Mobile messaging apps offer a superior alternative to email and text messaging thanks to built-in social networking features, enhanced security, and free video calling over Wi-Fi or data plans. Aside from established apps like Facebook Messenger, Apple’s FaceTime, and Skype, some of the best messaging apps for desktop and mobile devices are here.
Most Popular Messaging App: WhatsApp
WhatsApp is a mobile text messaging app designed for smartphones and tablets that lets you send text messages, make VoIP calls, and share files from your phone or computer. It also lets you share your GPS location, and you can view the other person’s location without leaving the app, thanks to a built-in map. You can even set a status message for all of your contacts to see without messaging everyone individually.
Unlimited Group Conversations: Viber
Viber and WhatsApp are very similar, but Viber supports additional features like stickers and GIFs, video messaging, and a built-in QR code scanner. Viber users can text and call each other for free regardless of their location. In addition to public chat channels that you can join, the app also supports Communities; group conversations that can contain unlimited members.
Most Secure Messaging App: Silent Phone
Silent Phone supports one-on-one video chat, multi-party voice conferencing for up to six participants, voice memos, etc. Calls and texts between Silent Phone users are encrypted end-to-end on mobile devices, making the app ideal for businesses that handle sensitive data. The built-in Burn feature lets you set an auto-destruct time for messages from one minute to three months for further security. You can subscribe to Silent World to make calls to users without a Silent Phone account.
Send Self-Destructing Photos: Snapchat
Snapchat differs from most mobile communication apps in that it specializes in sending multimedia messages that self-destruct after a predetermined amount of time. You can also send messages without pictures and use Snapcash to send and receive money from your phone. Snapchat even supports a variety of Bitmojis.
Best Cross-Platform Messager: Telegram
Telegram is a cloud-based messaging service accessible from all of your devices. Unlike most messaging apps, it allows you to edit and delete messages even after sending them. Additionally, you can mute notifications for specific durations, send files, and share your location. It also lets you send messages that automatically delete after a designated time.
Voxer is a walkie-talkie or push-to-talk app that delivers live voice messages. The message is instantly played through your friend’s phone speakers if the phone is turned on and the app is running or stored as a recorded message like voicemail. Voxer also supports texting, photo messaging, emoticons, and military-grade security and encryption.
You can also make notes to yourself, star and share messages, and enable Extreme notifications to get repeated alerts and louder sounds. Voxer Pro is the only way to get features like unlimited message storage, admin-controlled chats, message recall, Extreme notifications, chat broadcasting, hands-free walkie-talkie mode, and more.
Custom Phone Numbers: Talkatone
Talkatone offers free voice calling and text messaging over Wi-Fi or data plans. It essentially turns your tablet into a phone even if it doesn’t have a cellular plan. When you sign up, you get a real phone number for free. You can call not just other Talkatone users but even regular landlines.
This messaging app works much like your regular phone’s calling and texting features. You can change ringtones, hide texts from showing in notifications, change your voicemail greeting, block numbers, access your phone’s contacts, and more. You can purchase Talkatone Plus to unlock more features like call forwarding and voicemail transcriptions. You can also remove ads and get unlimited international calls monthly.
No User Account Required: HeyTell
HeyTell is another push-to-talk app that allows for instant voice messaging. A push notification tells the recipient when a voice message is received, and the message plays when they open the app. If the recipient has the app open at the time of the message, it plays for them automatically.
One thing that sets this messaging app apart from most others is that you don’t have to make a user account to get started. Just enter your name and start adding contacts by their phone number or email address. HeyTell is free, but there are in-app premium options for advanced features like ringtones, a voice changer, message expiration, etc.