Privacy and security are not luxury elements, They are your right. Secure messaging and communication channels are daily requirements for all users.
In this article, we will help you choose the right open-source, and free secure messengers.
Our selection focuses on apps with end-to-end encryption (E2EE).
Some of them have unique features, and most of them work on almost all known platforms for desktop and mobile.
The primary reasons why did we write this list are:
- WhatsApp and Facebook messengers are not that secure or private for many users
- Some countries have limited access to several popular messaging apps on its citizens
- The users may require more privacy focused options, like auto-delete messages, auto-destruct chat, and anonymous messaging.
The Signal app is a cross-platform eternalized encrypted real-time messaging system that is developed and maintained by the non-profit Signal Foundation.
With the Signal app, users can exchange end-to-end encrypted text messages, audio, and video to another person or a group. The app is free, without ads, without tracker scripts. It is available for the desktop; Windows, Linux, and macOS, as well as for mobile; iOS, and Android.
Confide messenger comes with strong end-to-end encryption, automatic destruct messages, strong encryption layers, and a built-in screenshot-proof feature.
Confide allows users to share photos, videos, voice messages, as well as record videos/ and audios within the app. Furthermore, it supports group messaging and document attachments.
The plus version "Confide Plus" comes with more advanced features such as unlimited attachments, nicknames, incognito modes, themes, and priority support. SoConfide apps are available for Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows.
Surespot Messenger is a free, open-source secure massager that takes your privacy to the next level. For a starter, it does not require your phone or email to work, and it uses strong encryption to keep your data secure: 256 bit AES-GCM encryption using keys created with 521 bit ECDH*.
Surespot supports multiple identities, voice messages, portable identities which you can transfer to other devices or save them on Google Drive.
With Surespot you can remove the message from your device and ensure it is deleted from the receiver phone as well.
Surespot is available for Android and iOS devices.
Wire is a GDPR- and CCPA compliant as well as an open-source communication app that comes with similar features to WhatsApp and Telegram.
Because of its compliant features, Wire is trusted by NGO and several business organizations in the EU and the US.
Wire comes with end-to-end encryption (E2EE), features audio and video collaboration and conferencing. It also supports encrypted file sharing with an account or a team.
Wire is good for individuals, and it is free, however large business teams they may require extra business features (paid).
Session is a secure messenger that really respects your privacy by using end-to-end encryption, minimizes sensitive metadata, and uses onion secure routing for data transfer.
Session does not require any phone number to register, and it does not collect any user data public or private. The app is a purely open-source project which anyone can review and use the code to build his secure messaging network.
Session supports group chat, voices messages, and document and file attachments. Platforms: Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, and iOS.
ChatSecure is a free, Libre encrypted messenger for iOS. It features OMEMO encryption, OTR encryption over XMPP.
MacBook, iPhone, and iPad users can download it for free from the Apple App store, and pay some in-app purchases to get extra features.
Element is a free, secure messenger built on top of the Matrix network. It is an ideal alternative solution for WhatsApp, Telegram, and Facebook Messenger.
Matrix is a free, open-source network for decentralized communication which is currently used by close to 50 million people worldwide.
Element uses end-to-end encryption for messages and offers voice and audio calling. It also uses Matrix VoIP for better audio communication. Platforms: Web, iOS, and Android.
If you are an Android user, and you want something quick with minimal setup, then we recommend Briar. It is a peer-to-peer encrypted messaging app with integrated forums that works directly with any nearby contacts without the need for internet access.
Briar does not store your messages on the server, which means it is on your device only. You can install the app from Google Play and F-Droid.Platform: Android.
Tox is a free, and open-source secure instant messaging for individuals and teams. In addition to text messaging, it also features voice, and video calls, screen sharing, file sharing, and group chat.
Tox encrypts your message, and it is distributed which means it does not have a central server, so there is no fear of a shutdown or data turnover.
Tox has many desktop clients for Windows, Linux, and macOS. It also has clients for Android and FreeBSD (Unix). The Linux clients are available on many distro repositories, as well as in Flatpak and AppImage packages.
Mesh is a simple secure peer-to-peer (p2p) messenger that works either online or through a LAN chat.
Mesh supports anonymous accounts and uses RSA 2048 bit keys to generate profiles with AES 256-bit encryption.
With Mesh you don't need to worry about your metadata stored on the server, or leaked sensitive information. Note that the Mesh project is currently in the Alpha stage, and more features are yet to come.
Berty is a secure peer-to-peer messenger with end-to-end encryption that works without any internet access or cellular data.
The primary unique feature of Berty is it uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), to transfer messages and data.
With Berty, you don't need to worry about your nickname or use your phone/ email to register, as it works directly with anonymous accounts.
Berty is available for mobile and as a minimal Command-line interface (CLI) application. Platforms: Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android.
SecureChat is a secure messaging app that encrypts your messages and maintains a small footprint.
The app is formed of two parts a backend which is self-hosted and can be installed on any remote server, and a mobile app for Android/ and iOS which is built using React Native.
There are no official releases yet, however, the code is released on GitHub with good documentation and install instructions. There is no license listed with the app.
Tunnlegram is a fairly new end-to-end encrypted web-based messaging application that supports rich message attachments.
It supports multiple client logins at the same time, and the accounts are not locked with any phone number.
The app also includes group and private channels, as well as full support for public messaging channels.
The app is a self-hosted solution which means anyone can install it on his server and start using it right away. The project is released as an open-source under Apache-2.0 License.
14- Softros LAN Messenger
Softros LAN Messenger is a free secure instant messaging system that allows you to easily chat with colleagues within a local area network. And now, this powerful LAN chat program is available for smartphones and tablets running the Android operating system. By expanding to mobile devices, this Wi-Fi chat application can now be used by employees who are not always in front of their computers, allowing for even better connectivity than before!
If you want a WhatsApp, Telegram alternative, then we recommend Signal and Wire. If you want more privacy and security for teams, then Session and Element are the best options.
For offline usage on Android Briar is the right choice.