We rely upon instant messaging apps heavily to stay in touch with family and friends. These apps allow us to communicate via texting, audio calls, and video calls. Since conversations often include sensitive and private details, it becomes important that no one else could see them. This is where end-to-end encryption aka E2EE comes into the picture.
It is a security protocol that encrypts data so that only the sender and recipient could read it. Even if a hacker gets hold of the data, it will be unreadable to them as they do not have the required security key to decrypt it. The data gets encrypted the moment it leaves the sender’s device and gets decrypted only 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 and secure. No third party as well as the messaging company itself can read those messages or calls.
These are the best messaging apps with end-to-end encryption that you should try in 2022.
Signal is an app that you will always hear about whenever there will be 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 which keeps things transparent.
The app supports both audio and video calls along with 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 and relies on grants and donations. It is available for all leading platforms on mobile phones and desktops.
WhatsApp is the most prominent instant messenger 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 which it started using in 2016.
The app is packed with all those features that you would expect from an instant messenger. It recently increased limits on file sizes and the number of uses in group calls to make things better. You can even use disappearing chats if you wish to where messages disappear after a preset time. The only thing to know is that WhatsApp is owned by Meta (previously Facebook) which is something some people might not be comfortable with. While Meta cannot read your conversations due to encryption, it can certainly log other data about you which is a common practice among Big Tech.
Telegram is an open-source instant messaging application and has made a good name for itself. The end-to-end encryption on the app is not enabled by default. It can be used only during the Secret Chats mode. It means when you are conversing with someone in the standard mode, your chats are not covered by the encryption.
It further lets users send self-destructing messages. These texts get auto-deleted after the pre-selected 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 size media files
Threema is another open-source secure messaging app for both individual and enterprise users. It features no ads and does not collect any user data either. This is because it is a paid application and charges a one-time fee of about $4. Once you pay the fee, the app is yours to use forever.
The app offers end-to-end encryption and claims to be fully GDPR-compliant. It has a dedicated version called Threema Work for companies. It claims to have over 7,000 companies and organizations as its clients. One of the good things about the app is that it can be used anonymously if you do not want to link your account with an email address or phone number.
Wickr Me is an end-to-end encrypted messaging app that is not so well known. It provides encryption for all messages and calls. One can also send self-destructing messages that can easily be configured. It even removes metadata from media files to improve your privacy.
The app is completely free to use for all users. It also has a $100,000 bug-bounty program where it encourages anyone to check out the app and discover any vulnerabilities that it may have. However, it supports adding only up to 10 group members and one-on-one audio and video calls which could be limiting for you.