The 10 Best Secure Encrypted Messaging Apps in 2023 (Private and Team Messengers)
Encrypted Messaging apps are in high demand. As smartphones and cloud technology become more pervasive and the amount of transmitted data soars, so too skyrockets the necessity for secure communication.
By now, you’ve heard of encryption. You likely use an encrypted messaging app privately or even a secure team communication tool at work.
As instant messaging technology is so widely used, both personally and professionally, it’s critical to take measures to protect your data, especially as governments, cybercriminals and even big tech themselves are all vying to get their hands on it.
Encrypted messaging is one of the best ways to safeguard yourself.
The app(s) you ultimately choose will depend largely on why you’re chatting; for work and collaboration purposes, or for fun.
In this article, we’ll give you the lowdown on encryption, why you should use an encrypted chat app, how to get started with your app of choice and most importantly, the best messaging apps for encrypted private and team chat. Read on!
Table of Contents
What is Encryption?
In layman’s terms, encryption acts as a lock. It seals off your data from anyone without the key to access it.
Once you press “send” from your chat app or messaging software, your client dismantles the message for delivery to the recipient where it’s reassembled and displayed just as you sent it.
However, encryption protocols vary. With encryption in transit, messages are encrypted on the sender’s end, delivered to the server where they’re decrypted and re-encrypted, and then delivered to the recipient and decrypted again.
While this method protects information during transmission – indeed a dangerous part of the journey – it does still allow the server to see the content.
End-to-end encryption, on the other hand, applies encryption for the entire duration of the journey. It guarantees your content won’t be viewed by anyone other than the recipient, not even the client who may store your communications on their servers or those of third parties.
What Is Encrypted Messaging?
Encrypted messaging is a method of sending and receiving secure messages by converting information into an unreadable format decoded only with an authorized key. Encrypted messages provide a high security level to protect sensitive and confidential data.
Why Use an Encrypted Messaging App in 2023?
Encrypted messengers offer a more secure way to communicate. As real-time messaging grows in popularity, standard SMS messages aren’t completely secure all the time.
When choosing an encrypted messaging app, you may find it useful to look beyond just encryption. Let’s see what the main reasons for choosing an encrypted messaging app are!
When it comes to security, the best offense is a good defense.
Private chatting apps featuring end-to-end encryption and P2P messaging channels practically eliminate the threat of data being intercepted in transit or falling into the wrong hands due to malfeasance or vulnerabilities on the client’s side.
Privacy and security go hand in hand. In addition to the value of encryption and P2P technology, chat apps with privacy keep information and data on-premises and out of the wrong hands.
An encrypted chat app on its own network is one of the best ways to guarantee your information flows between participants authorized to access that data.
A common issue associated with messenger apps is suitability within the workplace. To combat this, many instant messaging apps for businesses provide more robust administrative control.
With Brosix, for example, you can manage everything from user access to the platform, to shared chat spaces, access to features on a user basis and individual data security levels.
This granular-level control and contact management better focus your team, mitigating instances where employees might wander in their communication and improve team collaboration.
Getting Started with an Encrypted Chat App
Getting set up with an encrypted chat app is easy. Just like other messenger apps, choose your platform, download the app to your device and complete the verification process, usually by confirming your phone number or email address.
Many apps automatically sync your contacts who also use the app. Once synced, just touch or click the contact with whom you wish to communicate, and you’re ready to chat!
Top 10 Most Secure Messaging Apps for Android, iOS, and Desktop
Here are the top 10 encrypted messaging apps that ensure safety and privacy without compromising the efficacy of your communication.
Available on: Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, Web
Each Brosix Network is fully encrypted and packed with robust administrative features, making it one of the most secure and customizable options available to protect team communication.
Brosix takes a multi-tiered approach to security. The AES 256-bit encryption algorithm encrypts communication end-to-end on established peer-to-peer channels, ensuring data and information flow directly between the sender and recipient. For added peace of mind, you can even integrate your anti-virus and malware software.
Define your Team Network as you see fit from the Web Control Panel. Manage, on a user-level, everything from access to the platform and features to contact lists, shared chat spaces, API integrations and data security levels. You can even delegate admin duties for greater efficiency.
This puts you in charge of Brosix’s rich communication and collaboration spaces. You can text-chat directly or in team chat rooms, broadcast messages to handpicked audiences, and make crystal clear audio and video calls. Share your screen and grant remote desktop access, safely transfer files of any size and carry out dynamic virtual whiteboard presentations.
This all makes Brosix not only one of the best chat apps for business, but also one of the most secure encrypted chat apps around.
Brosix pricing: Free Startup plan for up to 3 users; $4 per user/month for the Business plan and; $6 per user/month for the Premium plan.
Available on: Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux
Signal Messenger is a combination of two separate apps originally dedicated to encrypted voice communication and encrypted texting. Created by Whisper Systems and later acquired by Twitter to enhance its own encryption and security protocol, Signal features (ironically) both Edward Snowden and members of the U.S. Senate among its clientele.
Signal not only encrypts chats end-to-end by default, but also makes its encryption and source code available to all for examination. The open-source encrypted messaging app also hides virtually all metadata including the message sender. This means neither Signal nor anyone who intercepts a message in transit can tell who’s sending you Signal messages or who has read any messages.
Signal has been criticized for requiring you to register with a phone number. Despite this, the non-profit Signal Foundation received a $50 million investment from WhatsApp founder, Brian Action, boosting Signal’s commitment to remain a totally free encrypted chat app – free of charge, free of advertisements and web-tracking free. It’s one of the best private chat apps.
For more, check out our recent in-depth Signal review.
Signal pricing: Free
Available on: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Windows, macOS, Linux
Keeping up with the demand for encrypted messaging apps, Viber has hit a billion users, 820 million of which are active each month.
Developed by a former Israeli intelligence officer, with Viber you get similar features to WhatsApp – encrypted texting, group chats, voice and video calls and the ability to send stickers, emojis, photos, files and short voice and video messages.
For the security-conscious, Viber offers a few nifty features. The free encrypted chat app color-codes chats to denote their level of protection – gray for encrypted communication with a trusted contact and red to signify an issue with the encryption key. For hiding messages on a shared device, Viber provides hidden chats with PIN access and self-destructing capabilities.
Viber pricing: Free; reduced rates for calls to non-Viber users
Available on: Windows, Windows Phone, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Web
Telegram offers plenty for those in search of a secure private chat app.
For starters, there’s a secret chat mode and you can set messages to self-destruct. You can share unlimited photos, videos and files. Cloud-based infrastructure lets you sync messages between multiple devices, meaning that Telegram features are available wherever you log in.
That said, while there is end-to-end encryption, it isn’t the default. You have to turn it on manually, and that could lull you into a false sense of security. What’s more, while the client-side code is open-source, Telegram’s encryption protocol is homegrown and unverified by experts.
If Telegram isn’t secure enough for you, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with this list of Telegram alternatives.
Telegram pricing: Free
Available on: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Windows, macOS, Web
WhatsApp hasn’t always been among the most secure chat apps. However the popular messenger added end-to-end encryption in 2016.
WhatsApp offers encrypted chats, group messaging, free voice and video calls, and the ability to leave short voice and video messages. You also get encrypted photo and file sharing. For extra security, WhatsApp gives you the ability to verify each chat’s security verification code.
Despite sharing its encryption protocol with Signal, WhatsApp has exhibited frequent security flaws and vulnerabilities. What’s more, links to WhatsApp group chats have been found on Google.
Regardless, WhatsApp’s ubiquity – more than 2.7 billion worldwide users – makes it the most popular encrypted messaging app around.
WhatsApp pricing: Free
Available on: Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, Web
Chatox is accessible on multiple platforms and devices. It is a private ad-free chat app with text, voice, and video call options. The communication on all peer-to-peer channels is encrypted, so your data is not cached or abused in any way. A high level of security is the app’s top priority.
Chatox allows you to share an unlimited number of files regardless of their size. You can create chat rooms and add participants of your choice there. The instant messenger app is also user-friendly and intuitive and synchronizes chat history on all devices.
Although Chatox is a private communication app, it offers valuable business features, such as whiteboards for brainstorming ideas, co-browsing for better collaboration, screen sharing, and in-app screenshots.
Chatox pricing: Free
Available on: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Web
Threema is another paid encrypted chat app, but it doesn’t require a phone number or email address to get started. Instead, Threema provides a unique Threema ID, meaning you can use the app completely anonymously. Scannable QR codes let you verify other users and add contacts more securely and conveniently.
Threema fully encrypts texting, group chats, voice calls and file transfers. Furthermore, upon delivery, Threema immediately wipes this data from the servers. There’s even a polling system for feedback from contacts.
Threema also offers encrypted chats for work on a separate network. There’s a video call option as well, which is a must for remote working. Check out these video calling apps in case Threema doesn’t meet your needs.
Threema pricing: $14.99 per user/month for Essential; $21.99 per user/month for Advanced; $32.99 per user/month for Professional
Available on: Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Web
With both free and paid options, Wire is another secure service for you to try. Unlike other encrypted messaging apps such as Telegram, Wire’s encryption is always on so your data is always protected.
An open-source platform, Wire’s source code is available on GitHub for users to critique and improve. In fact, as a publicly audited app, you can even download audit reports from Wire’s website.
Wire Personal lets you have encrypted private or group conversations, share files, set messages to self-destruct and make voice and video calls. Pro and Enterprise plans get you conferencing, API integrations, cloud-based or on-premise deployment and secure guest rooms where you can communicate with outside clients and partners. For what it’s worth, Wire doesn’t require a phone number to get started.
All that said, Personal, or the free app, is buried so deep in their website that you may have to do a separate Google search to find it. What’s more, unlike encrypted software apps for business, such as Brosix, Wire’s business offerings don’t afford you a high level of administrative control.
For more, explore our recent article on Wire.
Wire pricing: Free; from $7.65 per user/month for Basic; custom pricing for Government
Available on: Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, Web
Mattermost is an open-source encrypted chat app for business. When you download it, you can add encryption – in transit and at rest – on both communication and server levels. That means even stored messages and files are better protected from malicious hackers and data thieves.
You can customize languages in the UI, tailor the mobile app, custom-build emojis and personalize the branding and login page.
Communication happens via direct messages or in groups through public and private channels. You also get voice and video capabilities, screen sharing and a host of open-source integrations.
Mattermost pricing: Free; $10 for Professional; custom pricing for Enterprise
Available on: Android, iOS
The walkie-talkie app uses the same encryption protocols as Signal. But, like Telegram, it’s only available on private chats and you’ll need to opt in.
There’s a voice-to-text transcription and you can play back messages at your convenience, just like voicemail. In addition to one-on-one messaging, Voxer supports group chats for up to 500 people. You can also send and receive photos, videos and location messages.
Voxer is a free app. But you’ll need a Pro plan to unlock the walkie-talkie, while a Business subscription gets you admin-controlled chats, unlimited message history and a private network.
Voxer pricing: Free; Pro from $3.99 user/month; Business from $6 user/month
How to Choose an Encrypted Messaging App for Secure Chat?
The number of encrypted messaging apps on the market today doesn’t make your choice easy. There’s a lot to keep in mind. To recap, consider the following:
- The nature of your chats – The basis of your communication will determine whether you should go for encrypted messaging software for business or a free, personal-grade app. For the latter, keep in mind where your contacts chat. An app is useless if your contacts aren’t there.
- The nature of the encryption – Encryption can’t protect you if you don’t know you have to turn it on, not to mention if your data at rest isn’t encrypted. So consider whether you need to opt in, turn on the encryption manually, or if the encryption is end-to-end.
- Advanced features – Unlimited secure file transfers, screen sharing with remote desktop and advanced control options enable processes such as team collaboration and remote tech support. Many free apps don’t have these features.
- Price – While consumer-grade apps are free, encrypted messengers for business will cost you. However prices for self-hosting, advanced collaboration and control features vary. So weigh the features you need against the cost you’re able to pay.
If you’re looking for an end-to-end encrypted messaging app for business, try Brosix. A highly secure and customizable platform, Brosix not only guarantees absolute data privacy and security but grants you total control over the communication process.
What is a secure messaging app?
A secure messaging app is an application that guarantees the privacy of the messages sent through it. Since an end-to-end encryption protocol is activated, the messages can be read only by the sender and the recipient. Even the service provider does not have access to them.
What does end-to-end encryption mean?
End-to-end encryption is a security procedure that protects messages’ privacy by encrypting them on the sender’s end and decoding them on the recipient’s end. Thus, the messages cannot be intercepted during transmission.
Are there secure messaging apps for Android?
Yes, there are several popular secure messaging apps for Android phones, such as Brosix, Telegram, WhatsApp, and Signal. They provide end-to-end encryption to keep messages private.
Can I use secure messaging apps on iOS?
Yes. There are many secure messaging apps available for iOS. Some of the best ones for iOS are Signal, Brosix, Telegram, WhatsApp, etc. All these offer end-to-end encryption for conversation privacy.
Which are the best encrypted messaging apps?
There are numerous secure encryption messaging apps available on the market, such as Telegram, Brosix, Signal, WhatsApp, and Threema. These offer top-level security features and end-to-end encryption protocols.
How does Brosix compare to other popular messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger?
Unlike WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, Brosix is specifically designed to prioritize security and privacy, offering users a completely private and secure messaging experience.
What are some of the features Brosix offers that make it a highly secure messaging service?
Brosix offers a variety of security and privacy features like the ability to lock down chats with a password, set up a private team network, and add custom security settings to individual conversations.
What makes Brosix one of the best apps for secure chat?
Brosix prioritizes privacy and security with features like end-to-end encryption, encrypted backups, secure servers, and, unlike many other messaging apps, no ads or data mining of any kind.
Are messaging apps expected to become more secure and private in the future?
Yes, it’s likely that messaging apps will continue to make security and privacy a top priority, as more people become aware of the importance of keeping their information safe and secure online.