We live in a digital age, and security is of utmost importance. We’re seeing all kinds of scams going around, from malware that infiltrates phones, to phishing schemes and spyware. You probably want to stay as secure as possible out there, and using encrypted messaging services is the way to go. There are quite a few messaging apps out there that offer encryption, but not all of them do, even though they should. In this article, we’ve decided to highlight the very best encrypted messaging apps for Android.
Do note that these are only our choices, not all the available options out there, of course. The apps you’ll see below are not listed in a specific order. Each of them has its benefit and downsides. You’ll get plenty of information in this article, including descriptions for every app, their costs, screenshots / videos, and much more. If you’re looking for a new messaging app, or you’re just wondering if yours is encrypted, read on.
Below is a quick overview of the top 9 best encrypted messaging Android apps for 2021, including any download and in-app purchase costs.
|Download Cost||In-app cost (per item)|
Below is a little more information on each app, a suggestion for the type of user the app is best suited to, and a direct link for easy downloading.
All download links go to the app’s Google Play Store listing. Users are always recommended to download apps from Google Play or an authorized app store.
Signal is the very best open source messaging app for Android that also offers encryption. As such, it does not bring ads to your phone, nor will it bother you with in-app purchases. Signal has been around for a while now, and it is considered to be one of the most secure messaging services out there. This app has a high rating in the Google Play Store for a good reason, it has plenty to offer.
This app uses its own end-to-end encryption. The app looks great as well, the design is minimal and yet very functional. It offers all the features you’d expect a messaging app to offer, you can send text messages, images, videos, stickers, conduct voice or video calls, and more. There is even a Chrome extension available, so you can use Signal from your desktop PC as well.
Telegram is yet another app that is well-known for its security features. Telegram also uses its own encryption, just like Signal. It uses its custom MTProto encryption. It offers web client-server encryption for standard chats. Do note that end-to-end encryption is not enabled by default on Telegram, though, you’ll have to switch to a Secret Chat mode if you’d like to use end-to-end encryption.
Telegram allows you to set messages to self-destruct, that goes for whatever you send as part of a message, including images, videos, and documents. Telegram also supports group chats, huge group chats, in fact. Up to 200,000 people can be included in a single group chat, and no, that’s not a joke. Telegram really does support as many people in a single group chat. The app’s UI design is also really nice and modern.
Google has added end-to-end encryption to its ‘Messages’ app earlier this year. This feature has been long-awaited, and it’s finally here. This goes for RCS chat messages as well, by the way, so you don’t have to worry about that. Google Messages is primarily an SMS app, but it also supports the RCS protocol. In other words, if the person you’re sending a message to has RCS support, you can send messages over the Internet as well, as you would on any other instant messaging app.
You can send both images and videos via Google Messages, while the app also supports GIFs, stickers, and so on. Google Messages app keeps on getting features, and it’s a lot better than it was a year ago. The app is quite reliable, and it’s also quite secure at the same time. The UI design is what you’d expect from Google, it’s clean and modern, and also highly-functional at the same time.
Ever since Facebook bought WhatsApp, people have been issuing their concerns regarding the privacy this app offers. Still, the company does keep the app really secure. Their information collecting policies aside, the app does offer end-to-end encryption. In fact, it uses Signal’s end-to-end encryption, and it has been doing that for the last five years. The app also has some options for fine-tuning group invites, and so on.
Disappearing messages are expected to come to the app soon, and your backups are also end-to-end encrypted. WhatsApp has a huge user base, and it has been around for a long time. It has all the features you’d expect out of an instant messaging app, and it is activated via a phone number. That is the practice with a lot of other apps as well. The app’s design is also quite nice, simple and functional.
Viber is yet another really well-known instant messaging app which requires your phone number in order to work. This app is now owned by a Japanese company, and it offers end-to-end encryption. Viber also offers self-destruction Secret Chats, and also the Hidden Chats feature. It’s really well-equipped when it comes to security features, and it has a huge user base.
You can make phone and video calls via Viber, and many people do. The app also puts a huge emphasis on expressing yourself, and thus offers tons of stickers to choose from, not to say new ones are constantly being added. You can send text messages, images, videos, and documents via Viber. The app is free to use, though there are in-app purchases included. The app won’t force you to buy anything, though.
Threema is a very interesting app. In order to use the app, you’ll get a unique Threema ID key. That will allow you to use the app completely anonymously, you won’t even have to provide a name. You can, however, connect your account with an email address or phone number, which will make it easier for others to find you. Threema does offer end-to-end encryption. It uses the NaCl cryptography library to protect your communication with other people.
The app does offer your standard messaging features. You can send text messages, images, videos, and also share files (up to 20MB per file). Group messages are also allowed, and the same goes for polls. So, what’s the downside? Well, the app is not free ($3.99), plus not many people use it (in comparison to the most popular messaging apps out there). It didn’t really become popular in that many regions. It is a very compelling solution, though, and a very secure one.
Facebook Messenger is yet another Facebook app on this list. Many would argue that this app is far from secure, but that’s not exactly true. Facebook practices aside, Facebook Messenger does offer end-to-end encryption, just not by default. It offers it via the Secret Conversation feature built into the app. Facebook Messenger’s Secret Conversations are based on the same encryption system used in Signal.
What are Secret Conversations? Well, that feature allows you to send encrypted text messages, pictures, and stickers. There is an option for time-limited self-destructing messages as well. Messenger also offers end-to-end encryption for one-to-one voice and video calls, and it is testing end-to-end encryption for groups chats, voice calls, and video chats as well. So, the app will become even more secure moving forward.
LINE is yet another app that didn’t really catch on in the west, but it’s more than compelling. It is immensely popular in Asia, for a good reason. LINE does offer end-to-end encryption, though it’s an optical feature in the app. You can enable it via the ‘Letter Sealing’ option. YOu can register to use this app by using your phone number, or you can simply log in via your Facebook account, if you have one.
Just like basically all the other apps on the list, this app allows you to send text messages, images, and video content. You can also make voice and video calls via LINE, not to mention send out stickers and emoji. There are also some theming options available here… well, quite a lot of them, actually. There is also a feature called “LINE Timeline”, using which you can share what you’re up to with your contacts.
Wickr Me is a private messaging app that most of you probably never heard of. When it comes to overall privacy, this is one of the best messaging apps you can download. It offers end-to-end encryption, and it allows you to send private, self-destructing messages. That includes photos, videos, and voice messages as well. This app uses very strong encryption, and it even deletes metadata (geotags and message times).
You have the option to choose how long will it take for messages to self-destruct. There is also a video-key verification system feature for an additional level of security. Users verify each other with short bursts of encrypted video. The app has an extremely strong focus on security. It even has a bug bounty program that offers a huge sum of cash for finding security flaws in the app.