Best WhatsApp alternatives in 2021

by Jeremy

WhatsApp’s May 15 deadline for accepting its controversial privacy policy update is upon us. The deal is simple – take it or risk losing core functionalities that will effectively make the app useless for you. The Facebook-owned company ensures that nothing changes for your personal or group conversations as they remain end-to-encrypted. Still, if you chat with a business account, your data will be shared, and Facebook will use it for advertising. Despite all that, WhatsApp has been sharing data with Facebook for a while now. If you’re familiar with Facebook’s poor track record over privacy and fear that the same fate might befall WhatsApp too, it’s time to look for alternatives. And to save you the trouble, we’ve rounded up this list of the best WhatsApp choices in 2021:



If privacy is your top priority, Signal is one of the best options. An app that has been advertised by people like Edward Snowden (privacy advocate and former CIA employee), Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, journalists, and cybersecurity experts across the globe, Signal should be at the top of your list if you’re planning to leave WhatsApp for a more secure option. Here’s an interesting fact – even WhatsApp’s encryption has Signal Protocol as the underlying technology.

The signal is free, and more importantly, it is open source. This means anyone, especially security experts, can look into its codebase for vulnerabilities and security flaws, ensuring no hidden backdoors or leaks. Aside from text-based messages, you can make voice and video calls and communicate via group chats. All your information and communication data are encrypted, even the stickers you share. A few privacy-focused add-ons include screenshot-blocking and self-destructing statements. 

Signal promises no ads, affiliate marketing parties, or user tracking. Another assurance is that Signal is an independent non-profit aot owned by another major tech company – unlike the WhatsApp and Facebook bond – and is unlikely to budge under pressure and change its commitment towards privacy.

The service recently made it easier to migrate your data to another device (both iOS and Android) and has been adding some new features to make the switch from WhatsApp more palatable. And, oh, it uses a strict PIN system for signing in. It is even testing peer-to-peer payments service involving cryptocurrencies. Another huge advantage is tusingit across Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux ecosystems.

Download: Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, and Windows


If you’re still holding tightly to your WhatsApp account because the rivals might not have those features, Telegram is your answer. Telegram is free, just like WhatsApp, but offers many more features. For example, you can create group conversations (or channels) with up to 200,000 participants and send files of up to 2GB without a fuss. And if you’re worried about expressing yourself, there are a ton of awesome animated stickers (and even the ability to create custom ones) that I love. 

Now, let’s talk about privacy. JLikeSignal, Telegram is also open source, wmeaninganyone can independently verify the code for any security flaws. But there’s a small caveat here. Only ‘secret chats’ are end-to-end encrypted and must be enabled manually, but regular chats are not. However, it allows you to hide your phone number by assigning you a So, even if you’re chatting with another person, they won’t know your phone number if you haven’t allowed it from the privacy settings.

Aside from the usual chat feature, you can conduct group voice calls (even in a live voice channel, somewhat like Clubhouse), schedule messages, and even voice chats, video calls (group video calls are coming soon, too), the ability to use multiple accounts (different phone numbers) in the same app (both mobile and desktop) and web client too, proximity alerts, and a lot more. You can also edit messages and even media files after sending them. 

Telegram also allows you to create separate chat folders, which are handy if you want to keep your personal and work conversations separate. Then there are Telegram bots that can do anything from sending weather information or useful news articles, schedule reminders, playing music, create to-do lists, among other tasks. Telegram recently added a new feature that allows you to easily ove your data from WhatsApp. All your communications are synced across all devices and platforms (iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, and Linux), which I love. 


If you’re going all-in on privacy, Keybase is where you should look. The app supports end-to-end encryption for all your conversations and even encrypts the files you share. Additionally, it allows you to communicate with other people without revealing your phone number or email address. Plus, multi-device support allows all your data to be transferred and synced with a layer of encryption.

Keybase is open-source, and just like Telegram and Signal, anyone can look into the code at any given time to assess the security measures and check for any security flaws. Keybase says that it uses public-key cryptography for privacy. Additionally, it allows you to connect and communicate with people using their social media aliases from platforms such as Twitter and Reddit. Oh, and did I tell you about self-destructing messages? Keybase calls them ‘Exploding’ notes. 

The service also lets you link a Stellar account – the open-source, decentralized protocol for sending money and engaging in cryptocurrency trading  Keybase supports syncing Stellar keys, aside from the ability to export a private key. You can also import an existing mailing list on Keybase and invite anyone from your contacts. The app also has a group (or teams) feature as well. Keybase is available on Android, iOS, macOS, Wand indows, and even has a native Linux client too. 


Another app that takes privacy a tad too seriously is Threema. Let’s start with the basic features first. Threema is an open-source platform that supports end-to-end encryption for messages and voice and video calls. Even your status updates are protected behind a wall of encryption. The company behind that app claims that all data is stored on your device, and none is stored on remote servers. All local files shared via Threema are encrypted on-device, and there is support for self-destructing messages.

Threema has a well-optimized tablet interface, and the web app also works well without cutting down on any features available in the mobile app. The TAninteresting agrees/disagree feature allows you to respond to a message without triggering a push notification on the recipient’s device. It also allows you to create polls that not many messaging apps offer. Private chats are protected behind a layer of PIN/password, and incoming messages for such conversations do not show the message preview.

Threema also lets you create an anonymous, encrypted backup of your contacts, groups, settings, and selected data to transfer to another device when switching platforms. You can add formatting (bold, italic, strikethrough) to your text messages and even pin a chat. More importantly, Threema does not rely on a phone number. Instead, it generates a unique 8-digit ID for each user, allowing you to use the service without sharing identifiable information. 

The service relies on a key system – two keys – the public key is stored on servers, while the private key is exclusive to your device’s storage. All messages sent to you can only be decrypted with this private key on your device. A QR Code scanning feature allows you to add a contact with Level 3 verification, ensuring that ryour man-in-the-middle attack does not target you.


Discord is no longer a platform that is only targeted at gamers. I’ve even used it as the primary workspace communication platform. What I like about Discord is the integration with services such as Spotify, Twitch, YouTube, Steam, Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter, to name a few. The topic-based channels are a great way to explore content that will suit your interests. Starting with communication, you can share text messages, GIFs, emotes, and documents and conduct voice calls.

A cool aspect is the server-based system of Discord, which takes an invite-only approach to chat with friends and interacting with community members. Screen-sharing is another cool feature that makes Discord useful for sharing your game achievements and work progress. Additionally, you can assign Roles, create moderators, and even create working groups that act as channels for broadcasting a message. 

Unlike WhatsApp, though, you’re not required to share your phone number and can use any random username to protect your identity. It is available as both mobile and desktop apps, and there’s a web-based client, too, with all the core functionalities intact. And suppose you jump to the paid Discord Nitro tie; in that case, you get a ton of extras,s such as the ability to create animated avatars, make custom, a higher file-size limit for sharing content, and the ability to stream in 4K resolution.

Related Posts