Best free messaging apps
Thanks to the rise of free messaging apps, the humble SMS text message is fast becoming outdated. Apps like WhatsApp and Skype use a wi-fi connection or your 3G data plan to send and receive hundreds of messages. They’re available across all mobile platforms too; from iPhone to Android to Windows Phone to BlackBerry.
As long as your messages’ recipient has the app too, you can quickly get sending as many missives as you please. The amount data used by these apps is very small but, it’s always worth using a data tracking app to make sure you don’t go over your data limit. Read on for our pick of the best free messaging apps…
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BlackBerry Messenger – best for security
As one of the original messaging apps, BlackBerry Messenger is famed for its use of a Triple Data Encryption Standard. This makes messages more secure than email as they’re relayed through BlackBerry itself rather than over the internet.
At the moment BBM is only available for BlackBerry phones but it’s set to launch for Android and iOS this summer. Additional features include the ability to share photos, videos and voice notes, although video and voice calling is restricted to the latest BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 phones.
Skype – best for video calls
With over 600 million users worldwide, Skype is best known for providing free voice and video calls over wi-fi. It’s desktop app has long been an essential download for users wanting to get in touch with friends and family living abroad.
Skype’s mobile phone app – for Android, BlackBerry, iOS and Windows Phone – allows free video and voice calls, alongside instant messaging. You can also call friends who don’t have a Skype account by topping up the app with Skype Credit. Instant messages to anyone within the UK costs 6.4 pence and calls are 1.6 pence per minute.
Viber – ease of use
Similarly to Skype, Viber offers the complete package of video and voice calls on top of instant messaging. It syncs seamlessly with any numbers in your regular phone book that are already assigned to Viber. This means you can then use the Viber phone book to make all of your calls and texts.
If the recipient has Viber, you won’t pay a thing. If not, calls and texts will just come out of your mobile phone plan. Viber is free to download on all platforms – including Android, iOS and BlackBerry – and can also be used on a Windows PC or Mac. There are no in app purchase options or adverts either which makes a refreshing change.
WhatsApp Messenger – best for text messaging
WhatsApp Messenger is the most popular messaging app of its kind processing 20 billion messages a day. It’s reportedly got more users than Twitter, so if you want to text your friends and family members for free it’s likely they’ll already have WhatsApp on their mobile.
With all mobile platforms other than iOS, WhatsApp is free for your first year of use year and then 65p thereafter. If you own an iPhone, you’ll have to pay a 69p download fee upfront.
The app’s layout is clean, meaning it’s easy to navigate around. You can send photos and videos to other WhatsApp users and even share your location. Plus, WhatsApp’s group chats feature enables you to message a selection of people at the same time.
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