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HomeMobileAndroid5 Best WhatsApp Alternatives for Better Privacy

5 Best WhatsApp Alternatives for Better Privacy

WhatsApp recently announced that they will be sharing certain user data with their parent company, Facebook. The WhatsApp encryption works on your messages, but they will still be able to use other kinds of data for advertisement and marketing purposes. This has caused some privacy concerns among users. If you’re one of those, fortunately, there is no lack of privacy-focused messaging apps.

In this list we’ll mention some of the best WhatsApp alternatives for better privacy.

What Data Will WhatsApp Share with Facebook

Now that WhatsApp will be sharing your data with Facebook, it’s necessary to know what kind of data WhatsApp collects from users. If you already use Facebook or Facebook Messenger, the company already has a lot more data about you than WhatsApp could give them. But even if you were not using other Facebook services, here’s all the data about you that WhatsApp will now provide to Facebook.

Data collected by WhatsApp:

  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Contacts
  • Coarse location
  • Device ID
  • User ID
  • Advertising data
  • Purchase history
  • Product interaction
  • Performance data
  • Other diagnostic data
  • Customer support
  • Product interaction
  • Other user
  • Content
  • Metadata
  • Crash data
  • Payment info

Compared to WhatsApp’s privacy-focused alternatives, that’s a lot of data. This makes even some non-privacy-focused WhatsApp alternatives seem better for user privacy.

Related: WhatsApp vs Telegram vs Signal: Switch to Better Privacy

Telegram – Best WhatsApp Alternative

TelegramTelegram is the de facto WhatsApp alternative, and it has been selling itself as such for a while too. Telegram has all the features of WhatsApp and even more. Telegram supports 256-bit symmetric AES encryption. It’s also one of the first apps to introduce self-destructing messages, something WhatsApp still doesn’t have.

Telegram also lets you send any kind of file, whether it’s a document, media, APK, zip, EXE, mp4, or any other file type. Apart from privacy, Telegram has many functional features as well. For instance, Telegram supports chatbots which were never a thing on WhatsApp. These bots can bring the necessary information and can also be used to play text-based games. The WhatsApp alternative is also more omnipresent than WhatsApp. It has native desktop apps for Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows, Chromebooks, Mac, etc.

Key Features

  • Self-destructing messages
  • 256-bit symmetric AES encryption
  • Send any type of file
  • Apps for Android, iOS, iPadOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, Web

Data collected

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Contacts
  • User ID

Download: Android | iPhone

Related: How to Use Multiple Telegram Accounts on Your Phone

Signal Private Messenger

Signal AppSignal recently gained the spotlight due to WhatsApp’s new privacy policy. Signal was co-created by Signal Foundation, which was co-founded by WhatsApp’s co-founder Brian Acton who left WhatsApp due to Facebook. Signal is funded via donations and collects absolutely no data about the user at all.

The Signal needs your phone number to work, but that number is not linked with you in any way. The Signal also provides the end-to-end encryption service used by WhatsApp, as the best WhatsApp alternative with much better privacy. When it comes to features, Signal supports end-to-end encryption for backups, calls, group calls, and more. Signal has self-destructing messages. You can send any kind of file, no matter what the file type is.

Key Features

  • End-to-End encryption
  • Self-destructing messages
  • Encrypted backups, calls, group calls, and texts.
  • Send any type of file
  • Apps for Android, iOS, iPadOS, macOS, Windows, Linux

Data Collected

  • None

Download: Android | iPhone

Related: How to Disable Contact Joined Notifications in Signal App

Threema

ThreemaThreema is a paid privacy-focused messaging service. It’s still not quite as private as Signal. However, since you’re paying for it, Threema does not have to rely on your data as a source of income. The service generates as little data on its servers as possible and most things remain on your device. For example, texts are deleted from the servers are soon as they are delivered.

Threema is also open-source which means anyone can see the code and expose the service, in case it does not do what it says. That adds a layer of trust. The privacy-focused WhatsApp alternative also offers end-to-end encryption for texts, status messages, group chats, voice, and video calls. Much like the alternatives so far it also lets you send any type of files. One of the unique features is that you don’t need an email ID or phone number to use Threema. You can use it completely anonymously.

Key Features

  • Open source
  • No phone number or email ID required
  • Encrypted calls, group chats, and texts.
  • Send any type of file
  • Apps for Android, iOS, iPadOS, Windows, Web

Data Collected

  • Threema ID
  • Public key
  • Operating system
  • App version
  • Last login date
  • Nickname (optional)
  • Mobile phone number (one-way encrypted, optional)
  • Email address (one-way encrypted, optional)

Download: Android | iPhone

Related: 9 Best Secured Messaging Apps for iPhone users to keep Privacy

Wickr Me

Wickr MeWickr is another WhatsApp alternative that boasts of a privacy-centric approach. The WhatsApp alternative with privacy has three apps called Wickr Me, Wickr Pro, and Wickr Enterprise depending on your needs. Wickr Me is designed for private messaging, like WhatsApp, and is free. The messaging app features the standard 256-bit end-to-end encryption. Communication data is stored on the user’s device including decryption keys. Each new text, call, etc. is encrypted with a new key, randomly generated.

The messages are deleted from servers as soon as they’re delivered, so your data is always only with you. The WhatsApp alternative also makes sure to overwrite all deleted data on your device. The usual privacy features are also offered such as self-destructing messages, Multi-factor authentication, account takeover protection, etc. Once again, the service is open source which makes these claims trustable.

Key Features

  • Open-source
  • 256-bit end-to-end encryption
  • Deleted data cannot be recovered
  • Apps for Android, iOS, iPadOS, Windows, macOS, Linux

Data Collected

  • Device ID
  • Total number of sent/received messages
  • Number of email IDs & phone numbers associated with the account. (not the ID or number itself)
  • Avatar image
  • Last login date
  • App version number

Download: Android| iPhone

Session – WhatsApp Alternative with Best Privacy

Session Private MessengerThe Session is perhaps the best app on this list if privacy is of utmost importance to you. The WhatsApp alternative offers all the privacy-related features you would expect such as end-to-end encryption for texts, group chats, photos, videos, voice, and other files. Like Signal, it also does not collect any metadata at all so there’s nothing to leak.

The Session does not have a centralized network. That means not only do you leave any footprint on the network, but it’s also really hard to even censor Session, or shut it down. This can be lifesaving in certain countries. Session also protects your IP address from even the person you’re chatting with. The WhatsApp alternative app is built and maintained by the Australia-based Loki Foundation which is a private tech not-for-profit organization.

Key Features

  • Open-source
  • No phone numbers or email IDs required
  • 256-bit end-to-end encryption
  • Uses onion routing network
  • Apps for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux

Data Collected

  • None

Download: Android | iPhone

Few More Things

There are some obvious omissions here. iMessage by Apple is clearly a WhatsApp alternative that’s better than WhatsApp in every way. Any data it does collect stays with Apple, which is not in the business of data sharing or selling. However, iMessage is not a truly cross-platform service like WhatsApp. It’s also already installed on all Apple devices, so you don’t need to be told about it.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to iMessage Text Effects on iPhone and iPad

Another service we chose to not include is Wire. It started as a privacy-focused WhatsApp alternative. Much like WhatsApp, it was later sold to a US company. Wire still claims to still comply with Switzerland’s privacy laws which are the best in the world. But there is some controversy surrounding this acquisition and Wire’s hesitation in being transparent about it. The service also stores unencrypted metadata on their servers. Overall, not the best bet to make if privacy is what you care for most.

This is a much shorter list than we’d like, but it makes sense. These WhatsApp alternative apps are offering you a lot for free. And unlike WhatsApp, they are privacy-first messaging services. Most of these apps are also open-source which means their claims can be verified by anyone in the world. Some of the apps like Signal are relying on donations as their income source. So, if you are a privacy-focused user, be mindful of donating to such not-for-profit, open-source projects to help those who protect your privacy.

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