As great and integrated as Apple’s iMessage service is, it only works great if all your friends and family also use iOS devices. But what if you want to chat and talk with people who use Android or even Windows Mobile? You can always use the standard SMS text messages; however, there are plenty of other platforms that can be seen as a better choice. In that case, you need an alternative text messaging app for iPad and iPhone!
Admittedly, there are a lot to choose from on the App Store. That’s why we compiled this list of seven of the best choices for you. So, without further ado, here they are:
Signal is an SMS app and instant messenger all in one package. If you’re concerned about privacy, Signal is the go-to app, offering end-to-end encryption with messages. Anyone can use Signal — in fact, you can replace it as your default, go-to text messaging applications for sending SMS messages.
However, if your friend also has Signal downloaded, you all can instant message back and forth, avoiding text messaging and cellular fees entirely. Signal allows you to create group chats, but they also have other interesting features available, such as the ability to enable disappearing messages.
Telegram comes up next, working as one of the fastest and most secure instant messengers on the market. With over 100 million active users, you can use Telegram to instant message with friends, family, and people all over the world. Telegram actually is all Cloud-based, and allows you to send media and files, without any limits on their type and size. Your entire chat history, full of media messages or not, will require no disk space on your device, and will be securely stored in the Telegram cloud for as long as you need it.
On top of that, Telegram is extremely secure as well. Telegram has tried to combine ease of use and security together, bringing your messages top security like 256-bit symmetric AES encryption, 2048-bit RSA encryption, and even a Diffie–Hellman secure key exchange.
WhatsApp is one of the most popular instant messaging apps across all operating systems. The chances are that many of your friends already are on WhatsApp. And if not, you can easily invite them to join you. WhatsApp uses regular phone numbers instead of usernames, integrating seamlessly into the address book.
With WhatsApp, you can make free calls—even internationally—send text and multimedia messages, create group chats, and enjoy built-in end-to-end encryption that prevents your messages from being read by anyone besides the person you’re communicating with.
Let’s face it: just about everyone is on Facebook. Some people are there all the time, sharing every single detail of their lives, while others use the social media network out of necessity. Facebook Messenger makes it possible to easily connect with everyone who has a Facebook account in a secure and convenient way.
Facebook Messenger supports everything from private one-on-one text or video chats to massive group conversations to emojis, stickers, GIFs, and even fun mask effects. The service integrates with many third-party games, apps, and chatbots, extending its usefulness beyond communication with friends and family.
Even Viber’s logo suggests what this instant messenger does best: free phone calls over Wi-Fi and cellular data, both domestic and international. Viber lets users pick between basic voice calls and more data-demanding video calls. Regardless, all calls made with Viber boast HD sound quality.
Besides voice and video communication, Viber also does text chats, and it does them well, to say the least. Viber users can create group chats for up to 250 people, communicate using expressive stickers and emojis, or use the Hidden Chats feature to hide specific chats from the messaging screen.
Twitter may be famous for its public side, but the social media service also has a thriving private side, where users engage in hidden conversations. Anyone can start a private one-on-one conversation on Twitter or create a private group conversation with any follower. Users can also opt in to receive private messages from non-followers, but this might bring in a deluge of spam and inappropriate messages.
Direct messages on Twitter can contain text, photos, videos, GIFs, or stickers. A direct message can be sent from the Messages menu, by clicking on the Message icon and choosing a recipient.
Similar to Viber, Line is a popular instant messaging app with support for free domestic and international calls and video chats. Line supports group chats for up to 200 people and all the standard features that one expects a modern instant messaging app to have.
What separates Line from other similar apps are two things: the large ecosystem of useful lifestyle apps and the built-in social networking features that let you share everyday moments on your personal timeline.
As you can see, there are a ton of excellent text messaging apps available for iPhone and iPad. These don’t operate over standard SMS, but take on more of an instant messenger style. Instant messengers is where the world is headed, quickly and easily replacing the antiquated SMS systems. Facebook Messenger, as an example, is just one of the few that are the fastest growing instant messengers on the market.
That said, do you have a favorite text messaging replacement for iPhone and iPad? Let us know in the comments section below, and it may just make it to our countdown soon enough!