5 best WhatsApp alternatives | PCWorld


More than a billion people around the globe use WhatsApp to stay in touch, and while people have been looking for alternatives in the wake of some recent controversies, it can be difficult to quit if your friends circle is already entrenched.

Like most messaging apps of this type, you can only communicate with others who are also using WhatsApp—messaging apps aren’t universal like text messages are. There’s no way to text someone from WhatsApp and have them receive it on Facebook Messenger, for example, or vice-versa. That’s what makes it so hard to leave services like WhatsApp. They only work if you take your friends with you.

Nevertheless, you may want to leave WhatsApp because you’d rather avoid a service owned by Facebook. Or maybe the recent terms of service changes still bother you. Or perhaps you just want to try something new, as each chat service offers distinct selling points. Here are five messaging alternatives for you and your friends. 

Signal

signal Signal

Signal for iOS.

The easiest transition coming from WhatsApp would be Signal. WhatsApp’s encryption scheme is based on Signal’s work, and many of the same features you’re looking for can be found here. Signal offers end-to-end encryption and you can carry out group chats, video chats, and voice calls. You can also share photos and videos, GIFs, emojis, and more. Signal prides itself on its powerful privacy promise, but it still functions as a modern, full-featured messaging app.

One thing Signal does lack is an equivalent to WhatsApp Web for viewing your chats in a web browser on any device. That said, the service offers a desktop app that achieves similar functionality. Unlike WhatsApp, however, Signal’s desktop app only shows new messages from the point you started using it (thanks to the strict way it handles encryption and privacy). You cannot see older messages as you can with WhatsApp.

Signal also supports disappearing messages if you use that feature on WhatsApp. Unlike WhatsApp, however, you can customize the amount of time before messages start disappearing.

If you want to get started with Signal we’ve got an article explaining everything you need to know.

Wire

wire Wire Swiss

Wire is a premium end-to-end encrypted messenger (like Signal) that’s brought to you by some of the same people who developed Skype. Similar to Signal and WhatsApp, you can use your phone number to sign-up. Alternatively, you can sign-up with email. Once that’s done Wire assigns you a username prepended with an “@” similar to Twitter.



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