When it comes to chat apps, there’s no shortage of options no matter what platform you’re on. However, due to their wide variety, most of these apps offer disappointing features, especially group chat apps on Android.
Read on to discover the best chat apps for Android that perfectly combine usability, functionality and security.
1. Family: WhatsApp Messenger
WhatsApp Messenger does not need to be introduced as it is the most popular mobile messaging app currently. With over two billion active monthly users, chances are all of your friends and family are already using the app. The standout feature of WhatsApp Messenger is its simplicity. People of all ages find the app easy to use, making it ideal for family groups. Even non-tech-savvy users can easily send and receive messages, documents, images, and videos.
WhatsApp Messenger also comes with end-to-end encryption as an added layer of security. Currently, WhatsApp Messenger allows you to create groups of up to 256 people. It also offers free in-app video and voice calls through the internet. Other cool features of the app include voice notes, live tracking, and in some countries the ability to send payments as well. All of these features are completely free, making WhatsApp Messenger one of the best group messaging apps on Android.
WhatsApp Messenger is available for Android and iOS. A web version can also be used on any desktop browser. However, this still requires your phone to be connected to the internet.
To download: WhatsApp Messenger (free)
2. Work: Telegram
If security and privacy are your primary concerns in group chat apps, then Telegram ticks all the boxes. The app offers best-in-class encryption and the ability to send self-destructing private messages. Unlike WhatsApp Messenger, Telegram does not store your chats and media locally and therefore requires less space on your smartphone.
The service allows you to create groups of up to 200,000 people and broadcast channels that support an unlimited number of people. This makes it ideal for large organizations as well as public influencers. In addition, users can send files up to 2 GB in size. All participants can access these files from anywhere, as they are all stored on cloud servers scattered around the world. Telegram is open source software, which means there are many clients available that meet specific needs.
Unfortunately, Telegram’s greatest strength is also its biggest pitfall. Since the app does not process any sensitive user data, it has become a hub for illegal activities. The service also does not allow you to report any such posts or activity, unless they are publicly available, such as channels, sticker sets, and bots. Telegram is available on all major platforms including Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, and macOS.
To download: Telegram (Free)
3. Voice chat: LINE
LINE’s main focus is free voice and video calling, but it also lets you call landlines at a cost. It’s still cheaper than regular calls. Similar to WhatsApp Messenger, LINE requires you to register using your mobile number. The LINE app supports groups of up to 500 people, including you.
The app has all the usual features like media sharing, voice notes, and even payments. The service allows you to integrate its sister applications, Line Out and Line Pay, to further increase functionality. It also has a timeline feature, similar to Facebook’s, allowing you to share images and other updates publicly or with friends. LINE also has a nifty photo editor app that lets you make interesting edits to your photos before you send them.
The only downside to the LINE app is its relative lack of popularity outside of Asia. If you live in the Western Hemisphere, your friends or family are unlikely to have signed up on the app. But the pros outweigh the cons, making it a solid group messaging app. The service is available on Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS.
To download: LINE (Free in-app purchases available)
4. Friends: Kik
Kik is already very popular among teens around the world. This is mainly due to its hassle-free registration process which does not require you to divulge your cell phone number or real name. This gives a sense of anonymity to its users. All you need to do is assign yourself a username and all communication takes place using that unique username.
Group chats are fairly straightforward to start, but the app only supports a maximum of 50 members. Groups can be public, allowing anyone to search for them in the app, or by invitation only. You can also toggle whether group members can send you a direct message (DM) or not, which is a welcome feature. The service also allows you to add bots and play games with group members to liven up discussions.
Due to Kik’s demographics, it is unfortunately targeted by predatory adults which can have a detrimental effect on users. Additionally, users could also be targeted by cyber bullies who hide behind anonymity. It is therefore important to know how to recognize and deal with cyberbullying. Kik is available for Android and iOS.
To download: Kik (Free)
5. Video chat: Skype
Skype is one of the oldest video conferencing applications that still works. Despite a decline in popularity, the free version of the app is feature rich and perfect for personal use. The app also offers bonus SMS and landline calling features.
Skype allows you to host video calls with up to 100 people at a time, but there is a limit of 100 hours per month for group video calls. The app also allows you to share your screen with other participants, present slideshows or videos, etc. Features like background blur further enhance the video calling experience. You can also choose to use the free voice call feature without any limit even in the free version.
Despite having good video calling features, Skype still lacks other services like Zoom in aspects such as ease of use and number of users. Skype is available on Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS.
To download: Skype (free)
Start group conversations with these apps on Android
With the group chat apps for Android listed above, you can quickly and easily start a conversation with multiple people at once. Whether you are looking to have a voice chat or want to appear in front of your friends in a video, these apps provide just about all the features you need in a modern chat app.
There are plenty of instant messaging apps to try in 2021, each with their own strengths and ideal uses. Here are the best …
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