For many iOS users, iMessage is the go-to client for messaging friends and family. It’s already set up for you and works just like regular SMS messaging but without costing money or part of your free SMS allocation. The downside is it’s only free if you’re texting another iOS user. For those messaging Android device owners, it’s not so convenient.
Here are 10 apps that mean you can message your friends and loved ones for free — no matter what device they use.
1. WhatsApp (Free)
The most well known free messaging service out there, WhatsApp is immensely convenient. It’ll work across any form of internet connection (even 2G), allowing you to easily send messages, photos, videos and voice calls through the service. Group chat options, as well as the ability to send and receive messages from your browser, make things even more convenient.
2. Telegram (Free)
Telegram works a lot like WhatsApp but it offers a more extensive supply of stickers and original emojis. As well as that, it’s extra secure, and you can set up group chats with up to 5,000 members. Sharing files is particularly easy here, and there’s no pesky ads to worry about either. You can set up secret chat messages too, which self destruct after a certain length of time.
3. Facebook Messenger (Free)
Mostly everyone has a Facebook account now, making Facebook Messenger an ideal option. You can use it much like texting, setting up group chats, or sharing links, photos and videos. Free calls are an option, as well as voice messaging. The fun side of things comes from a huge wealth of stickers to express your thoughts, alongside more conventional emojis.
4. Skype (Free)
Skype is best known for providing a simple and inexpensive way to communicate via video and voice calls anywhere in the world. It also gives you an easy way to message via text too. Through the service, you can quickly share photos and files, as well as participate in group chats of up to 300 people. Working alongside your Apple Watch, you can even check in on chats via your wrist.
5. Viber (Free)
With over 754 million users worldwide, you probably already know a bunch of people using Viber. The app offers an easy to use interface that provides phone and video calls, as well as group messaging. End-to-end encryption means you don’t have to worry about security concerns. On a fun note, there are plenty of static and animated stickers to use when you want to express yourself more visually.
6. BBM (Free)
Yup, BBM is still around. Have you got a friend who’s still clinging onto their BBM PIN? Or their beloved BlackBerry? This is the app you’ll need to chat with them. It also works for anyone else who wants to set up a BBM PIN, allowing them to easily message others. Its key feature is the ability to retract messages and photos before they’ve been read, proving ideal for those times you instantly regret what you’ve done.
7. GroupMe (Free)
Proving ideal for group chats, GroupMe makes it simple to add anyone to a group via their phone number or email address. If they’re not already using the app, they can chat over SMS instead. Plenty of exclusive emojis are available with the option to import memes and GIFs into the app to express yourself. Videos and links can also be easily shared in this colorful messaging app.
8. Hangouts (Free)
Google Hangouts is one of Google’s solutions for providing somewhere for you to message your friends. Group chat works for up to 150 people with a multitude of emojis and stickers available. Group video calling is also available, all courtesy of your Google account. Much like Facebook, everyone has a Google account now making it easy to use the service.
9. Kik (Free)
Kik is a simple and effective messaging service. You simply pick a username and start chatting. Through the service, you can share all kinds of media, including photos, videos and GIFs. It’s also possible to make new friends through the service, as well as participate in group chats.
10. Google Allo (Free)
For a more intelligent alternative to Hangouts, Google Allo has some neat tricks up its sleeve. It’ll learn how you reply to texts and photos, responding to them for you without you needing to type a single word. As well as that, you can change the font size to demonstrate if you’re whispering or shouting, plus there are tons of stickers available to use. Google Assistant support is also included.