Telegram first came onto the scene in 2013, and it has quickly become one of the most popular instant messaging apps available.
It is a cloud-based app that offers end-to-end encryption when you set it, meaning that your messages are private and can only be read by the person you’re sending them to.
Telegram also offers some unique features, like the ability to create secret chats with self-destruct timers.
The app has over 550 million active users and is available on all major platforms.
While Telegram is a great option for instant messaging, it is not as safe as some people think.
In fact, a Forbes article reveals that even if you are not a member of Telegram, you are still at the risk of being attacked by apps that use the platform to target you. Talk more about the vulnerabilities that you are exposed to when you use Telegram.
Telegram has access to your data, including your contacts and messages, and it has been said to share this data with third-party agents.
Also, the app has limited support, which can be a major issue if you encounter any problems while using it.
Plus your messages are not exactly end-end encrypted, as they are only encrypted when you’re using the secret chat feature.
Given this, it is important to know that there are some great alternatives to the Telegram app that offer better features and security.
We have compiled a list of the best Telegram alternatives for you to check out.
Best Alternatives To Telegram App
WhatsApp is a great alternative to Telegram. It has a clean and simple interface, is easy to use, and it’s free.
The app is designed for instant messaging while on the go, and it offers a great selection of features.
You can create group chats, share photos and videos, and even make voice and video calls.
What’s more, WhatsApp is available on a variety of platforms, including iOS, Android, and Windows.
While WhatsApp and Telegram may seem similar at first, there are some key differences.
For a lot of people, the key difference between the two of them is their attitude towards privacy.
WhatsApp uses end-end encryption by default, while Telegram offers it as an optional feature.
This means that, with WhatsApp, your conversations are private by default – even from the company itself.
On the other hand, Telegram’s optional encryption doesn’t offer the same level of security. They only use end-to-end encryption when you specifically enable it for each conversation.
WhatsApp also comes with cloud storage. This means you can access your conversations from any device, as long as you have an internet connection.
WhatsApp also stores data on your phone and has access to it. So it can track user location, and contacts, and even read users’ messages if it wanted to.
The WhatsApp group chat has completely changed the game when it comes to messaging apps.
While Telegram groups are great, they’re not as user-friendly as WhatsApp’s, even though they have made some progress in recent times.
Creating a group chat on WhatsApp is super simple and anyone can do it.
All you need is the person’s phone number and you’re good to go. Plus, you can add up to 256 people to a WhatsApp group chat.
To provide an additional layer of security for users, WhatsApp offers two-factor authentication.
With this feature enabled, you’ll need to enter a PIN code every time you want to verify your identity.
This makes it much harder for someone to hack into your account.
Users can also set their messages to self-destruct. This is a great way to keep your conversations private, as it means that messages will be automatically deleted after a certain amount of time.
Viber is one of the instant messaging apps that is Telegram’s main competitor. It has many of the same features, such as group chats, stickers, and media sharing.
However, it also has some unique features, such as color codes to represent the different levels of security with green being that the conversation is fully encrypted, and red showing that there’s a problem with the encryption.
Viber also offers a desktop app, so you can keep your conversations going even when you’re not on your phone.
The app has a broad range of features. Like Telegram, it has a group feature, but it also has a community feature where you can join groups of unlimited size, and there are also public channels that anyone can join.
It takes the privacy of your messages to another level. In addition to self-destructive messages, Viber lets you set a pin for your conversations in case anyone has access to your device and tries to snoop through your messages.
There’s also a trust list of your contacts that you can set so that you know who you’re talking to is really who they say they are.
Both Viber and Telegram allow you to make voice and video calls, but Viber can also call over a landline or a mobile number which is not yet available on Telegram.
Finally, Viber provides entertainment as you can invite friends to play games with you directly from the app.
Signal is one of the cleanest-looking and easiest-to-use instant messaging apps out there. Virtually all its features are kept to a single look which is great for first-time users.
You can chat, send pictures and videos, make audio and video calls, and share your current location with other Signal users.
All of your Signal conversations are encrypted end-to-end by default. That means that no one but the people in the conversation can read or listen to what’s being said. Not even Signal can read your messages.
This is one area where it stands out from Telegram as the latter only encrypts messages and voice calls, and that is only after you have enabled the setting, so every other thing is at the mercy of anyone who can access Telegram’s servers.
Signal also collects less data than Telegram. In fact, the app only stores the date when you created your account and when last you logged in, whereas Telegram wants your metadata such as your IP address and as such, your location.
You don’t need Signal to access your contacts before you can start chatting with someone. You can simply just type in the number and start chatting.
Signal also has disappearing messages. You can set messages to disappear after a few seconds or days.
And unlike Telegram, Signal lets you set a timer not just for individual messages, but also for group conversations.
Telegram is not open source, but Signal is completely open source. The app is developed by Open Whisper Systems, which is a non-profit organization.
Open Whisper Systems is dedicated to making private communication simple and accessible to all.
The group behind Signal is so open that anyone can audit the code to ensure there are no backdoors or security holes.
As a bonus feature, Signal also has an image blurring tool. This is a great way to keep your privacy even when sharing images. This feature can come in handy in the event of a protest or other situation where you don’t want your face to be seen.
4. Facebook Messenger
Facebook Messenger is one of the most popular messaging apps with over one billion active users. It’s available for all major platforms including iOS, Android, and Windows. Messenger offers a great variety of features such as group chat, voice and video calls, stickers, etc.
In contrast to what a lot of people think, you do not need a Facebook account to use Messenger. You can sign up with just your phone number and start chatting away.
If you have had a Facebook account before, you can easily find all your Facebook friends on Messenger and start chatting with them.
You can send messages to individuals or groups of up to 250 and even react to messages with different emojis.
Like Telegram, the Messenger app also offers instant video and audio calling features along with the option to share files, locations, and contacts.
It does provide more in terms of security than Telegram as it provides encryption for all your conversations end-to-end at all times if you enable it.
Facebook Messenger also has a Zoom-like feature called Rooms that lets you video chat with up to 50 people at once.
With Rooms, you can play games, watch movies together, or even just catch up with friends.
Facebook can scan the conversations that you have not set to private and use that data to show you targeted ads. But that’s not all.
They use this medium to flag and remove content that goes against their community guidelines.
Also, since more than a third of the world’s population uses Facebook, the company has a lot of power and influence.
This might not be ideal for those who are looking for a secure and private messaging app, but if you have a long-lost friend on the other side of the world, this is one of the best messaging apps to connect with them.
Threema is an open-source and end-to-end encrypted instant messaging app for iOS and Android. It offers features like fine-grained control over who sees your personal information, the option to make messages expire, and support for group chats.
Like Telegram, the application offers one-on-one and group chats, file and media sharing, as well as voice calls. Users can also create polls, set up automated messages (e.g., “Happy Birthday!”), and receive news from external sources (RSS).
The app does not collect metadata from users and all data is stored locally on the user’s device.
Threema has a decentralized architecture, meaning that the app can function even if the servers go down. Contact lists, group lists, and user-generated keys are stored on the device and not on Threema’s servers.
This makes it impossible for Threema to share user data with third parties or government agencies.
Its open-source code makes it accessible to security experts for independent audits. Reproducible builds allow users to verify that the code published by Threema is the same code that is running on their device.
Mattermost is another great instant messaging app that has a lot of features similar to Telegram. It’s open-source, so you can change the look and feel of the app to suit your needs.
Mattermost uses end-to-end encryption for all communication. Plus, you have full control over your data.
Unlike Telegram, you will need to deploy your own Mattermost server to use the app, but it’s not difficult to do. You can find instructions on how to do it online.
This is intended for larger organizations that need to have a secure messaging system, which is why it is used by the US Department of Defense, but it can be used by anyone.
Mattermost has a clean and modern interface that is very easy to use. It uses a bright color scheme that is easy on the eyes.
It is virtually impossible to access Mattermost over the internet without a VPN, and yet it is easy to use among team members.
The app has very extensive features, but it does not bombard users with too many options that would require them to take training before they can use it.
You can rely on its integrations with other apps, making it a powerful tool for work. There are extensive DevOps integrations such as Webhook, so you can use Mattermost for your software development projects.
7. Clap Messenger
Clap Messenger is relatively new on the messaging app scene, but it’s already making a big splash.
It outperforms Telegram in terms of facilitating the users because it was created while considering the new developments in AI, big data, and the internet of things.
The app has a clean, simple interface that is very user-friendly. And, like a lot of the apps on this list, Clap Messenger offers end-to-end encryption to keep your conversations private.
It was built with advanced features like group chat and video calls in mind, so it’s perfect for those who want to stay connected with friends and family.
One feature it has that you won’t find in Telegram is its polls feature, which lets you create polls within group chats. This can be great for organizing events or getting everyone’s opinion on something.
The poll feature is not like in other applications where you have to ask people to vote in the comments. It is an integrated feature that makes it easy and fun to use.
You will also find that Clap Messenger has a rich set of emojis and stickers that you can use to express yourself.
Integration with other applications is also possible. For example, you can integrate your Clap Messenger account with your Google Calendar so that you never miss an event.
You can also ensure that your conversations are always backed up by storing your chats in the cloud.
8. Wickr Me
Wickr Me is not as popular as Telegram, but it’s a great alternative nonetheless. It offers end-to-end encryption for all its users, and it doesn’t keep any logs of user activity.
The app was launched in 2012 by a group of security experts so it’s no surprise that security is one of its main features.
It is an open-source app, which means that anyone can audit its code to check for security vulnerabilities, but unlike Telegram, it does not collect user data or metadata.
It has a shredder feature that allows users to delete all their data from the app so that it can’t be recovered.
You can set a timer to automatically delete messages, and there are no limits on file size or type.
Also unlike Telegram, you do not need a phone number or email address to sign up for Wickr Me.
This makes it very difficult for someone to hack into your account or track your activity since they wouldn’t even know where to begin.
9. Troop Messenger
Since its launch in 2017, Troop Messenger has become one of the most popular business communication tools.
Troop is loaded with features that are beneficial for businesses. Some of these features include group video and audio calls, screen sharing, location sharing, and much more.
It has features that are far superior to Telegram’s in terms of quality. As an example, Troop Messenger has the advantage over Telegram when it comes to chatting in groups.
This is because Troop Messenger offers features such as admin super control and screen sharing which help businesses to get work done more efficiently.
It has world-class security features that can be compared to even the likes of Mattermost, and in the same vein, some nations’ defense teams also adopt it as their communication tool.
It has a burnout feature that is similar to Telegram’s secret chat. Security agencies use this feature to self-destruct messages after a specified period.
Away from its chat function, Troop Messenger is a full suite of collaboration tools that breaks down the barriers of communication for businesses.
In fact, it was one of the few platforms that allowed remote and onsite teams to communicate seamlessly without any hitches during the lockdown.
10. Google Chat
Google Chat was previously known as Hangouts and was only available to Google workspace members.
Nowadays, anyone with a Gmail account can use it. The app has a clean and simple interface that is easy to use.
It’s a great messaging app that is developed by Google. Chat offers features such as group chat, video chat, and voice calls. The app also integrates with Gmail and Google Calendar.
Its interface is a deviation from Telegram, instead, it takes a liking to Slack as it divides chats by teams and projects.
This makes it easy to form workgroups and for members to see what conversation is relevant to them.
Besides chatting and calling, you can also easily organize meetings with members of your team and colleagues by tagging the appropriate people in a conversation.
This would create a Google Meet link that can be used to join the video call and a calendar event would be created as well.
What Makes a Great Messaging App?
Like it or not, text messaging is becoming increasingly popular. It’s a quick, convenient way to stay in touch with friends and family members who live far away.
With so many different messaging apps like Telegram out there, it can be hard to know which one to choose. Here are some things to look for in a great messaging app:
1. Ease of use: The best messaging apps are easy to set up and use. They should have a simple, straightforward interface that anyone can understand.
2. Cross-platform compatibility: The best messaging apps work on multiple platforms, so you can stay in touch with friends regardless of what type of device they use.
3. Group chats support: If you’re looking to stay in touch with a group of friends or family members, make sure the messaging app you choose supports group chat.
4. Multimedia support: The best messaging apps let you share photos, videos, and other types of media files with ease.
5. Security: When it comes to messaging apps, security is important. Look for an app that offers end-to-end encryption to keep your conversations private.
6. Extras: Some messaging apps come with extra features like stickers, GIF support, and built-in games. These can be fun additions, but they’re not essential.
Telegram can be a great instant messaging app, but it’s vulnerable to data breaches and not the most private option out there.
If you’re looking for a more secure and private alternative, check out one of the options we have listed above.
WhatsApp is our top pick for the best Telegram alternative because it has end-to-end encryption by default, making it more secure.
Signal is also a great option if you’re looking for something that’s completely free and open-source, so you can be sure that your data is safe.
Scott L. Macarthur is a marketing consultant and an online author. He is mostly engaged in providing his expertise to startups and SMBs. He is also an author on TheNextWeb.