Best Encrypted Messaging Apps

With billions of mobile users worldwide, messaging apps have become extremely important. WhatsApp alone has 2+ billion users. The same goes for Facebook’s messenger. Recently, Whatsapp’s privacy policy update has caused severe damage to its image.

These two are the most popular messaging apps in the world. They may be popular but they are not the only messaging apps.

In the past couple of years, we have seen the rise of other messaging apps that may give Facebook a run for their money. Signal, Telegram, WeChat, and Line are some of the top competitors of WhatsApp and Facebook’s Messenger app.

In today’s post, we will see the best messaging apps that provide end-to-end encryption. 

Best End-to-End Encryption Messaging Apps:

1 – Signal:

Signal for us is the king of end-to-end encrypted messaging apps. No second thought about it. Signal was endorsed by Edward Snowden too. In one of his tweets, Edward wrote:

“I use Signal every day.”

Not only this, many protestors have used Signal to organize and plan protests worldwide. Journalists, Human rights activists, and other groups are using Signal on daily basis. What makes it so special?

First, Signal is free to use. There are no ads attached. The organization behind Signal does not track your activity or location. The biggest thing about Signal is that it is open-source. Anyone can view the code especially the security researchers. 

On the other hand, leading messaging apps like WhatsApp and Messenger is not open-source. You cannot check their code. We only get info about their security from the organization that manages it. There is no way to counter verify it.

This is not the case with Signal. You can view the code and counter verify the claims of Signal. Whether they provide what they preach or not. Therefore, if you care about privacy, we highly recommend using Signal.

2 – Telegram:

Telegram is an old player in the end-to-end encrypted messaging apps. It was one of the first apps to care for users’ privacy. Telegram is truly anonymous and it’s extremely hard to decrypt the messages sent via Telegram.

You can also delete messages from your Telegram and they get deleted from the servers too. Once deleted, you cannot recover them ever. This is one of the best things about Telegram. 

Telegram lets you create a group for group chats or a ‘Channel’. Channel is somewhat different from the group. Only the channel creator can send messages while the subscribers can only view or read them. This is a great feature if you want to share your messages only but do not want to receive messages in return.

3 – Wire:

Wire provides amazing end-to-end encryption supports. The support comes by default. You do not have to turn on the encryption from Settings. Wire is not as popular as Telegram or Signal but it provides almost the same protections as the other two.

Like Signal, Wire is also open-source and one of the most audited messaging software in the world. According to Wire’s team, they are fully compliant with data protection laws in Switzerland and the EU. These laws are extremely strict and make it hard to sell data.

The other good thing about Wire is that it does not sell your data to third-party services. They might use it for their purpose but it will never go to any other organization. Unlike Facebook and WhatsApp, where your data can be used for certain purposes. Remember Cambridge Analytica?

Wire provides desktop and mobile apps. You can use them to send or receive files or to communicate with your friends and colleagues. There are some paid versions of Wire too but an ordinary user will never have to use those versions at all.

It also uses a new encryption key for every single message that is sent. This protects your other messages from getting exposed if one of the keys is leaked as only one key is attached to a single message.

4 – Threema:

An unpopular name but provides top-notch encryption for your messages. According to Threema developers, they do not store messages on the server and the messages are destroyed as soon as they are received by the intended person.

Moreover, Threema is also open-source. The perfect thing about open-source is that you can verify the claims of the developer. So far, no one has come up with any proof that disputes Threema’s claim. The only disadvantage of Threema is that it is paid.

Apps like Signal is backed up by super-rich individuals and organizations. Threema on the other hand does not enjoy the same company. If you are ok with buying an app, Threema could be a good option for you.

If you are looking to get something free, Signal is highly recommended!

5 – WhatsApp:

WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption for sending and receiving messages. Like many of you, I am not a huge fan of WhatsApp. I guess you all know the reasons. If not, Facebook bought WhatsApp some years ago and now it has plans to use (or they may be using it already?) WhatsApp data for advertisement.

Trusting an app that is backed up by big giants like Facebook is hard. WhatsApp is not open-source. You cannot verify the claims of the developers. All you have are the words from the WhatsApp team. You can either believe them or not. I have to think a hundred times before believing in whatever Facebook or one of their subsidiary claim.

One of the many reasons to use WhatsApp is that it’s free to use. Secondly, the popularity of WhatsApp forces one to install it even if you do not want to use it. Not everyone in your friends and family would like to join Signal or Telegram. 

Use but with extra care – that’s what I have to say about WhatsApp.

6 – Wickr:

Wickr is another encrypted messaging app. With Wickr, you do not need to register with a phone number or an email address. This makes Wickr truly anonymous. Wickr comes with four-tiers. The first one is the free-tier.

The second is called Silver, the third one Gold, and the last one Platinum. Each tier is catered to fulfill specific needs. Wickr is certainly not the most popular or well-known app but it is one of the best in the business. 

Wickr is not only a messaging app but it also provides a platform to collaborate. You can integrate third-party apps like SalesForce, Zendesk, and others. Like Signal, Wickr is also open-source. By now you must have realized the importance of an open-source encrypted messenger app.

7 – iMessage:

If you own an iOS device, you will probably be using iMessage or have used it. iMessage provides end-to-end encryption. However, there is a downside to it too! 

iMessage’s backup is hosted on iCloud. The encryption keys are controlled by Apple. This means, that Apple can encrypt your messages and provide them to LEAs whenever needed. Although iMessage provides encryption messaging but it’s not truly encrypted as Apple can decrypt your messages.

This is one of the many reasons why we didn’t rank iMessage high on our list. It’s a good app but there are several excellent options available in the market that can easily beat iMessage in privacy and encryption.

Therefore, we do not recommend using iMessage if you truly want to go encrypt.

8 – Viber:

Viber was once the biggest competitor of WhatsApp also uses encryption in their service. Although Viber is not much popular in the US and EU it still has 300+ million active users per month. As per the recent statistics, Viber is most popular in Ukraine, Russia, and other ex-USSR states. A big chunk of their traffic comes from these countries.

India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have a good sum of Viber users however they are on the decline. I remember using Viber some years ago but no one in my circle currently uses Viber. This makes Viber an unattractive choice for me. Nonetheless, Viber is great. 

These messaging apps in my opinion are some of the best encryption messaging apps available in the market. Our favorite is Signal for sure and we highly recommend it.

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