Online privacy has been getting a lot of attention. It seems like there’s a new threat to both privacy and security every day.
Thankfully, developers are rising to the challenge and creating apps that protect our data and communications from prying eyes.
This even applies to some of the basic functionality we get from our smartphone such as calls and messaging.
We’ll look at ten of the best messaging apps that provide private and secure communication service.
Each of these apps brings special features that make it worth checking out.
The list below is in no particular order.
This is probably the most well-known and popular messaging app with a full spectrum security service.
Moreover, Signal provides a wide range of different messaging options. Users can communicate over HD video or audio streams.
The program not only supports photographs, it even includes a basic image editing program. And of course it supports basic text messaging as well.
One of the app’s major claims to fame comes from its development model. The program is fully open source.
This means that people can easily verify that the app is fully secure by looking through its code. It’s open source, run by nonprofits and free to use.
Wickr Me supports encrypted voice chat, messaging, voice memos, images and video.
One of the most recent additions even gives users the ability to securely transfer files between each other.
The app is notable for the level of protection it offers. One would expect every message sent through the app to be encrypted. But the app goes above and beyond by using a new encryption key for every message.
This provides an impressive level of security. It also gives users a “shredder” function to fully overwrite all the app’s data.
This shredder function will even delete the app’s cached information from a device. Users can take this even further by configuring a timer within the app to automatically delete data.
Telegram is one of the most well-known solutions for secure messaging. The app currently boasts over 500 million active users.
Telegram makes heavy use of cloud computing to distribute functionality across both servers and user’s various devices.
For example, you can start typing out a message on your phone and finish writing it on your tablet.
Telegram also features a full API for developers who want to expand on the app’s functionality.
Users can use Telegram to send texts, images and files. It also boasts an impressive group chat functionality that can seamlessly transition into voice chat or video.
It’s worth noting that the cloud functionality means data isn’t stored on the user’s device.
This means that there’s no need to worry about wiping local data. But data might still be stored on the cloud unless deleted.
Thankfully, this is easily accomplished with the “secret chat” feature. This system uses extra encryption and will automatically delete itself from the cloud and all participating devices.
Threema offers encrypted texting, images, voice and video. The program’s open source policy means that users can always verify that the code is secure. And servers are hosted in Switzerland for the highest possible level of political neutrality.
The app is one of the few on this list that require users to make a purchase. However, the extra cost also comes with some extra security.
The company regularly works with commissioned third party experts to audit the codebase. This ensures that app is always secured against any possible threat or security issue.
Threema also offers some rare functionality that makes it especially notable. Perhaps most importantly, it’s usable through a desktop web browser.
This means that you can use it on both Android devices and any desktop or laptop system with a web browser. And of course, all data sent through either app or browser is fully encrypted.
Privacy Messenger functions a little differently than most of the other apps. It aims to essentially replace Android’s stock messaging and dialer app.
Depending on your device this can offer a nice upgrade of the baked in functionality.
For example, many default dialers don’t have full support for dual sim cards. But with Privacy Messenger you’ll be able to use dual sims to their full effect for calls, SMS and MMS.
It also adds a higher level of blacklisting than the standard Android call and messaging apps.
The app uses full encryption for messages. And it can even automatically clear call logs after hanging up.
The app also offers a special “private box” with custom notifications for specific encrypted messages.
TextU offers an alternate option for people looking for similar functionality to Privacy Messenger.
TextU also acts as a more secure and encrypted replacement for Android’s stock dialer and messaging.
It does require online registration to access free online messages. But other than that it’s a fairly seamless way to use encrypted messaging on Android.
Session takes a unique approach to secured cloud computing. Instead of relying on one company’s cloud servers, it works through a model based on user centered distributed computing.
There’s no need to worry about server breaches because there are no central servers. Data is partially distributed throughout the user base. This also means that there’s no central point of failure.
With that in mind, the feature set is a little limited when compared to some of the other options.
It provides fully encrypted texting – including images. Uses can also transfer files between each other in a secure and fully encrypted manner.
But at the moment there’s no voice or video streaming. But with that in mind, Session deserves special attention simply for their unique approach to security.
Moreover, no phone number or email is needed to sign up.
Surespot offers secure symmetric-key encrypted messaging. The project itself is fully open source so there’s no need to worry about any built-in security leaks.
The feature set is a little limited when compared to most of the other options. For example, it offers voice messaging but not true encrypted calls or options for video streams.
However, the app excels when it comes to identity management. Users have a wide variety of options to create and manage multiple identities within the app. This means that you can essentially be anyone for any purpose.
Silence provides a solid combination of security and ease of use. It uses a specially developed Axolotl encryption protocol to provide an extra layer of security for any message.
What’s more, the app’s data is locally encrypted as well. That means that your messaging data is always safe even if your device is stolen. The codebase is also open source, so you can verify that it’s fully safe and secure.
Simplicity is one of the app’s high points. As such, the number of features is somewhat limited when compared to the other options.
It provides encrypted texting and the ability to send images over MMS. If that’s all you need in a messaging app then the app’s simplicity offers a very streamlined experience.
Wire is one of the most feature packed secure messaging apps. This is in large part because it’s one of the few privacy-centered messaging apps specifically targeting business use.
And anyone who’s had to work with internally developed projects knows just how important it is to stay secure when doing so.
The focus on business use extends to an additional emphasis on team, group and conference messaging or calls.
You’ll also find a lot of polish that’s especially useful for business use. For example, the app features a one-click solution for conference calls set at specific times.
There’s no need to wade through menus when you want to get in touch with your team at that exact moment.
The service is also available for iOS and all major desktop operating systems. Wire’s multi-platform support provides full end to end encryption no matter what device team members want to use. This applies to standard messages, audio and video chat.
The app gives users one of the widest selection of security options. This even includes the use of device fingerprinting.
Wire is fully open source so users can review the app’s source code at any time. The IDC also recognizes the app as secure and private.
The number of features might make it a little complex for standard use. But it’s an ideal fit for professional use.