Best messaging apps in 2021 — WhatsApp alternatives you need to try

WhatsApp has been under fire recently due to changes in its terms and conditions, including updating its privacy policy on how the Facebook-owned app collects and uses data from chats. It’s not something any user wants to hear, especially coming from Facebook.

So, is it time for WhatsApp users to jump ship and climb aboard another messaging app? Hold your horses. Keep in mind that WhatsApp’s new terms and conditions won’t affect those living in the European Union or the UK due to the E.U.’s data protection rules. That, and there’s a mass misconception about the changing terms that are now scheduled to be in effect this May.

The updated terms on privacy don’t allow WhatsApp or Facebook to log messages. It does show how businesses that use WhatsApp to contact or chat with customers can store logs of their chats on Facebook’s servers.

“We can’t see your personal messages or hear your calls, neither can Facebook: Neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can read your messages or hear your calls with your friends, family, and co-workers on WhatsApp. Whatever you share, it stays between you,” WhatsApp’s FAQ page states.

Regardless, there are still plenty of other reasons to join another chat app for added security, like self-destructing messages and complete anonymity. Below, you’ll find the best messaging apps that make great WhatsApp alternatives.

What are the best messaging apps?

  1. Signal
  2. Telegram
  3. Viber
  4. Threema
  5. Discord

1. Signal


(Image credit: Signal)

Signal is without a doubt the next step up from WhatsApp. How so? Well, both messaging apps use the same end-to-end encryption service so only the reader and recipient can read the contents of the message. However, Signal is completely open-sourced, meaning security researchers can easily build upon its privacy, and unlike WhatsApp, it doesn’t support any cloud back up. It’s annoying for those who switch phones on the fly, but brilliant for those looking for better privacy options.

Signal’s messaging app has progressed tenfold since it first officially arrived in 2017, offering up timed self-destructing messages, the ability to block screenshots, further encryption to backups, calls, group calls, and all other in-app data. All you need is a phone number to sign up.

Since the surge of downloads because of Elon Musk’s tweet stating “Use Signal,” the app has gone a bit more mainstream, with chat wallpapers, animated stickers and an ‘About’ page.

Signal is available on iOS, Android, Windows, Mac and Linux. 

2. Telegram


(Image credit: Telegram)

The mainstream WhatsApp contender. Telegram packs a lot of features compared to any messenger apps, and we mean a ton. You can organize a series of chats in folders, edit messages already sent, send silent messages, self-destruct sent media or messages, and form groups of up to 200,000 people — the works. There’s even an option to play games with friends or family in the app.

While it offers plenty of features WhatsApp can’t contend with, one drawback is its end-to-end encryption service isn’t available by default. Users will have to use the ‘secret chat’ option to do that, which is a tad annoying seeing as it isn’t automatically supplied. But, if you’re up for a chat app that offers up a load of features, including being used simultaneously across multiple devices, Telegram is a great choice.

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