WhatsApp is the most used messenger in the world – but that doesn’t necessarily make it the best. In this practical guide, we show you which alternatives are worthwhile.
Telegram is one of the most popular messaging apps worldwide and is also increasingly used as an alternative to WhatsApp. The app, which originates from Russia, has its advantages and disadvantages compared to the messenger from Facebook.
- Platform-independent: While WhatsApp is officially only developed for mobile operating systems and can only be used on a computer in conjunction with a smartphone, you can install Telegram on almost all operating systems as well as access it in the browser.
- More functionality: There are some features on Telegram that are not available on WhatsApp. Some of them are the “Bots” that can do a variety of tasks, or “Secret Chats”.
- Security during calls: by default, end-to-end encryption is enabled during phone calls with Telegram, so your conversations remain anonymous.
- Insecurity with chat: Unlike telephony, end-to-end encryption is not enabled by default for the chat feature. Likewise, this encryption cannot be enabled at all for group chats.
- Cloud-based system: While WhatsApp does not allow data to be downloaded again once it has been deleted, everything is stored on Telegram’s servers (similar to Facebook). If you have deleted a video received in a group, for example, you can download this again. While this is an advantage, it brings up security concerns.
Signal is a secure messenger alternative that WhatsApp could take a leaf out of WhatsApp’s book.
- Security: Signal advertises security and encryption within the messenger. Using various encryption methods, your messages are only readable by you and your chat partner.
- Functionality: Almost all WhatsApp features are also available here. Thus, you would not miss certain functions if you switch. Other extras, such as a time-limited visibility of messages, make this messenger additionally attractive.
- Number of users: Unfortunately, the app is not yet widespread, so the number of users is quite low. However, if you are particularly concerned about your privacy with a particular chat partner, it is still worth trying out the app.
- Platforms: Just like WhatsApp, the app is only available on mobile devices in conjunction with a phone number. There is a desktop app, but it is also only available when you are actively connected to your smartphone.
Kik is the only messenger in this list that uses an email address instead of your phone number.
- Privacy: Not everyone who has your phone number saved in their contacts can write you a message. For that, you need to know the Kik username.
- Features: Groups can also be joined in this app. These then again do not run via the phone numbers, but are found via hashtags and are accordingly public.
- Login: You simply log in with a username and password – This makes switching to a new cell phone easier, but not necessarily safer.
Viber is also one of the most successful messaging apps worldwide. Along with Telegram, it is thus one of WhatsApp’s biggest competitors.
- Functionality: Viber is a very feature-rich app and offers similar features as WhatsApp and co.
- Platforms: Viber can also be installed on many different platforms, but the initial registration has to be done on a mobile device.
Threema is a messenger that focuses especially on privacy and security.
- Security: With multiple encryption and no storage of metadata and contacts, Threema is one of the best apps when it comes to security. Local backups are also encrypted.
- Usage: The app can be used without a phone number and can also be accessed via desktop version.
- Price: However, you will have to pay for it in the Google Play Store as well as the Apple App Store for these security features. However, if you are strong on encryption, then you should consider buying the app.