If you are worried about your internet privacy, I bet you should, because right now privacy isn’t something that you can get easily, but it’s your right. With the best private messaging apps you can secure the message, audio, videos, and files.
Communication is free and easy, but with the government picking into our lives you should take caution and pick a good encrypted messaging app.
With the number of encrypted chat apps available right now, secret messages can help your communication, and keep spies away from your life. If your messaging app doesn’t have end-to-end encryption, your private message can be read by the company and the government.
This alone can pose a serious threat to your privacy online and data collected from you will also be on their end. Using a private messaging app isn’t enough to secure your chat, that’s why you need to protect your device.
Another way to protect yourself online is by using a Virtual Private Network so that metadata collected by some companies won’t be able to trace back to you.
You should know that a VPN won’t protect you from internet malware — that is why you should also get an anti-virus application. Thankfully encrypted messaging app is a step and effort to send messages privately online.
What is an encrypted message?
An end-to-end encrypted message is encrypted data that can only be read by the receiver and the sender. The encryption helps decrypt the messages from the sender to the receiver. And encryption also helps prevent other third-party from interfering and scooping on your private message.
The best private messaging apps
Several messaging apps don’t apply end-to-end encryption by default. And for you to use this app you need to enable it yourself. Here are the best private messaging apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac.
1. Signal Messenger
Signal has been recommended by Elon Musk and other top security experts. And it is one of the most respected private messaging apps available right now. The app is available for free on iPhone, Android, Mac, and Windows.
Signal boasts plenty of features and the app remains open-source for other security experts to see and find loopholes in the source code. Their encryption method is WOW, and it’s the encryption protocol most messaging apps use.
Signal Messenger supports group chats, and it allows you to send and receive files and photos. The app comes with a disappearing message that allows messages sent during a specific time to be deleted.
You can also use the app for your default SMS app. But you should know your SMS won’t be encrypted except the other person is using Signal as well. The encryption works when both you and the person use Signal to send and receive SMS.
OS: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
2. WhatsApp Messenger
One thing I love about WhatsApp is its seamless design and the feature daily status, but they’re always some info about WhatsApp flying around which can make you seem like prey.
WhatsApp is the most popular private messaging app in the world with over 2 billion users (that’s a lot of users,). WhatsApp is an encrypted messaging app that allows you to send and receive messages securely by removing third-party interference.
Most users think WhatsApp doesn’t have end-to-end encryption, and they think Meta (formally Facebook) spies on their messages. But WhatsApp clarified that they can’t see or read your message because it’s encrypted. WhatsApp uses the same protocol Signal used to encrypt its messages.
WhatsApp’s popularity gives it an edge over other message apps, and its adoption is still making the app grow? WhatsApp features include a voice memo, video call, location and file sharing, group chats, and disappearing messages.
WhatsApp can let you connect with a lot of your contact (most of them are already using WhatsApp). You can also use two-step verification to secure your WhatsApp account. Create a backup with Google Drive if you’re using Android.
The only problem WhatsApp got is that they still collect your metadata; which is referred to as your electronic fingerprint. WhatsApp shared your metadata with Facebook. This metadata includes your location, IP address, device model, and others. If you’re worried about your metadata being collected by Facebook, you can use other WhatsApp alternatives.
OS: Windows, macOS, KaiOS, Android, iOS
3. Telegram Messenger
With Telegram Messenger you can send and receive messages securely but you need to enable Secret chat first. Telegram encryption model isn’t quite forward and either the app is fully open source, partially of course. But they claim that the messaging app is secure and private when the Secret chat is enabled.
If you want to keep your Telegram account private, you should enable the two-step verification to stop anyone from gaining access to your account. Telegram end-to-end encryption isn’t enabled by default, so you need to enable Secret chat. If you don’t encrypt your Telegram chat, your data will be stored on Telegram’s servers.
Telegram features include chat backups, and disappearing messages (allow messages to disappear after a certain time). The app support group chats with up to 200,000 members, search any public group, create channels, make calls, sign-in with any device, and even stores large files on their server.
Telegram uses its protocol, the MTProto, to encrypt your messages. The client-side code for Telegram is open-source while the server-side code is not. Telegram features bring in plenty of stickers and sticking playing audio memos at the top, and even simple video and photo editing you can’t be wrong with Telegram. Just activate secret chat before using it.
OS: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Most of the messaging apps on this list with end-to-end encryption default are free, but that’s not with Threema. Unlike most free message apps Threema comes with a paid service starting from $1.55 at its lowest. Threema is one of the best messaging apps out there that want to protect your identity and also make you send messages anonymously.
The app is open source and has been tested and audited several times by expert security personnel. The app doesn’t allow you to sign up with your phone number or email address which makes more private than any messaging app here. Threema generates an ID for you to send messages to other Threema users.
Threema says that users’ data are not stored in their server, and any data that goes through it will be removed immediately after it is sent. The private app also encrypts your videos, calls, and image files, and allows you to create groups with users and also check out daily status like WhatsApp.
If you’re looking for a private message app without using your data to sign up to their platform and stay anonymous, Threema is your bet. The messaging app doesn’t collect data, but it’s just limited; they collect your metadata.
OS: Android, iOS
Price: Start at $1.55
One of the best private messaging apps is Wire, the app feature a free and paid plan. Unlike Threema, the messaging app offers a paid and free messaging app, to get the full benefits you’ll need to use their paid service. The app comes with plenty of features with an end-to-end encryption model.
The app encryption cover’s all your messages transferred between any devices, encrypts videos call, secures file sharing, and lots more. It also has self-destructing messages that delete messages over time and allows you to set a lock for the Wire app.
The private messaging app stores some of your metadata which includes your timestamps and participants lists. And they also keep server-side logs for up to 72 hours “for facilitating troubleshooting, improving the service and preventing abuse” as they claimed.
OS: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Price: Free, and $9.50
6. Apple iMessage
Apple has an instant messaging app that allows users to send end-to-end encryption messages. iMessage allows you to control how long the message is seen by the recipient and read. The self disappearing message is only available to those who have iOS 10 and above. Apple iMessage is only available for iOS, macOS, and iPadOS devices.
With iMessage, you can send documents, videos, images, and more. If you want to video chat, you can use Apple FaceTime. If you use iMessage to send messages to someone using an Android device, the message won’t be secure.
To make the messages private the person needs to be using Apple iMessage. Every encrypted message remains on Apple’s servers for 7 days before they are deleted.
As with other messaging apps, Apple iMessage still has its share of problems. When backing up your iMessage on iCloud do know that a court ruling could get your messages when it is encrypted on iCloud.
On iCloud, a key-controlled and used by Apple allow access to these messages. If you don’t want Apple getting access to your message, stop backing up your messages to iCloud.
OS: macOS, iOS, iPadOS
Price: Free | Apple device,
7. Facebook Messenger
Facebook, now Meta creates a trust problem for its users, but the social company just wants to bring people together. After their problem with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and the now released Facebook documents.
The secret conversation allows anyone to use the feature. And it’s the same end-to-end encryption model that Signal and WhatsApp use. But Signal and WhatsApp are both available on default. So if you want to use Messenger, a Secret conversation message needs to be activated.
Messenger is available for both iPhone and Android phones and provides a convenient way to keep up with friends and family thanks to its wide popularity. The app allows vanish mode, messages disappearing after a certain time set by you. When using Facebook to know how you can protect your account, we’ve written an article for that.
OS: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
They’re different factors that make a messaging app private, and you must want to know that — there are factors that determine if a messaging app is private.
If a private messing app is secure, there should be a limit on how the company collects and users’ customer data. One of the basic factors that determine if a messaging app is private is when the data collection is reduced.
Encryption reduced how data is collected and stored, but some best private messaging apps like Threema, Telegram, Messenger, and WhatsApp collect
This metadata is associated with you and it’s referred to as your electronic fingerprint. Metadata includes information such as your location, IP address, device, phone model, the time you’re online and offline, and others. If you want to block apps from collecting your metadata, you can use a VPN instead.
The one thing that’s required for a private message app is encryption. If a messaging app is not encrypted it’s not secure and thus the app is not private. Before using a messaging app check if it has end-to-end encryption.
Encryption makes sure the receiver and the sender can read the chat. Another thing to note here is that most of the messaging apps don’t come with encryption as a default, so, if you want to use the messaging app you will have to enable it.
To be clear, this is something that you won’t see elsewhere or what people won’t tell you and that is the truth. There’s nothing like a free or even paid app, all messaging apps collect one data or the other. It either goes with your email, phone number, or metadata.
You’ll just have to pick the one your most comfortable with (truth hurt for most people). But all the private messaging apps listed here can’t see, read, or temper your message. Your message is 100% private and can’t be accessed by any third party.