We rely heavily on instant messaging apps to keep in touch with our family and friends. These apps allow us to communicate through text messages, audio calls, and video calls. Since conversations often include sensitive and private details, it becomes important that no one else can see them. This is where end-to-end encryption, aka E2EE, comes into play.
It is a security protocol that encrypts data so that only the sender and receiver can read it. Even if a hacker gets their hands on the data, it will be unreadable to them because they don’t have the required security key to decrypt it. Data is encrypted as soon as it leaves the sender’s device and is only decrypted on the recipient’s device. In the case of messaging apps with end-to-end encryption, all your text messages, video calls, and audio calls stay safe. No third party as well as the courier company itself can read these messages or calls.
These are the best messaging apps with end-to-end encryption you should try in 2022.
Signal is an app you’ll always hear about whenever there’s a conversation about secure and privacy-focused messaging apps. It offers end-to-end encryption for all messages and calls by default. Its encryption is powered by an open-source signal protocol that keeps things transparent.
The app supports audio and video calls as well as group calls. For those who prefer texting, it lets you send photos, videos, GIFs, stickers, documents, and audio messages. Signal is an independent, non-profit organization and relies on grants and donations. It is available for all major platforms on mobile phones and desktops.
WhatsApp is the largest instant messaging application with billions of users worldwide. It also offers end-to-end encryption for all messages and calls by default. Its encryption is powered by the same protocol that Signal uses and started using in 2016.
The application contains all the features you expect from an instant messenger. It recently increased file size limits and number of uses in group calls to improve things. You can even use disappearing chats if you want, where messages disappear after a preset time. The only thing to know is that WhatsApp is owned by Meta (formerly Facebook), which some people might not be comfortable with. Although Meta cannot read your conversations due to encryption, it can certainly log other data about you, which is standard practice at Big Tech.
Telegram is an open source instant messaging application and has made a name for itself. End-to-end encryption on the app is not enabled by default. It can only be used during Secret Chats mode. This means that when you chat with someone in standard mode, your chats are not covered by encryption.
It further allows users to send self-destructing messages. These texts are automatically deleted after the preselected time. There are many other features that make Telegram a very handy app. These include support for adding up to 200,000 people in groups, creating channels, creating bots, and the ability to share large media files.
Threema is another open source secure messaging app for individual and business users. It does not contain any advertising and does not collect any user data either. This is because it is a paid app and charges a one-time fee of around $4. Once you pay the fee, the app is yours forever.
The app offers end-to-end encryption and claims to be fully GDPR compliant. It has a dedicated version called Threema Work for business. It claims to have more than 7,000 companies and organizations among its customers. One of the benefits of the app is that it can be used anonymously if you don’t want to associate your account with an email address or phone number.
Wickr Me is a not-so-well-known end-to-end encrypted messaging app. It provides encryption of all messages and calls. One can also send easily configurable self-destructing messages. It even removes metadata from media files to enhance your privacy.
The application is completely free for all users. It also has a $100,000 bug bounty program where it encourages anyone to check out the app and find out any vulnerabilities it might have. However, it supports adding up to 10 group members and individual audio and video calls, which might be limited for you.