For many years, instant messengers have been a big part of communication. However, finding the best one can be difficult. You want to communicate with friends and family, but are some messaging apps better than others? Are free apps worth using? Are they all secure? What features do they offer? What makes them stand out? All of these questions are important, and we’ll go over them to help you make the best choice.
#1 – Telegram
Telegram is a fairly new messaging app in the field. However, it has gained attention for being one of the safest products on the market. Between Telegram and Telegram Secret Chats, the products have some good features. Created in 2013 by the founders of the Russian Facebook, this app has no ads and is free for users. It has other sources of funding that it uses to stay afloat.
Telegram is very secure and has what they call a self destruct feature. Your messages are on a timer once they are read, so they will disappear. We like that all types of files may be sent securely. The messenger is fast, efficient, and is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
If you want a secure messenger app, Telegram is our favorite. Other great features include cloud encrypted message storage, the ability to sync across all devices, and a way to build your own tools for the app. Again, the app is free so you can use it’s speed to help you stay in touch with up to 5000 contacts. On the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s messenger scale, Telegram scored a perfect score of 7 out of 7.
#2 – Cyphr
Cyphr is a secure messaging app that is produced by the makers of VyprVPN (GoldenFrog). They are well known in the industry for providing highly secure products. Unlike Telegram, they only have the app available for Android and iOS. However, their website states that additional operating systems will be out soon. The app is free for users, and contains no third party ads. Funding is generated most likely by their VPN product.
The app offers some nice features that you would hope to see in a messenger. The goal of GoldenFrog is to make communications as easy as possible. They are a zero knowledge company, so they keep a minimal amount of information about the messages. Messages will stay encrypted until they are opened by the receiver.
Cyphr is good for messaging, but we wish they would come out with more versions. Also, it would be nice if messages were synced across many devices. We would also like to see self destructing messages. Given our points we just brought up, Cyphr is really good about the encryption procedures it provides and is worth checking out.
#3 – Silent Circle
Silent Circle is a messaging app that offers encrypted video calling, text messages, and voice calling. Additionally they offer hardware, and tout themselves as a business solution for privacy. Silent Circle is available for iOS, Android, and the proprietary Silent OS. Should you decide to check this app out, keep in mind that the app is $9.99 a month.
There are a few features included in the Silent Circle app that set it apart. Those include peer to peer encryption of data (if both are Silent Circle members), secure file sharing up to 100MB, and integration with MDM solution providers like Citrix, Soti, and Good Technology. Settings for the app allow you to control the information you want to share with others, and when you want the messages to disappear.
Silent Circle messenger was built from the ground up with privacy in mind. It has some good features, but seems to be more geared toward business and enterprise. We would like to see them offer more platforms for their products. Also, $120 a year may not sound like much to some, but many don’t want to pay a subscription fee for an app.
#4 – Signal App
Another recent messaging program in the industry is the Signal App by Open Whisper Systems. Founded by security researchers in 2013, the Signal App was designed to keep it’s users safe. Currently, it is available for Android and iOS only. Support wise, it is funded by donations and grants. Signal is free to use, has no advertisements, and uses open source Code.
Like some other apps, you can use Signal to make video and regular calls all over the world without having to use data or texting features, providing you contact other members. It does not require you to change your phone number or any other passwords. Voice calls are performed as VoIP, and are encrypted using AES 128-bit encoding.
The Signal App is a very strong offering by Open Whisper Systems. Their open source messenger has many good points, including a 7 out of 7 app rating by the EFF. Though it is only available for Android and IOS, we like the fact it is ad free. If you are looking for a good VoIP program, Signal is one you will want to check out.
#5 – RedPhone
Created in 2010, RedPhone is one of the first messaging programs produced by Open Whisper Systems. The company was bought by Twitter in 2011, and was taken offline for awhile. However, there were complaints because it was popular during the Arab Spring. RedPhone is available for Android and is free to use. For iOS devices, RedPhone is part of the Signal App.
Though RedPhone does not do much else other than secure your phone calls, they are able to protect their VoIP channels by using the same technology that Silent Circle messenger uses. We find RedPhone to be a good program, and like Signal, it was given a 7 out of 7 by the EFF. It works well, and there is no charge for the app. If you are an Android user, you will want to check it out.
No matter which of these message apps you choose, you will want to use one of them. As you can see, they are all good choices. However, some of them may fit your needs better. The one you pick depends on what features you want. If you are looking for enterprise solutions, Silent Circle is a good option with their 100 mb of secure file sharing. For individual use, the other options are great. We hope we have helped you choose the best messaging app, and realize that there are differences between them. For more information, please look at our individual reviews.