Do you remember the last time you went a whole day without sending or receiving a text? Probably not. Whether you’re using your computer to send messages or your phone, it’s a big part of your communication online. And sometimes using a default messenger app on your device simply isn’t enough.
Thankfully, there are plenty of third-party messaging apps for Android to choose from. Whether you’re looking for something very straight-forward with a minimum number of functions, or searching for an app that will let you customize everything about it down to the very last symbol.
Telegram – Best Overall
There are many reasons why you might want to start using Telegram right now. To name a few, the ability to send large media files, have “secret” chats with your friends, edit or delete messages after you send them, or even watch YouTube videos while chatting to people.
However, Telegram’s creators pride themselves on putting security as their main priority. With this app, you can send encrypted messages without worrying about your private conversations staying private. The app also allows you to use a proxy server which can further help you protect your data.
When it comes to chatting, Telegram also has plenty of special features that other messaging apps are lacking. For example, you can use multiple phone number within the app. If you’re creating a group chat, you don’t need to be worried about the number of people you’re adding to it. In Telegram you can have a group chat with up to 200,000 participants.
The app is also very customizable. There’s an auto-night mode, various themes and chat backgrounds to choose from. You can also use Telegram’s live location share feature to track your family and friends from your phone. So if you’re looking for a messaging app that has it all, Telegram deserves to be on top of your list.
Signal – The Most Secure One
If strong security is a deal breaker for you, consider making Signal your primary messaging app. The app uses strong end-to-end encryption and doesn’t store any user records. While you do need to register a valid phone number to use it, that’s the only information that can be revealed about your use of the app.
Other features that make Signal one of the most secure messaging apps include setting an additional screen lock on the app, hiding notifications from your lock screen, and self-destructing messages.
The latter is actually an extremely useful feature, since on other apps you sometimes have to learn how to send self-destructing messages. On Signal you can simply switch the “disappearing messages” function on, and the app will do all the work for you.
Android Messages – The Simple Option
Sometimes you don’t have to go far to find what you’re looking for. Android Messages is Google’s official texting app that has the minimal number of all the basic features for the average user.
Android Messages supports RCS features, which means that you can get extra chat functionality like read receipts, and file transfers. The app also has a dark mode, perfect for low-light environment. If you ever need to send messages from your computer, you can also do that using the app’s official website.
WhatsApp – The Convenient One
While there might be many alternative messaging clients, the majority of users in the West keep using WhatsApp. One of the main reasons for that is the app’s popularity. Most of your friends are already using WhatsApp, so why choose a different messenger?
Plus, if you are looking for an option that has a good balance between the amount of features, security, and customization, WhatsApp might be the best choice for you.
Among the most useful features this app comes with is live location sharing, switching from one phone number to another while keeping your WhatsApp data, and the ability to “unsend” your messages. On top of that, WhatsApp caters to voice and video calling – a feature that’s not available on Telegram, for instance.
WhatsApp also uses end-to-end encryption for both messages and file transfers, which means that the messages are removed from the servers once they’re delivered.
Viber – The One For Making Friends
Viber is another messaging app with an interface and functionality similar to WhatsApp. And there are plenty of reasons you might want to choose it as your main chatting app. You can liven up your texts with stickers and GIFs, as well as voice and video messages.
When it comes to security, Viber has secret chats that come with a self-destruct timer. You can set it to delete messages in a certain conversation to make sure your private information stays private. One interesting feature the app has is the ability to call any mobile or landline in the world. The service is called Viber Out, and while it’s not free, it’s definitely useful if you’re trying to contact someone who’s not a Viber user.
However, the main feature that makes this messaging app stand out is Viber Communities. They’re public group chats that you can join at any moment. Meaning you don’t even need to have friends on the app to use Viber. These chats have unlimited number of members, their own admins and moderators who look after the chats. You can even start your own community and meet new people that share your views and interests.
Facebook Messenger – The One With Extra Functionality
Many people believe that you can’t use Messenger without having an active Facebook account. In reality, you can use Facebook Messenger as a standalone app. All you need to sign up is your mobile number. The only difference is, if you already have a Facebook account, you’ll see all of your Facebook friends in your Messenger contacts already.
The app comes with all the standard features, like using group chats, reacting to messages, and the ability to remove the messages you already sent. Messenger also supports file transfers, so you can share photos and videos with your friends. You can also use the in-app camera to capture your own photos and videos, then edit them in the app using filters and editing tools, and send them to your contacts.
One distinctive difference that Messenger has compared to other apps though is the ability to do more than just chatting. Inside a chat, tap on the four dots in the bottom-left corner and you’ll see a list of activities that you can start with your contacts. That includes sharing your location, setting reminders, playing games, watching videos together, and many more.
The Perfect Texting App For You
In the end, it all comes down to what you want from your messaging app. Whether it’s excellent security, extensive functionality, or over-the-top customization, there’s definitely an app out there that can cater to your needs and preferences.
But if you’re looking for a messaging client that’s already proven its worth, give one of the apps from our list a try. And if you find the one that’s most convenient and satisfying for you, maybe you can get your contacts to switch to a better option with you.