Since Facebook bought Whatsapp, I'm looking for an alternative app and chat network which is able to replace their functionality. What can you recommend?


  • End-to-end encryption
  • group chat
  • search contacts in address book of the phone
  • Ad free
  • can cost up to € 2 once
  • share photos, videos
  • nice to have video chat
  • Android and iOS support

Are there any alternatives available?

  • 6
    Just to be clear, are you looking for alternative software to access the Whatsapp messaging network, or are you looking for an alternative messaging network? Commented Feb 22, 2014 at 14:26
  • Erm... Another network? I do not know that it would be possible to access the whatsapp network with another client. Commented Feb 22, 2014 at 14:46
  • That's what I was trying to clarify. "Alternative software *to* Whatsapp" doesn't sound like what you want. Commented Feb 22, 2014 at 15:00
  • 1
    Another network, which is independent of whatsapp. That's what I'm looking for. A network like BBM. Commented Feb 22, 2014 at 15:37
  • 1
    Do you mean that WhatsApp provides an end-to-end encryption? Also FYI WhatsApp encryption is not perfect: support.pandasecurity.com/blog/security/… Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 19:02

8 Answers 8


As a protocol, XMPP (formerly known as Jabber) would fulfill a lot of these requirements (Possibly because WhatsApp is using XMPP on the backend)

It is massively extendible, so I'm picking a specific client that covers a lot of these requirements. Its impossible to cover all since things like being able to pick a contact on your address book is because whatsapp simply uses a phone number as a username.

Other than video and group chat, any jabber client with OTR would do - I'd recommend chatsecure - it does seem to do multi user chat (though not chatrooms) without OTR, and runs on your two target platforms (and you can use pidgin or kopete on the desktop side for OTR conversations).

Its free, can send photos and videos the usual way and does everything but search contacts in address book of the phone.

Video would be covered by jingle, but I can't seem to find a good, well recommended android client outside the old obsolete google talk.

  • I've used Jabber but my experience with it is that it's currently not a valid replacement for WhatsApp: its support for asynchronous/disconnected operation is just not up to the task. Basically, unless you're very lucky in the server (and client) you use, messages only get through if both the sender and the receiver are connected when the message is transmitted.
    – Stefan
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 19:15


  • A fast and secure messaging alternative to WhatsApp.
  • Focus is on speed and security.
  • This free app supports group chats and you can even share videos upto 1 GB size.
  • All your messages are in the cloud and you can easily access them from any of your devices.
  • Telegram's 'Secret Chats' feature offers end-to-end encryption.
  • With Secret Chats ON, nothing is logged on its servers and you can automatically program the messages to self-destruct from both devices if needed.
  • Platforms: Android and iOS (official support), Linux, Windows, Chrome (unofficial support)

Official Twitter Page.

Apparently over 1.8 million people joined it yesterday 22/02/2014


At present there is currently a contest running until March 1st 2014 I believe:

$200,000 to the hacker who can break Telegram.


Articles of Interest:

Other Apps that may interest you include:

  • 4
    I do not recommend Telegram. It uses its own encryption scheme not based on well established protocols. This is a no-no in computer security, for the simple reason that writing secure encryption code is hard. Protocols need to be pounded on by others to make sure that they are good enough. Software manufacturers should only use proven encryption protocols (security.stackexchange.com/questions/25835/…) and use them properly (schneier.com/essay-028.html).
    – user416
    Commented Feb 24, 2014 at 12:21
  • 3
    @JanDoggen I'm not a Telegram user, but "not based on well established protocols" ? What about AES, RSA, DH, SHA-1.... Maybe you confused encryption and communications protocol? Their communications protocol is custom: "In order to achieve reliability on weak mobile connections as well as speed when dealing with large files (...), MTProto uses an original approach." The whole protocol seems open and well documented. So no security through obscurity here. Clients are open source, server will be soon, says Wikipedia.
    – Duvrai
    Commented Feb 24, 2014 at 15:22
  • 4
    There's still a debate about the security at e.g. unhandledexpression.com/2013/12/17/… and cryptofails.com/post/70546720222/…. The way it's going it looks like things are improving. The contest helps.
    – user416
    Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 8:24
  • @JanDoggen, Dude the question asks for a whatsapp alternative, and this is it. If we actually do care security, we weren't be using a public app like this.
    – Pacerier
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 23:25
  • 1
    @Pacerier Do you mean public as in open source app? I think that's actually a plus for security/privacy conscious users.
    – jarvisteve
    Commented Jun 7, 2015 at 17:05

I recently started using Jitsi and it seems to offer what you are looking for. You can read about their use of OTR (off the record) here.

Let's see how it stacks up against your criteria:

  • End-to-end encryption - Yes
  • group chat - Yes
  • search contacts in address book of the phone - No
  • Ad free - Yes
  • can cost up to € 2 once - It is free
  • share photos, videos - Yes
  • nice to have video chat - Yes
  • Android support - Yes (alpha-version)
  • iOS support - No

I use it on my Windows, Mac, and Android phone but I don't think it supports the iPhone (which might mean it does not work for you).

  • I would like to add tox.chat which uses OTR (Android still in some heavier development as it seems) and chatsecure.org (Only OSX AFAIK) which uses also OTR. But I think I will use Jitsi from now.
    – stephanmg
    Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 10:26

I use KakaoTalk (free). It has all the features you required except end-to-end encryption and personally I like that it's available on Windows and Mac.

It's the main instant message application in South Korea:

KakaoTalk reached 57 million users registered on August 2012. On average, 24 million users are estimated to be using the app on a daily basis and over 3.4 billion messages are sent every day.

enter image description here


Take a look at Kontalk. (Community-driven messaging ; A new way of communicating)

enter image description here


Kontalk is a secure instant messenger, allowing you to send and receive text, image and voice messages (other file types coming soon) to and from other Kontalk users completely free of charge (*).

  • Your phone number is your ID. No usernames or passwords
  • It automatically finds other Kontalk users by looking at your address book, making it even easier to start chatting on Kontalk with your friends
  • End-to-end encryption ensures safe and private conversations, so that only you and the person you are talking to can read them
  • Your and all phone numbers used on the network are irreversibly encrypted
  • It supports multiple devices, making it very easy to start chatting on your phone and continue the conversation on your tablet
  • Based on open standards: XMPP and OpenPGP

Available on:

  1. F-Droid
  2. Google Play

The main benefit and characteristic is that it respects your freedom!
License: GPLv3.

Sample screen-shot: 1, 2, 3.


This answer is waaay late, but I can't believe anyone hasn't mentioned it!

BBM By BlackBerry

Your Requirements:

  • End-to-end encryption: It's by BlackBerry, need I say more? Ok, yes it has very strong end-to-end encryption
  • group chat: Yes, as a simple chat, or also has the possibility to create a group where you can chat, share pictures, comment on the pictures, create lists, calendars, etc
  • search contacts in address book of the phone: BBM is email and pin based, so cannot show you contacts based on mobile number like Whatsapp, but can by email.
  • Ad free: Has small ads that appear every now and then in the feeds, but these are very unobtrusive, and be disabled by subscribing to the No-Ads subscription for $1 a month
  • can cost up to € 2 once: Free, unless you want to extend it using the subscriptions
  • share photos, videos: Yes, photos, videos, your location, voice notes, any file under 16mb, appointments, contact cards, etc
  • nice to have video chat: Been present on BlackBerry 10 for a couple of years, they are in beta testing on Android and iOS at the moment (it may have even rolled out, I'm not sure)
  • Android and iOS support: Yes, supports Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Amazon Phones.

Extra features:

  • Individual Sent, Delivered and Read receipts for each message - (Whatsapp's was based on this)
  • BBM Channels
  • Stickers: Extra Large custom emoji which are sent as their own message. They are free or paid, and are added from the shop.

enter image description here

BBM® is the best way to connect and share instant messages, pictures and more for free, in real time—all with speed, control and privacy.

Have real conversations with friends on iPhone, Android™, Windows® Phone and BlackBerry®. And know when your messages are delivered and read. Plus, you can personalize with a profile pic, stickers and emoticons galore.

There’s nothing like having a face-to-face conversation to express yourself. Switch your BBM™ chat to a BBM™ Video conversation with just a tap .You can even share the view from your camera, or what’s on your screen.


Korean developed and Japan based Line is the number one, feature laden, client in SE Asia these days, particularly in Thailand. Hardly anyone uses Whatsapp over here these days, especially since Facebook took over. Line is available for most platforms (Windows, OS X, iOS, Android), apart from Symbian and Linux, so no good for a Nokia N8 (which is what I currently have):

Supported platforms

Easy to use interface, and free to use and free of ads. Plenty of downloadable emoticons, emojis, games etc. It's becoming a bit of a platform in it's own right.

Line's groups

Fits all of your requirements, except end-to-end encryption. I used it a lot when I had an iDevice, a good fun comms app. Totally recommend.

China's Wechat is another big messaging app over here too. And it is available for the N8.

End to end encryption

However, Line and Wechat are not end-to-end encrypted messengers. For that, you are best off with the Swiss Threema (very big in Germany, again especially since Facebook ate Whatsapp) or one of the previously mentioned Telegram, RedPhone, TextSecure and Surespot. Threema I like a lot, as it has many of Whatsapp's features. No video calls though, although you can send video.

Obviously, your end choice of app will also depend on which platform your colleagues and friends are using, or are willing to switch to. Probably best to go for a bit of a mix. But my votes go to Telegram, Threema and Line.



enter image description here

  • group chat
  • ad free (it's totally open source: client and server)
  • totally free
  • support for markdown
  • share files, photos
  • clients available for android, ios and web
  • What about encryption?

    We use 256-bit AES encryption for transmitting App to Server. In Enterprise edition it is available full end-to-end encryption.

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