Choosing your messaging app carefully is crucial if you’re looking for a way to keep your conversations over text private. Unfortunately, not each of them is end-to-end encrypted (E2EE), and others might have security holes compromising your privacy.
So keep your messages confidential with these apps.
E2EE implies that only you (the sender) and your recipient can visit the contents of your messages. Most importantly, it excludes third parties, such as your mobile carrier, internet service provider (ISP), and mobile manufacturer.
Some users may want this additional layer of protection to assist in preventing any outside snooping from the government and other institutions that may try to use your private conversations against you. However, all the apps listed here are free and offer E2EE so that you can worry less about your privacy.
So let’s get into it.
The Signal is the most well-known private messaging app and is my personal go-to. It presents a simple, aesthetically pleasing interface that creates it comfortable to use as a replacement for your device’s default messaging app. Signal also expresses itself as an “independent nonprofit company” that has no ads or trackers within the app. Messages, video, and voice calls are E2EE on Signal. In Android, you can also employ Signal for less secure SMS / MMS messages. Still, the only approach you can get complete protection in Signal is if both users at either end are using the app. You don’t have to bother about this if you’re an iPhone user, though, since you can’t modify your default SMS app. Signal is a great app to employ as your default messenger or for typical situations when you need to communicate securely.
Telegram is another excellent secure messaging app. It delivers server-client encryption for group and private chats, and you can transmit messages with E2EE by using Telegram’s Secret Chats feature. In addition, Telegram permits you to send self-destructing messages, which vanish after a specific period. If you erase your message in a chat, Telegram will also erase it on your recipient’s device. While Telegram recently balled out a paid tier that delivers faster downloads and larger file uploads, the free rendition of the app still has a ton of great features. Telegram is deep about privacy but also has other fun features like stickers.
Wickr Me is an app with a parent division that may make it appear off-putting. Amazon Web Services bought Wickr Me last year, but the service is even a solid messaging app that should keep your conversations secure. While Wickr Me is geared more toward enterprise professionals using the app to communicate with their colleagues, this doesn’t convey a typical user can’t use it. The free version of the app permits encrypted personal and group messaging, audio and video calling, and file sharing. It also allows you set timers for disappearing messages. Wickr Me, owned by Amazon Web Services, is a private messaging app geared more toward professional users.
Wire has a relatively simple interface. You can quickly build groups and add contacts. Wire is a stripped-down messaging app with a specific interface that does exactly what you require: send E2EE messages and create E2EE voice and video calls. Some paid premium options exist, but those strategies best suit businesses looking for a secure collaboration app. Wire is a no-nonsense app that sustains secure messaging, calling, and file sharing.
With Viber, you can anticipate a full-featured messaging experience, done with everything you’d find on a modern messaging app, like stickers, GIFs, and message reactions. It also functions a bit like Telegram in that you can explore and join different channels to remain up to date on your interested topics. However, although it supports E2EE for calls and messages, it is a bit more cluttered than some other apps here — you might see ads and channel recommendations while using it.
What’s interesting about Skred is that you don’t need a phone number or email to sign up. Skred also doesn’t use your phone’s contacts to detect whether any of your friends use the app. You can only invite people to the app by having them scan a QR code from your app while in person or by sending them the code through another messaging service. Skred supports E2EE messaging as well as voice and video calls.