiple other features such as unlimited landline calls to any international number for as low as $1.19 per month.
- Bizarrely, Skype does not allow emergency calling even if you have the paid version to make landline calls.
- There are no integrated translation services, making it harder to communicate with your colleagues or friends globally unless you all speak one language.
- While its video and voice call quality is undoubtedly the best, it relies on bandwidth. Hence, if you have a slow internet connection, you may find yourself unable to connect to a call.
- There's no in-call option to eliminate background noises. Thus, the voice clarity may not be the best at all times.
Google Hangouts comes with all the features we've come to expect from an instant messaging service. Since it's a Google product, users have the advantage of using multiple other Google services simultaneously, such as using Google Calendar to schedule meetings or use Google Maps to add where a meeting is to take place. Other synchronization features include being able to use Google Voice throughout your calls via Hangouts.
- Complete automatic synchronization allows users to continue conversations on different devices without interruption.
- Video conferencing option supports screen sharing with additional support for multiple screens shared simultaneously.
- You can add up to 100 contacts on a Google Hangouts group and have a voice and video calls.
- It requires a Google account and access to your phone's memory, mic, camera, and contacts for complete synchronization.
- There's no message tracking system. Therefore, you cannot tell if a user has seen or even received your message.
- You cannot set a customizable online status, meaning your contacts have no way of knowing if you're online, away, busy, or offline.
Call it a coincidence or a deliberate decision, Line shares more than just a logo similarity with WhatsApp. Both apps use the same color scheme, the same minimalist interface, and the same login information. Line has almost all the features that we have come to expect from WhatsApp over the years. However, there are some specific areas where Line and WhatsApp are starkly dissimilar such as encryption protocols, group chats, and most importantly, their attitude towards user privacy.
- You can sync your account with your number or email ID for logging in but disconnect them whenever you want to avoid putting your contact info at risk.
- You can video call up to 10 contacts simultaneously.
- Within the chats, you have a lot more customizable stickers, emojis, and keyboard options.
- Several companies and artists have dedicated Line accounts that you can follow, similar to Instagram or Facebook.
- The app frequently crashes, especially during calls when the data connection is slow.
- Users can't send voice messages and still have to rely on voicemail.
- Line hasn't revealed what exact encryption methods they use to keep its users safe.
Few services are as easy to install and use as Kik. It requires no real info to sign up. You can enter a completely made-up email, and you'll still get an account since verification isn't required. Kik's interface is extremely minimalist. Furthermore, users can customize the color scheme, font, and font size as per their liking. There's a lot to like about Kik, but just as much to dislike about it as well.
- Kik requires no phone number or a valid email for signing up.
- Kik's full-screen browser is better than any other IM's, guaranteeing a seamless browsing experience.
- Censorship is non-existent, with only a few acts such as harassing a user, sharing their personal info, and threats of violence being considered grounds for suspension of your account.
- Groups can only consist of 50 users.
- Since there's virtually no oversight, inappropriate and illegal content is relatively easy to share.
- Kik relies heavily on revenue through ads, meaning users can expect frequent pop-up ads.
It may no longer be as popular as it once was, but it was the one to introduce some of the most popular instant messaging features we use today, such as stories, burnout messages, and screenshot blocking. Despite falling behind the competition in recent years, it is still used by millions of users. While it may lack some of the important features that WhatsApp has, it can offer other features that are just as fun to use. If you're an internet influencer looking to establish a closer bond with their followers, Snapchat remains the best platform to do so.
- Unlike most other messaging services, Snapchat chooses the best shot for you from specific events. This makes for better content being uploaded.
- Ads are programmed to be less interrupted and rarely interfere with your browsing experience.
- Lack of analytics means you can never really analyze your data and devise a better content strategy.
- The add friend mechanism is deplorably hard compared to other platforms.
While Discord is meant to be more than just an instant messaging service, it offers much more than just that. Once you sign up for the service, you can instantly feel the app's primary demographic are gamers. That's not exactly a bad thing since the messaging options within the app are not only safe and secure but quite fun to use, thanks to different bots and automated responses. However, this also limits the app's ability to be a messaging service for all since it limits the file sizes that can be sent and restricts whom you can message online if you've added them to your friends' list. So, there are many good reasons to join Discord but equally tricky pitfalls to be aware of. Read on to learn about the most important ones.
- You can organize different servers according to various labels.
- Bots can make an otherwise dull group chat more fun and proactive.
- You can set bots to detect inappropriate behavior and kick out a user for violating rules instantly.
- You can screen share on multiple channels selecting different panels to share.
- Users cannot send files larger than 25 MB unless they buy the Nitro version.
- Once a contact leaves a shared group, you can no longer message them.
- No support for GIFS or external stickers and emojis.
- The bots usually lack context and may ban you for a sarcastic remark labeling it as a serious comment.
While Wickr may not be as well-known as some of the other names on this list, it outperforms most when it comes to providing privacy to its users. Wickr Me, or Wickr for short, is an instant messaging app that allows users to communicate with each other requiring nothing more than their username. However, despite some impressive security features, there's not much else the service has to offer. Users have to buy a paid version of the app, known as Wickr Pro, to make video calls.
- It offers the most comprehensive encryption protocols to choose from, such as AES 256-bit, ECGH521, RSA 4096 with Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS).
- All accounts are anonymous.
- All messages and attachments are set to burnout after a maximum of 6 days.
- Transparency Report regularly updated and available.
- Completely GDPR compliant.
- Wickr's code is completely available on GitHub, although it isn't open-source.
- There's no option to save or archive important chats.
- Untraceable accounts mean inappropriate and illegal content is easily shared and proliferated.
You can download Wickr for Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS by visiting this page from your device.
- Groupme offers a built-in integrated calendar that you can use to schedule future calls or meetings from within the app.
- Groupme's web client is the most user-friendly one on this list as it follows an extremely minimalist UI.
- Groupme drains your battery as it requires an active internet connection to function.
- Unless you're connected to the internet when someone calls you, you won't be notified of their calls once you come back online.
- There's no option to disable read receipts, so a sender will always know if you've received their message and read them.
Just like Signal, Slack has also seen a steep increase in popularity in the recent past. That is primarily due to a bulk of the world's workforce working online and needing a service like Slack to remain in constant contact. It has proven to be an excellent option when it comes to secure communication in professional settings. However, it can just as easily be your instant messaging service since it has all the essential features of one.
- You can create "channels" and customize whom you want in those channels and who gets access to those channels.
- It makes collaboration easy since you can communicate between multiple channels simultaneously.
- You can set dedicated channel topics to make it easier to sort our conversations within channels.
- It is completely integrated with other important apps such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Trello, etc.
- All conversations are deleted after 14 days unless you have a paid plan (which is billed on a per-user basis).
- There's minimal file storage, and there's no way to get access to more storage space even with a paid version.
- Requires you to have a functioning email address.
- You can customize the look of your KakaoTalk app to your heart's content as the app allows you to change the icon, the font, the background theme, as well as the interface.
- You can set customized themes for each chat.
- You can create a customized "friends" list. Anyone not on this list will not see any of your contact info or profile picture.
- Very small user-base outside South Korea, so not as prolific as some of the other names on this list.
- No web-client. As such, if you don't have your mobile device with you, you can't use it.
- You have to buy additional chat features such as emoticons, emojis, and stickers.
WeChat is a mammoth in China. If you're planning on traveling to China or expanding your business there, there's no better way to find connections than WeChat. The sheer reach of the app, plus additional built-in features like Friends Radar, QR code scan, WalkieTalkie option, customizable contact lists, and direct contact with all major companies, means you're unlikely to find a better social media application while in China. However, when you get outside China, you won't find much use for it since it does not adhere to any external data protection laws. Moreover, it has a remarkably oblique attitude towards user privacy.
- It's best for use in China. If you're a simple tourist in China or a multinational corporation looking to expand your business, there's no better way to find friends or connect to audiences than WeChat.
- You can add dedicated mini-apps or mini-widgets and use them while using WeChat to create a far more seamless messaging experience.
- You can add your debit/credit cards to WeChat and make all your financial transactions via WeChat in China.
- WeChat's presence outside China is minimal to the point of non-existent.
- WeChat frequently changes its rules, meaning you risk losing your account over an offense you may not even know was an offense.
People Also Ask:
Here are some other frequently asked queries from users related to WhatsApp alternative options:
Is Telegram safer than WhatsApp?
Yes, while both WhatsApp and Telegram claim to be safe options, it is becoming abundantly clear that Telegram is a much safer option than WhatsApp. For starters, Telegram has always been transparent about how it deals with user data. Even though they have the mechanism to intercept users' communications, Telegram is on record saying it has shared 0 bytes of such data with any form of law enforcement. Additionally, Telegram's founders were exiled from Russia after they refused to hand over Ukrainian protesters' data to law enforcement. That’s heavy.
Why Is WhatsApp 16+?
WhatsApp has an age restriction. Hence, you need to be 16+ to join and use its services. There is no definitive law that deals with digital privacy in the US, hence minimum age requirements fall more on the app’s choice It had dropped to 13+ briefly in 2018 before being reinstated to 16+ in April 2018 after a clause in the primary data-protection laws enforced by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to keep children away from NSFW content and encourage the app services to enact stricter measures to curb easy proliferation of such content.
What are the main risks of using WhatsApp?
WhatsApp has long been criticized for not being GDPR compliant. This means it can collect data on its users without expressly informing them about it thoroughly at each stage. Similarly, due to the lack of a dedicated international AI-filter, NSFW content can easily be shared. However, the most significant risk is that WhatsApp groups are open to anyone with an invitational link. This can lead to private groups being completely exposed to strangers.
Are WhatsApp groups private?
While WhatsApp has always maintained that WhatsApp groups are entirely private, several revelations prove the contrary. In early 2020, it was revealed that thousands of private WhatsApp groups were easily available on Google search. This was due to the group chats being indexed, allowing their links to be easily available online. This compromised the personal information of any other members of these groups. WhatsApp has claimed to have solved this issue by including the "noindex" tag on all deep link pages. However, this wasn't the first instance of WhatsApp groups being compromised, as a similar issue was discovered in 2019. So, while WhatsApp claims all your group chats are private, it has been proven to be false on two separate occasions.
What other apps are associated with Facebook?
Apart from WhatsApp, Facebook also owns Instagram as well as Messenger, Oculus VR, Giphy, CRTL-Labs, Onavo, tbh, Redkiss, LiveRail, Threadsy, Parse, and Atlas Solutions.