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 s your right. With the best private messaging app you can secure your message, audio, videos, and files you sent through messaging app. 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 of the companies won’t be able to trace it back to you. But you should know that a VPN won’t protect you from internet malware — that’s 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 from 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 encrypted instant messaging apps
Several messaging apps don’t apply end-to-end encryption as a default, and for you to use these apps you need to enable it yourself. Here are the best private messaging app 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 app available right now. The app is available for free on iPhone, Android, Mac, and Windows. Signal boasts plenty of features and the app remains an 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 uses.
Signal Messenger support group chats and it allow 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 a prey. WhatsApp is the most popular instant messaging app in the world with more than 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 an end-to-end encryption method that’s Meta (formally Facebook) spies on their messages, but WhatsApp made it clear that they can’t see or read your message because it’s encrypted. WhatsApp uses the same protocol Signal use to encrypt their 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, and 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. These metadata include 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
Telegram Messenger allows you to send and receive messages securely but you need to enable Secret chats 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 chats are enabled.
If you want to still keep your Telegram account private as possible 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 before using the app to communicate with anyone. If you don’t encrypt your Telegram chat, your data will be stored on Telegram’s servers.
Telegram features include chat backups, 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 app 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 than private than any messaging app here. Threema generates an ID for you to be able 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, 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. But don’t think that the app doesn’t collect data, but it’s just limited; they collect your metadata.
OS: Android, iOS
Price: Start at $1.55
Wire is an open-source free and paid messaging app. Unlike Threema, Wire offers a paid and free messaging app, to get the full benefits of using Wire you’ll need to use their paid service. The app comes with plenty of features with an end-to-end encryption model.
Wire encryption cover’s all your messages transferred between any devices, encrypt videos call, secure file sharing, and lots more. The app also has self-destructing messages and allows you to set a lock of the app.
Wire 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 the sole purpose of facilitating troubleshooting, improving the service and preventing abuse” as they claimed.
OS: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Price: Free, and $9.50
6. Apple iMessages
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 using your data or Wi-Fi without your network airtime. 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. Trust issues are reducing but all the same, the Facebook Messenger app allows its users to chat privately with end-to-end encryption. But you have to enable it to use private secure messages.
The secret conversation allows just 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, 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 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’s 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 messaging apps like Threema, Telegram, Wire, 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’s 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 you’re most comfortable with (truth hurt for most people). But all the 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.