The 15 Best Secure and Encrypted Messaging Apps in 2023

Ruheni Mathenge Last updated: May 20, 2023 Read time: 25 minutes Disclosure

Worried about a third-party snooping on your conversations or information? We feature the best secure messaging apps for iOS, Android, and the web to enable you to protect your privacy.

Online messaging apps have been a revolutionary addition to the means of communication for the public. From SMS-based texting to internet messaging, these apps boast various functionalities to support textual, audio, and video chats. However, since people use these apps for personal conversations, they ought to be secure, which many are not. Thankfully, some safe messaging apps exist today that respect your data privacy just as you do, securing your communications with end-to-end encryption and other technologies. This guide shares a detailed roundup of the best secure apps you can use for messaging today.

Internet-based instant messaging apps have simplified communications globally. However, these new methods also raise security and privacy concerns. Your conversations could potentially be accessed by the companies behind the apps, hackers, or government agencies. However, you can easily protect yourself from such threats by using secure messaging apps.

In essence, a reliable and secure messaging application offers end-to-end encryption for users’ communication. This facility prohibits third parties from seeing the messages, leaving them visible to you and the recipient only.

This guide lists some of the best messaging apps for privacy available in the market.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the long list; you will also learn about choosing a messaging application for yourself and much more. So you can easily decide which app best suits your privacy needs.

Top encrypted messaging apps quick list: In-page navigation

  1. Signal – the most secure messaging app for individual users, robust end-to-end encryption by default, open-source code.
  2. Telegram – a bold messaging platform popular among privacy freaks for its resilience to government surveillance, optional end-to-end encryption with server-client encryption by default.
  3. Dust – offers self-deleting messaging after being read, allows unsending messages, stealth search, breach alerts.
  4. Wickr – an open-source platform with regular audits, alerts users upon taking screenshots.
  5. Apple iMessage – offers end-to-end encryption for communication between iMessage users, support self-destructing messages.
  6. Viber – a user-friendly app with catchy interface, offers limited end-to-end encryption, supports self-destructing messages.
  7. Threema – open-source app offering E2EE, doesn’t require a phone number for account registration.
  8. Silence – open-source SMS/MMS app compatible with multiple devices, doesn’t require internet connection.
  9. Wire – open-source platform, independently audited, requires email for account registration, paid app.
  10. Mattermost – open-source messaging app particularly aimed at business users, compatible with all major platforms.
  11. Line – free, feature-rich instant messaging apps supporting desktops and mobile devices, offers end-to-end encryption by default for all users.
  12. Snapchat – privacy-savvy app for sharing images and videos securely, offers self-destruct feature.
  13. Voxer – free app supporting walkie-talkie like communication with almost-instant delivery of voice and video messages, also supports text chats., works over both cellular and WiFi network.
  14. CoverMe – feature-rich, free secure messaging app offering e2ee by default, hides phone numbers, disguises app icon.
  15. Pryvate Now – free to use end-to-end encrypted messaging app, also offers secure file storage and email.

What is encrypted messaging?

secure messaging apps

Simply put, it is a messaging method involving end-to-end encryption (shortened as E2EE). It allows only the sender and the receiver to decipher and read the message.

Encrypted texting apps do not collect or store any messages on their servers to keep you completely private. Instead, their servers facilitate the smooth data transition between you and the recipient without storing anything on their part. In this way, they respect your privacy and save you from indirect impact if the servers suffer a breach.

Despite being important, sadly, encrypted communication has caught attention only recently. Thus, many popular communication platforms of today either lack it or offer it as an optional feature. Some of the apps lagging include Facebook (optional encryption), Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Skype (optional encryption), Google Hangouts, etc.

Related: Most Secure Email Providers

What makes a messaging app secure?

A messaging app is more than just an array of emojis and cool widgets. It should have features to make your conversations safe and private. Here are some of the most important things you should consider when choosing a secure messaging app.

End-to-end encryption

Perhaps the first thing you should look out for in a secure messaging app is end-to-end encryption. That is a way of scrambling the messages such that only you and the receiver can read them. It protects unwarranted or unnecessary data exposure to others, ensuring that only the relevant parties can decipher the information.

Initially, encryption was used by big businesses and government agencies to protect sensitive data. It was also used by people with a high need for secrecy, like activists and politicians. However, after Edward Snowden leaked information on NSA’s surveillance program, encryption became widespread.

Open-source code

Revealing an app’s source code may seem illogical due to code backdoors and reverse engineering issues. However, putting the code out in the open is regarded as a show of integrity and transparency.