The best encrypted instant messaging apps for Android ensure that your chats, calls, and videos are private and secure.
Messaging apps have been popular on Android smartphones since their release, but while there are an increasing number of privacy apps available, there are also a growing number of encrypted chat apps.
These are meant to better protect users in an online world where marketing companies are increasingly trying to not only track users but also read their messages. In addition, private messaging traditionally includes copies of your chat sessions to be saved on company servers, which can be exposed and spread online through a successful hack attack.
Encrypted instant messaging ensures privacy and security by making sure that only the person you send your messages to can actually read them. The strong encryption software built into messaging apps means that any third party who intercepts these messages will not be able to read them.
With the growing popularity of Android phones, encrypted apps are becoming increasingly popular. Here we are showing the best encrypted instant messaging apps currently available.
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Signal is widely seen as the gold standard for encrypted messaging apps, not least because its encryption engine is open source and available for anyone to check out. This doesn’t make hacking any easier, but it does mean that there are a lot of eyes looking at the strength of encryption methods.
Besides the industry-leading coding offered here, the app itself is fairly easy and basic in terms of visuals and appearance. However, it does support group chats, as well as sending files and images as well as text, so you will be well covered no matter what your needs are.
Signal can replace the default SMS app if you wish, but the basic SMS texts are not encrypted – you and the person you’re chatting with need to have Signal installed for the encryption feature to work properly, otherwise Signal doesn’t have enough control over both ends Conversation.
The app also includes many other useful features in addition to the high security measures, such as video calls, disappearing messages that disappear after a certain period of time (perfect for those conversations you don’t want to remain recorded).
No doubt you are already familiar with WhatsApp as one of the best messaging apps out there, but you might not have realized that it offers end-to-end encryption for your messages – in fact, it uses the ultra-strong encryption protocol developed by Signal.
There is very little that WhatsApp cannot do. In addition to standard text conversations, it is capable of handling video calls, group chats, location sharing, and file transfers of various types. You can test the connection of many people at once with the broadcast feature, leave voice memos, and much more.
The immense popularity of WhatsApp works in its favor as well, because there is a possibility that the people in your contact list have already installed it to keep in touch with friends and family. All of those chats are fully encrypted by default – and there’s no way to turn them off.
What may give you a pause when it comes to using this app is that it is, of course, owned by Facebook, which means that you are contributing to the data collection practices of the largest social network in the world. Facebook can’t read your messages (end-to-end encryption prevents this), but it can log other data about you for marketing purposes, such as your phone’s location.
Telegram is almost as well respected as Signal, even though its encryption methods are not open source and therefore not as well audited by third-party security experts. What it does in its favor is a slicker interface, if that’s important to you.
Another caveat about Telegram is that end-to-end encryption is not enabled by default, so you need to make sure that confidential mode is activated before you can be sure no one else is taking advantage of your communications. Other types of chat and file transfers are encrypted, but only for part of their journey to other parties.
Regardless of these issues, Telegram impresses in most areas, with features like chat backups and message disappearances (messages with expiration times attached). You can upload group chats, make video calls and more, and in use it is as responsive and intuitive as other messaging apps out there.
If you need all the bells and whistles of instant messaging, like stickers, voice memos, and even basic photo and video editors, Telegram is a solid choice. Just make sure to enable confidential mode for safer messages.
Threema is another secure messaging app that aims to keep your data out of the hands of companies and governments. The app can be used anonymously, and not only messages but phone calls can be securely encrypted.
While secure communications are a mainstay of many messengers, Threema goes further by ensuring that contact details are not saved on their servers, and any messaging data that passes through them is deleted immediately upon transmission.
The result is that local files remain on your phone, not open on third-party servers where information could be intercepted by hackers or data collection agencies.
For all security considerations, Threema is still a fully functional messaging app, allowing you to send photos, files, videos, and locations, as well as create groups and set up polls among trusted users.
There is no need to sign in with an email or other personally identifiable information, which reduces the amount of data required to be used. Overall, Threema offers a very secure experience with security and anonymity in mind.
Uncomfortable and no-frills Silence focuses on keeping your messages safe and secure, with other considerations – like animated animal stickers – somehow down the priority list. It deals directly with SMS and MMS, rather than chat protocols that work across the web.
It’s actually part of Signal, and it uses the same highly secure, open source encryption methods – which are regularly audited by security experts in public view to ensure that the code hasn’t been hacked or unlocked by any government agency that wants to get your conversation history. If you wish, you can use Silence and Signal together.
So you get all the benefits of SMS/MMS, like being able to use it without Wi-Fi, as well as all the drawbacks, like limited support for group chats and no video calling. Since you’re using SMS/MMS, your phone’s network can see who you’re texting, even if you can’t tell what’s being said thanks to the encryption applied.
To make sure everything is secured as it should be, you need to enter a unique passphrase to keep the app closed. Moreover, it can stop your communications from being filmed on the screen at the other end, for added peace of mind.
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