A guide to the best messaging apps for your mobile

Our latest research shows that 40% of us Brits find making a phone call stressful and that text message, WhatsApp, Snapchat and other forms of communication are dominating the way we contact friends, colleagues and loved ones. With so many different messaging apps available, we’ve pulled together details of the top five messaging apps to download.

WhatsApp

By far the most popular and well-known messaging app, WhatsApp is free to download and can be synced with your phone contacts. You send text, photos, voice and short video messages to contacts, and the app is continuously updating and adding new features. However, the phone does require phone functionality so can’t be used on all devices and in the past there has been concerns around privacy and data sharing.

Viber

Viber, although not as popular as WhatsApp, encourages you to “Connect. Freely” with its app for Windows 10, Mac and Linux computers, and iOS, Android and Windows phones. The app lets you send free messages and make free calls to other Viber users on any device or network.

The app is known for being easy to use and it also reads your phone settings and contacts. It also offers HD-quality voice calls, video calls, and messages with text, photos, and stickers. It has also introduced encrypted messaging features to the app, with a color-coded icon indicating chat security and encryption. You will need a SIM card and phone functionality.

Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger is a dedicated messaging app that builds on Facebook’s existing chat format and adds more mobile messaging features. Users need a Facebook account and can send other users the usual chat messages, as well as voice messages and voice and video calls to other Messenger users, with extra features like GIF support and photo and location sharing. Just make sure to manage your settings to prevent Facebook from sharing your data.

Slack

Slack has been a huge hit for corporations and small businesses alike with its mix of messaging, scheduling, management tools, and app integration. The app covers your IM basics with real-time messaging synced across devices and also supports file sharing, direct and group messaging tools. Slack archives your messages, allowing you to search through old messages, channels and shared files, and includes integration with a variety of services such as cloud storage, Asana, Zendesk and more. Premium plans provide more features, such as expanded file storage and better app integration.

Snapchat

Snapchat is known for being popular among younger users. At its core, users can send each other ‘Snaps’ — photos, short videos, or messages that are only visible for a limited time before disappearing. Over the years the app has added more features such as filters and photo editing tools, a more advanced story sharing system, bitmojis, adaptive chat and more, evolving constantly in a fast-moving social media landscape. It’s a fun way to stay in touch with friends.

Gary Beeston, adds: “There are such a vast range of different apps available, whether you want to chat to your parents, stay in touch with colleague or just gossip with your friends. Once you’ve found the perfect app for your needs you won’t have to stress about a phone call.”