WhatsApp goes down: Five alternatives if you run out of service
With WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram currently unavailable, many people are looking for an alternative messaging app. Here's five of the best...
WhatsApp is, despite a number of controversies in recent years, the world’s favourite messaging app with more than 2.5 billion monthly users. However in the past few hours that loyal legion of fans have found themselves without the vital service after WhatsApp, along with Facebook and Instagram, were hit by outages.
Many people with iPhones have reverted to Apple’s own messaging system, as shown by the fact that ‘iMessage’ has been trending on Twitter, but what other alternatives are there?
To converse across platforms with people all around the world, here’s five alternatives to WhatsApp…
For years the main challenger to WhatsApp’s crown as instant messaging king has been Telegram, which has been touted as a safer, faster and more reliable alternative. Telegram has built itself a loyal following of users who appreciate the end-to-end encryption which is even more secure than the software used by WhatsApp.
However despite that, the young pretender has never been able to usurp the Facebook-owned WhatsApp as the most popular messenger. But if outages like today’s continue to hamper users it may not be too long before the roles are reversed.
Offering an open-source alternative is Signal, which was founded in 2013 and boasts a more modest 10 million users per month. In comparison to WhatsApp’s huge audience that may seem insignificant but Signal is supported by Brian Acton, who was actually one of the co-founders of WhatsApp.
In fact the messaging service has also been recommended by no less an authority than the European Union, who have advised their staff use it to communicate with those who do not work within the EU.
Similar to WhatsApp, LINE allows users to message between platforms freely and offers an encryption service to protect personal information. It also offers a similar voice- and video-calling function that other messaging apps provide, but also boasts several unique features.
LINE users can make international calls to numbers not attached to a LINE account, saving the risk of those expensive phone bills. It can also function as more of a social network with your photos and status updates appearing in a timeline.
If security is your number one priority when looking for a messaging app, look no further than Threema. Billed as the most secure messaging service, Threema encrypts all end-to-end communications, including messages, multimedia files and even status messages using the open source NaCl cryptography library.
As an extra security measure, encryption keys are generated and stored securely on user devices to prevent any backdoor access and preventing any third parties from intercepting messages. Like WhatsApp, the desktop-optimised Threema Web allows users to access Threema from their computer.
If you dislike the idea of giving out your phone number to new acquaintances, Wire may be just the thing for you. WhatsApp’s account system is based off phone numbers, meaning that anyone you contact will also have your number.
However Wire works through usernames, which users can give out to those they want to connect with revealing a phone number. You simply register your phone number on your mobile or your email on your desktop PC, and create a Wire account which can be accessed on any device. Handily, you don’t have to worry about typos or messaging mistakes because the delete feature allows you to remove them from all devices that received your message.
For the latest news on the WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram blackout, check out our dedicated live feed: WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram go down | Live updates