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Secure messaging app buying guide

Compare encrypted apps for Android and iOS including iMessage, Viber, WhatsApp and more.

We regularly send messages through apps on our phone every single day, but just how secure are these messages? Are other people able to intercept and read them?

The answer depends largely on which app you’re using to send those messages. Concerns over cybersecurity in recent years has seen the number of secure messaging apps rising, which means you have plenty of apps to choose from.

We’ve compared some of the most searched-for secure messaging apps in the world to help you understand the differences in what they offer.

Compare some of the best secure messaging apps

Data obtained September 2018. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.
Name Product Secured messages & attachments Company access to customer's messages Default encryption Open source app & server Anonymous signup available
Allo
Allo
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
iMessage
iMessage
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Messenger
Messenger
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
Riot
Riot
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Signal
Signal
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Skype
Skype
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Telegram
Telegram
Yes
Yes
No
No (clients and API only)
Yes
Threema
Threema
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Viber
Viber
Yes
Yes
Yes (if device supports it)
No
Yes
Whatsapp
Whatsapp
Yes
Yes
Yes (if device supports it)
No
Yes
Wickr
Wickr
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Wire
Wire
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

Compare up to 4 providers

What should I look for when comparing?

One important feature to look for is end-to-end encryption. Apps including WhatsApp, iMessage, Viber and Telegram use end-to-end encryption fo encode all the messages you send. This means that even if someone is able to intercept a message, they will not be able to read it (because they don't have the unique software "key" needed to unlock it).

Other apps, including Signal, Riot and Wire, are open source. Open source software is accessible to anyone and is regularly being developed and updated by users and industry experts. All of the apps featured on this page offer anonymous signup, so you won’t have to give any personal information to a third party to get started.


 

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