Say Goodbye to ICQ: Embrace These Top-Notch Apps as ICQ Alternatives

There is hardly anyone who has not heard of ICQ, or “I Seek You.” It’s one of the first instant messenger (IM) services ever. This was the app that changed the game for everyone back in the day.

Launched in 1996 primarily as a chat service, it grew into a tool with various functionalities, including email, text messages to cellular telephones, voice and video chat, and file transfers. Two years later, Mirabilis—the company behind the development of ICQ—was acquired by then America Online (now AOL). In 2013, AOL sold this messenger to the Russian company VK (formerly Digital Sky Technologies).

And now VK has announced that ICQ is shutting down for good at the end of the month—on June 26, 2024. So, I felt compelled to bid farewell to this instant messaging (IM) industry veteran.

Fortunately, today’s digitized world is brimming with solutions that are similar to ICQ. My mission here is to present you with the best ICQ alternatives, in my expert opinion, and help you find the right one for you.

Let’s get started.

Top 6 Best ICQ Alternatives in 2024

With ICQ out of the picture very soon, it’s high time for its loyal users to switch to another IM service.

Does this sound like you? If yes, read on.

1. Chatox


If I had to describe Chatox in two words, I would say “unsophisticated” and “functional.”

Chatox is light messaging software that impresses with an appealing design and intuitive navigation.

What’s more, it comes with a variety of functions that make it easy to love it. The main features include direct text chat, chat rooms for group discussions, and voice and video chats. Chatox goes a step further with its collaborative tools including screen sharing, a virtual whiteboard, and unlimited file sharing in its portfolio.

Let me wrap it all up.

Chatox pricing: Free forever

Pros and cons

Chatox ProsChatox Cons
Automatic spell-check functionalityCustomization is not its strongest side yet
Fully encrypted peer-to-peer connections, protecting privacy and dataOccasional issues with audio and video quality
Provides an extra layer of security by integrating with anti-virus software

Available on: iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Linux, Web

2. WhatsApp


Whether you are a frequent traveler (or not) or you have friends and family living across borders, consider WhatsApp. It’s one of the most loved free messaging applications that’s similar to ICQ. 

WhatsApp allows you to send and receive messages, make audio and video calls, and share files without charging you. The option for disappearing messages provides extra security by automatically deleting messages after a set period.

WhatsApp is a good fit for remote teams as well. Not only that, but WhatsApp offers you the chance to create separate WhatsApp accounts for business use. They come at a cost per conversation, depending on your current location.

WhatsApp pricing: Free

Pros and cons

WhatsApp ProsWhatsApp Cons
End-to-end encrypted conversationsMessages can be backed up to Google Drive or iCloud, but backup end-to-end encryption must be enabled manually
Enables users to record and share up to 60-second video notes directly in the chatThe maximum allowed document size for sharing is 2 GB.
Allows users to make personalized animated GIFs from short videosMeta owns WhatsApp, which some people find concerning regarding the privacy of their user metadata.

Available on: iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Windows Phone, Web

User ratings:

  • Trustpilot 1.6 (Stars) from 951 people
  • Capterra 4.7 (Stars) from 15,763 people
  • G2 4.7 (Stars) from 67 people

3. Viber

Say Goodbye to ICQ: Embrace These Top-Notch Apps as ICQ Alternatives 1

Viber has been around for more than 10 years now. It’s among the best alternatives to ICQ you can find.

What I like best about it is that it’s easy to use and navigate and is accessible on both desktop and mobile devices. Viber offers all the standard features of an instant messaging app, such as chatting one-on-one or in a group, having face-to-face meetings, and sending files and photos.

Once you download Viber and create your free account, you’ll be able to see which of your phone contacts use it, too. Viber Out lets you call any landline or mobile number in the world, even if they don’t have the app.

Viber pricing: Free

Pros and cons

Viber prosViber cons
Ability to attach messages, or “pin” them, so that an important update or news won’t be missed in a group chatUsers may experience interruptions from ads while using the app
Allows users to gather opinions and feedback easily right from a chat through the creation of surveysViber may consume significant storage space on your device
End-to-end encryption is enabled by defaultThe number of photos that can be shared at one time is up to 50

Available on: iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Linux

User ratings:

  • Trustpilot 1.4 (Stars) from 159 people
  • Capterra 4.4 (Stars) from 4,008 people

4. Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger

High in popularity, this free instant messaging app offers a quick and simple way to interact with anyone who has a Facebook profile. As a versatile communications platform, it offers high-quality audio and video capabilities and file sharing. You can also personalize your messages with animated effects and share your location.

Facebook Messenger is very useful when you need to juggle multiple accounts. This means that you can use this app for both personal and business purposes.

You can chat with customers if you manage a Meta business account. Also, there’s an option to create a group chat room for a Facebook page so that members can converse while the page remains clutter-free.

I appreciate the way Facebook Messenger filters out spam messages. Persons who aren’t on my friend list on Facebook can still contact me, but I see those as “requests,” not as direct messages.

Facebook Messenger pricing: Free

Pros and cons

Facebook Messenger ProsFacebook Messenger Cons
User-friendly and integrates seamlessly with FacebookRequires access to audio recordings, which can be a major privacy concern for many users
The messaging style is similar to sending text messages, making it a valuable feature for those who want to avoid SMS costsSometimes, there are bugs and glitches with the mobile app
Offers end-to-end encryption of all communicationAlways running in the background, which can quickly drain the battery of your device

Available on: Windows, Android, iOS, Web

User ratings:

  • Trustpilot 1.4 (Stars) from 159 people
  • Capterra 4.7 (Stars) from 4,007 people

5. Telegram


Telegram isn’t your ordinary chat app. It’s more like a hybrid between instant messaging apps and social networks. I’ll explain.

Telegram supports direct messaging, public and private channels, and group chats with up to 200,000 members. These are mini-communities built around joint interests and topics. The professionals behind the app are actively working to improve their moderation.

The app also has a bot API that allows developers to create chatbots and automated services, similar to social media bots. It’s an interesting fact that you can schedule sending a message and even start a secret chat. 

If you activate Telegram Premium, you’ll get access to Telegram Business and its exclusive features like quick replies and automated messages.

Telegram is gaining popularity as we speak, and I believe it’s worth a try.

Telegram pricing: Free; Prices for Telegram Premium vary, depending on payment methods and location.

Pros and cons

Telegram ProsTelegram Cons
End-to-end encryption for secret chats and voice callsSome users report poor video calling quality
Known for its fast and reliable messaging serviceEncryption from end-to-end isn’t enabled by default
Completely ad-free, providing a clean and distraction-free user experienceCollects user data, which can raise concerns about privacy and data protection

Available on: iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Windows Phone, Linux, Web

User ratings:

  • Trustpilot 1.8 (Stars) from 414 people
  • Capterra 4.7 (Stars) from 6,280 people

6. Skype


Over the years, Skype has gained the reputation as a reliable tool for live chat and web calls. The interface is simplistic and doesn’t require you to be tech-savvy.

Video chats have no time limits and are highly secure, which makes Skype an excellent video conferencing system. Skype also offers a credit-based VoIP service through which you can make calls to landline phones and send instant messages at lower rates.

As Skype continues to evolve, it has introduced innovative features, such as smart truncating of lengthy messages and stacked media albums. Not to mention the integration with the Bing chatbot, which can answer questions in more than 100 languages.

Skype pricing: Free; Prices for online calls to phones vary depending on location.

Pros and cons

Skype ProsSkype Cons
Enables large group meetings and conferences with up to 100 individualsDuring Skype calls, the microphone can easily pick up background noise
Allows users to share screens and collaborate in real timeFile sharing is restricted to up to 300 MB
Offers seamless integration with Microsoft 365 for enhanced productivity and convenience

Available on: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Kindle Fire, Xbox One, Web

User ratings:

  • Trustpilot 1.4 (Stars) from 1,500 people
  • Capterra 4.2 (Stars) from 449 people
  • G2 4.3 (Stars) from 23,201 people

Brosix: All-In-One Solution for Team Chats


In one platform, Brosix combines the best of both worlds: consumer and business apps.

It’s here to make collaboration seamless and help you raise your team’s productivity with advanced features, such as:

  • Voice and chat capabilities
  • Unlimited messages and file transfers
  • Broadcast messages
  • Video calls
  • Screen sharing
  • Co-browsing
  • Whiteboard drawings
  • Calendar integrations

All communication is end-to-end encrypted and under the control of network administrators.
Brosix offers a free version, and the pricing plans start at $4 per user per month.

Sign up for a Brosix Team Network

Final Words

ICQ has earned an honorable place in the world of instant messaging applications. And, following the closing of its doors after 28 years of service, in retrospect, it will be remembered with nostalgia.

However, with so many high-quality IM apps available nowadays, you’ll get the same or even better functionality and performance. So, you need to move forward. Choose the right ICQ alternative for your needs, while staying up to date with the latest technological advancements.

Nikola Baldikov

Nikola Baldikov is a Head of Marketing at Brosix, specializing in SaaS marketing, SEO, and outreach strategies. Besides his passion for digital marketing, he is an avid football fan and loves to dance. Connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter at @baldikovn.

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