Long gone are the days of 160 characters limit on texts, the days of 10 key keypads on our beloved Nokia. Over the years of smartphone development and cheaper mobile internet, we are now at a stage with over 1.6 billion mobile messaging app users worldwide. Messaging apps have grown to be a part of our daily lives, delivering our chats with encryption, providing instant video calls, and all at a cost of nothing, well at least not in terms of our hard-earned cash. Here is a rundown of 10 of the best messaging app you can download right now for both IOS and Android.
Perhaps the most well-known messaging app, serving at least 1.5 billion users worldwide, it’s simple to setup, requiring only a phone number. The app packs a clean UI while still managing all the essential features, remaining as one of the only few apps to allow for archiving chats, removing the chat from the main page while not deleting it. The Facebook owned messaging app also receives frequent security and performance updates, keeping it snappy over time. For the most part, the only caveat will be the major fail of a Snapchat wannabe status tab. Overall, it’s stable and gets the job done, plus its immense popularity means you can reach almost anyone with it.
The only non-profit messaging app in this list, founded by the Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov, the services are cloud-based unlike most of its competitors. But does it matter? Well, it kinda does, being cloud-based makes access from multiple devices at once possible, not requiring your phone to be online to be able to use it on your computers unlike Whatsapp. It also allows for bots, stickers (including custom ones), secret chat, channels (like Discord) and lastly, a supergroup. A supergroup can allow up to 100,000 members, a first of its kind; coupled with its responsive design and a chat search function that allows searching by date, Telegram is an extremely powerful platform even for heavy users.
A separated messaging app by Facebook, which can be a great option for those who just wants to chat on their smartphones, as it can be used without downloading the Facebook app. The modern looking app features synced chat with your Facebook account, while offering plenty of cute stickers and GIFs. On Android, there’s also a “Chat Head” feature that keeps a small chat bubble floating on your screen which is pretty convenient at times. The app can be slow to load at times, but it still is a good option for those who prefer to message through Facebook.
The Japanese made app has one of the widest variety of stickers, and other functions such as Events (built-in calendar app) and Notes that can be shared between two people or even a group. LinePay and CouponBook was also recently added, though it isn’t applicable in most businesses. Line has its very own set of cute Line characters sticker packs, while also featuring many official stickers from other popular brands such as Lilo&Stitch and Coco, though it should be noted that not all of them are free. Overall, it gets the job but nothing really stands out.
One of the earliest messaging apps out there that still boasts 900 million active users, the app is simple and straight to the point. It has a drawing function as well as self-destroying secret chat, while its sticker packs are generally more expensive than its competitors. It is the only app with ads in this list, both after a phone call and in the discovery section. Viber overall is a pretty decent app, that is if you don’t mind the sponsored ads.
Known as the “App for Everything” in China, the messaging app features e-wallet WeChat Pay as well as City Services, which can even be used to pay traffic fines and book a doctor. Friend Seek, News Feed, Enterprise WeChat are not even half of its features, it really isn’t fair to call this a messaging app. But despite all this, its biggest caveat is the lack of popularity and availability of its powerful features in other parts of the world. So unless you’re using it in China, you should give WeChat a pass.
Hands down THE simplest and most minimal app in this round up, Signal is the definition of barebones. Despite its simplicity, it still has everything essential including video call and support for GIFs. There really isn’t much to say about this app due to how simple it is, which allows for almost instant load time. Definitely try it out for those who just needs to send a message without all the other fancy sprinkles.
Developed by Google, it’s the most interesting one in the list. It has all the necessary features while also integrating Google into it. For example, users can just type @google, and a search term after it. Allo will then return the top results, and suggest further search terms. Tapping on the result of the search opens up the page in the default browser. The messaging app interface is the most modern and unique looking among all, thus making a rather interesting app to try out.
Whatsapp for its popularity, Signal for its no bullsh*t and Telegram for the best overall experience.