Best messaging apps

7 min read

You’ll find plenty of texting apps for Mac and iPhone, but few let you send messages securely, quickly, and reliably. So, be more selective to avoid accidentally revealing secret chats. Not sure which to choose? I share my favorite text apps in this guide. 

What to look for in a texting app? 

The fact is, we can’t live without text apps in our everyday lives. We use them for work, leisure, and personal purposes. So, it’s important that they’re reliable and secure. When browsing for messaging apps, check out if they have these features.

  • Encryption that prevents hackers from intercepting and reading your text messages. 
  • User-friendly features that let you start a chat, search messages, and track delivery status. 
  • Private messaging features like secure chats, disappearing messages, and app lock for privacy-conscious users.
  • Multi-platform texting. This lets you install the app on Android, Windows, and other platforms. 
  • Media sharing. Look for apps that also allow texting alternatives like videos, images, and audio recordings. 

Most decent texting apps offer several, if not all, of the above. 


Best text messaging apps for Mac and iPhone

If you want to send text messages securely, these are the best options. 

Disappearing messagesEnd-to-end EncryptionsPlatform
WhatsAppYesYesMac, Windows, iOS, Android, Web
SignalYesYesMac, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux
Messages by AppleYesYesMac, iOS
SlackNo. (Require 3rd party app)NoMac, Windows, iOS, Android, Web, Linux
DiscordNoNoMac, Windows, iOS, Android, Web, Linux

Learn how each texting app works below. 

1. WhatsApp – Most popular

Pros

  • End-to-end encryption for both personal and business users
  • Free
  • Voice and video calls support
  • Options to turn on disappearing messages

Cons

  • Concerns about data privacy.

If you want a better chat experience, try ChatMate for WhatsApp. Chatmate automatically brings all your WhatsApp messages to your Mac. I love how easy it is to end messages from the Mac desktop without launching another app. Also, ChatMate can blur conversations except for the one that you’re reading in Stealth Mode. 

ChatMate for WhatsApp stealth mode

WhatsApp is the best texting app for most people. You can text anyone in your contact list with just a few clicks. Or make individual or group calls easily. I’m using WhatsApp to stay in touch with family and friends. So far, I have no major complaints. 

When it was launched, WhatsApp was a simple texting app. Today, it has almost every imaginable feature. It also offers secure messaging features like end-to-end encryption and disappearing messages. You can also create groups and manage them in a community with WhatsApp. 

However, there are concerns about Meta, which now owns WhatsApp, using aggregated conversation data for targeted advertising. It also lacks some privacy features, such as preventing message previews from showing up when you receive them. 

WhatsApp recently released a desktop version for Mac, but I wouldn’t say I’m impressed with it as it lacks features that you see in the Windows counterpart. For example, you can’t highlight multiple messages to cut and copy them. 


2. Signal – Most secure

Pros

  • Secure end-to-end encrypted messaging
  • Operated by a non-profit organization
  • Self-destructing messages
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Small user base

Signal is arguably the most secure messaging app. It encrypts messages you sent so no one can read them. In fact, Signal was the inventor of the encryption technology that WhatsApp uses. On top of that, Signal doesn’t store messages backed up on the cloud. No one can obtain a copy of them, legally or not. 

Signal text chats

Like WhatsApp, Signal lets you send text messages, make calls, and share files through the app. It balances user-friendliness and texting privacy. If I want to set the expiry time of text messages or images, I can do that easily on the menu. This way, all messages, especially embarrassing ones I send to my date, will be automatically deleted on both phones.

I wouldn’t worry about Signal selling or using my data for commercial ads because it’s operated by a non-profit. The only drawback of Signal is that it serves a very niche audience. Most people still prefer WhatsApp over other free messaging apps, despite privacy concerns.

3. Messages by Apple – Send private messages easily

Pros

  • Synchronization across iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
  • Secure encryption of messaging channel.
  • Ability to share different media, including live photos, emojis, and emojis.
  • Integration with Apple apps like FaceTime and SharePlay. 

Cons

  • Doesn’t run on Android devices.

The Messages app, or iMessage, is one of the best texting apps for iPhone and Mac. You can find it pre-installed on Apple devices. What makes the app unique is that it automatically switches between iMessage and SMS protocols when texting Apple and non-Apple users. 

Messages app

Notice how certain chats are in blue bubbles? Those are messages sent to fellow iMessage users, while the green ones are SMS texts. What’s more important is the end-to-end encryption that protects anyone, including Apple, from reading your messages. Plus, you can turn on disappearing messages to protect your privacy further. 

Like WhatsApp and Signal, iMessage allows you to create groups, but it has a limit of 32 contacts. Other than that, iMessage is a useful app for texting, sharing files, dropping a voice memo, and making video calls. It also doubles up as a private messaging app that keeps your conversations secret. 

4. Slack – Great for team communication 

Pros

  • Able to communicate in multiple channels
  • Integrates with various project management tools
  • Can search through previous conversations
  • Has a clean and uncluttered interface

Cons

  • It's not fully secure

When working on projects, Slack is the best texting app for iPhone and Mac. It lets you communicate with team members and share project resources easily. Like most messenger apps, you can send text messages directly to the recipient. But Slack also lets you create and broadcast to channels. 

Slack

For example, I was in a channel for writers when I was engaged by a marketing agency. The agency also created channels for marketers, product teams, and SEO specialists. If you use Slack, you can create dedicated workspaces to communicate with clients, vendors, and partners. 

While Slack is great for streamlining work communication, it isn’t the best anonymous text app. Slack only encrypts messages you’ve sent, which means data stored locally on your devices risk being stolen. To reduce such possibilities, try CleanMyMac X. CleanMyMac X can scan and remove malware that may expose locally stored data. 

5. Discord – Perfect for gamers

Pros

  • Has visually pleasing interface
  • Integrates with other services like Zoom and Twitch
  • Easy to use
  • Supports real-time voice chat

Cons

  • No end-to-end encryption

Some would argue that Discord isn’t a messaging app, but it is for avid gamers. Discord lets gamers create communities on public and private servers. There, users can share strategies, discuss gameplay, or have casual chats. That said, many people are using Discord beyond gaming purposes, such as social communities, study groups, and work.

Discord messaging app

Unlike other messaging apps, you can join public servers or get invited into private ones to participate in conversations. Besides chatting with friends or strangers on those channels, you can send direct messages to participants. For example, I’m on Street Fighter Duel, and I joined its server to exchange tips with other players.

If you use Discord, be mindful of sharing confidential information because it’s a public chatroom. Moreover, Discord has only started experimenting with encryption for voice and video calls. 

What is the best messaging app? (Revealed)  

For day-to-day conversations, WhatsApp and iMessage are the best choices. Meanwhile, use Signal if you want a text-secure private messenger for private chats. 

For gamers, Discord is the go-to platform to chat, while Slack helps you manage work communications more effectively. If you find keeping track of conversations on different apps overwhelming, try IM+. It’s the best instant messenger for Mac that lets you manage WhatsApp, Slack, and several other texting apps in one dashboard. 

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