Everyone knows that WhatsApp conversations are protected with end-to-end encryption. But this is not enough to prevent our privacy from being compromised, since as it is well known, WhatsApp will start showing ads very soon. All this without taking into account all the personal information that the app can store and share with Facebook.
Data mining is too juicy a source of revenue to pass up just like that. Since the founders of WhatsApp left the company “for ethical reasons”, Facebook has not stopped pointing in this direction in order to monetize an application that, no matter how much they paint it in another way, is still a deficit economically speaking.
The best secure messaging apps: 10 alternatives to WhatsApp that do respect the privacy of their users
Remember that WhatsApp has billions of users, and surely the maintenance of its servers should not be cheap exactly! Below, we present 10 secure messaging apps superior to WhatsApp, at least in terms of privacy.
Telegram is probably the most powerful alternative to WhatsApp that we can find today. For starters, it offers very similar features, such as integrated voice and video calls, plus stickers, emojis, bots, group chats, and the famous Telegram channels.
But Telegram is not just a mobile app: it is also available in a desktop version for Windows, Linux and Mac, and it even has a web version for browsers. Of course, it offers end-to-end encryption and respects your privacy in no other way.
Kik has earned a rather unfortunate reputation in recent years as an app that is used by its users to do sexting, buying and selling illegal products and all kinds of unlawful activities. However, that only proves one thing, and that is that it is a messaging platform that respects privacy like no other app on the market.
We are facing a completely free chat application that does not store our phone number: we only communicate by username. In addition, all messages are saved locally, in the phone’s internal memory. Thus leaving the matter of privacy completely in our hands. Kik is, therefore, an application virtually uncontrollable by external agents. Perfect for those seeking maximum privacy.
Wire – Secure Messenger
As its name suggests, Wire is a secure messaging app. Created by Skype co-founder Janus Friis, it offers message encryption and one of the most attractive designs of recent times.
The application requires a phone number or an email to be used, but it is not shared with other users, with whom we communicate only through an alias. Another advantage is that it allows you to create messages that self-destruct automatically after a certain time.
Threema is one of the most outstanding secure messaging services for Android. Its philosophy is aimed at maintaining the privacy of its users:
- It is designed to save as little data as possible on your servers.
- Subscriptions to groups and contact lists are managed locally, on the user’s phone.
- Messages are immediately removed from the server once they have been delivered to their recipient.
- Local files in internal memory are stored encrypted.
On top of that, all communications in Threema are end-to-end encrypted, be it chats, voice calls, group chats, media files and even status messages. An excellent service, which, even though it is a paid app, has more than 1 million installations and one of the best ratings on Google Play on this list.
They say that Wickr Me is the messaging app of choice for journalists and political leaders who want to keep their private affairs private. Like WhatsApp, Wickr Me uses our phone number to log in, and it also has the classic stickers and emoticons.
But there the similarities with WhatsApp end. Wickr does not record our contact list on its servers, does not save metadata and “irretrievably” deletes our messages from its servers whenever we request it. It’s free, ad-free, and offers an excellent level of encryption. What more could you want?
Riot is a communication app focused on chat rooms, group calls, and other large-scale interactions. In practice, Riot works as an excellent messaging platform with privacy at its core. In fact, it is an open source application, which means that it is always being improved to achieve maximum security.
Your best assets in favor of privacy:
- It is not necessary to associate a telephone number to use it.
- End-to-end encryption.
- Control over the messages that can and cannot see the new users that enter the chat rooms.
- It is based on the Matrix protocol, which has an excellent reputation as a secure communication platform.
At the interface level, it has a certain air to WhatsApp, which will make us not notice too much change if we decide to abandon WhatsApp and make the leap to Riot.
Singal is a kind of open source clone based on Telegram, therefore, we will see several similarities between both apps. It offers private communication based on our phone number, although it is used only as a user identifier.
With Signal we can create groups, send mass messages and, in short, more or less the same as with Telegram, but from a more open perspective, since it allows anyone to verify their security by auditing the code.
Antox is a secure messaging app that uses the Tox protocol, which is Peer to Peer (P2P), to chat with other people. A good way to make sure that no one listens to our conversations.
The only “downside” that we can find is that it is an application that is still in beta phase. In any case, even if it is still in development, it is a good alternative to WhatsApp if what we are looking for is much higher privacy.
Kontalk is another secure messaging app, which in this case is based on the open XMPP and OpenPGP standards, which means that we can use our own server.
It uses end-to-end encryption, with an encryption method that is irreversible. It is also free, open source, and its source code is available on Github, allowing it to be studied and improved. A transparent application like few others.
One of the biggest WhatsApp competitors, and at the same time, one of the least known. LINE is a Japanese instant messaging app that offers a powerful set of functionalities. Group calls, thousands of stickers (this takes years of advantage over any other similar app) and a highly customizable interface. Note that it also consumes less data during calls. Not bad!
LINE has end-to-end encryption, and although some services need access to the contact list, or the location, for functional reasons, all this is optional. Furthermore, all data sent to LINE’s servers is encrypted. As an extra, comment that we can also set timers to delete our messages from LINE’s servers after a certain time.
Personally, I have used LINE regularly for years, and the truth is that it is my favorite on an aesthetic and visual level. Don’t lose sight of her!