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Just running a search for the term ‘chat apps’ or ‘video chat’ or ‘messenger apps’ inside the Play Store or the iTunes Store will serve you up hundreds of different options. We scoured the web, installed countless apps and compiled the best mobile messaging apps for your smartphone for both Android and iOS for 2020.

In this blog article, we look at 16 of this year’s top chat apps and give our thoughts on each one.

#1. Yabb Messenger

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Alright, we may be a little biased here but we think Yabb Instant Messenger is one of the best new all-in-one social networking chat apps on the market for Android and iOS. It’s loaded with features so you can communicate however you want, whether it be a voice call, video call, group chat, whatever.

Yabb’s Features

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  • Cheap international calls to mobiles and landlines
  • Free VoIP calls (no phone number required)
  • Emoticons and animated stickers
  • Self-destructing text messages – set a timer for how long you’d like your message to “stay alive” once someone sees it before it is gone forever.
  • Group chat
  • Video chat
  • Real-time push messages
  • Location sharing
  • Meet new people nearby
  • Photo sharing
  • Social media wall where people can share and like
  • Share YouTube videos with your friends
  • Moderated content (if someone uploads inappropriate photos we remove them)
  • Real-time social updates

Yabb Instant Messenger is available on Android and iOS

#2. WhatsApp

At the time of this writing, WhatsApp is one of the most popular chat apps on Android and iOS connecting more than a billion humans. This is a staggering number of people all using one app not just to talk but to share multimedia media as well.

What we like

  • Unlimited calling
  • Free app to app messages
  • Group texting
  • Video calling

What we don’t like

  • Future Security concerns: Mark Zuckerberg wants to make it possible for Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram to send messages to each other which raises real security concerns for those users.
  • Need fairly strong internet speeds to get a good clear video call.

Some of WhatsApp’s Features

  • Voice calls (only to other WhatsApp users)
  • Message pop-up boxes
  • End-to-end encryption into the latest versions of their app
  • Emoticons
  • Push notifications
  • Works with most smartphones
  • Send photos, documents and other multimedia to your connections

#3. Telegram

With millions of users on the Telegram platform it’s one of the more popular messaging apps but it’s mostly known for its solid end-to-end encryption which keeps your messages and calls private. There are others on this list that challenge Telegrams claims about its ability to keep users communication truly private.

What we like:

• Chat data is synchronized without any limitations across all devices and operating systems
• Good intuitive design and user interface
• Flexible security options
• Some good customizations
• No limit on file size sharing

What we don’t like:

• No video calling option
• The contact list is based on phone numbers and requires contact permissions on mobile devices.
• Voice calls weren’t as good as some other apps but that have been a connection issue?
• Search function needs improvement can be a little tedious to find what you want

Some of Telegram’s Features:

• Store chat history in the cloud
• 256-bit symmetric AES encryption, 2048-bit RSA encryption, and Diffie-Hellman secure key exchange
• Stickers and GIFs
• photo and video editing
• Group chat for up to 100,000 people

#4. GroupMe

GroupMe is a text messaging app that allows you to send group texts. How is this different from sending a group text on your mobile phone?

When you send a group text using your texting feature on your smartphone you’re really only sending a bunch of individual texts, there is no group conversation happening. With GroupMe, every message you send out can be seen by everyone and everyone can join in the conversation even if they don’t have the GroupMe messenger app installed on their phone.

What we like

  • It’s a social texting app that gets everyone involved
  • You can still send direct one-to-one messages
  • Photo and video sharing that allows participants to ‘like’
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What we don’t like

  • If you’re only interested in group messaging then this should be one of your go-to chat apps, however, most people are after a few more features, in this case, it may not be the best option.

Some of GroupMe’s Features

  • Conference calling
  • Mapping feature which tells you the location of everyone involved in the discussion.
  • Split bills feature that will divide up the bill for each participant and notify each person (not available in all countries)
  • Create events where participants can RSVP
  • You can also make group poll’s to get feedback

#5. Line

Line is battling for ultimate supremacy in the VoIP space against big names like WhatsApp and Viber. This messenger app offers good voice and video capabilities and has a solid following in Asia.

Line also steps outside of just calling by offering emoticons, stickers, group messaging and the ability to share multiple media amongst other Line users, basically it’s a social media channel like Facebook and Twitter.

What we like

  • It’s not chained to your smartphone, you can use Line on your PC or Mac too.
  • Calls to landlines, it’s not free but they’re cheap.
  • Keeps all of your conversations in one place
  • Add-on apps to extend its capabilities
  • You can almost run your life from this single app. It covers your social media needs, you make purchases using Line Pay or if you’re in Japan use it to hail a cab!

What we don’t like

  • It’s not well-known outside of Asia, chances are your friends will already be fully invested in another chat app so it may take some convincing to get them to migrate all of their contacts over to a new service.
  • It’s kind of busy to look at and there are ads of course but what app doesn’t have them, the point is that it just adds more noise overall.
  • The interface isn’t as slick as Facebook or easy to use as other well-known social media apps like Twitter so it will take some time to adjust to the layout.

Some of Line’s Features

  • Voice calls app to app and to landlines (costs money)
  • Group video calls
  • Stickers
  • Disappearing messages
  • Calls to landlines
  • Plenty of add-on apps
  • Line Pay
  • Chat which allows you to speak with personal contacts as well as customers and inquiries

#6. WeChat

WeChat was developed in China back in 2011 and now is a global social media app. Since going viral has gone on to become a serious competitor to WhatsApp and Viber with 100’s of millions of users around the world.

Voice calls are interesting because they are in half-duplex which means that it works like a walkie-talkie, you start a voice message by pushing a button, WeChat records that message and then sends it over to the recipient.

What we like

  • Registration is quick and easy since it uses your mobile phone number or log in with your Facebook details.
  • Free high-quality voice and video calling
  • Available for all common platforms
  • “Look around” feature which makes you visible to others meaning you can meet new friends.

What we don’t’ like

  • The interface isn’t as slick and intuitive as the other big messenger apps

Some of WeChat’s Features

  • Voice messaging
  • Video calls
  • Shake to add contacts
  • Selfie stickers
  • Look around allows you to meet people nearby
  • Share photos in real-time wherever you are to your contacts
  • Chat alerts let you know when a friend messages you something important
  • Quick pay
  • Private group chat

#7. Kakao Talk (KaTalk)

Kakao Talk is sometimes referred to as the Korean-WhatsApp.

What is it? It’s a social app that showcases a lot of the familiar features we’ve all come to expect from similar chat apps in this genre, like voice and video calling, instant messaging, location sharing, group text messages to name a few.

Although it has a strong user-base of over 150 million people it is most popular in Korea so if you’re living in the west you not know anyone who is already using it. That said, if you’re planning a trip to Korea this is the only chat app they use so it’s a must-have.

What we like

  • Finding people is easy with this chat app, you can run a search using their name, number or email address (this does, of course, raise security concerns for some.)
  • In a group chat, it lets you know who in that chat, has seen your message which is always a handy feature.
  • Cross-platform – you can switch between PC and mobile phone during a conversation great for when your phone runs out of juice.

What we don’t like

  • No data encryption which raises serious privacy issues it’s best to be careful about what you share.
  • If you try to call someone who doesn’t have the KakaoTalk then the app will begin using your mobile plan minutes instead.
  • Hyper-localized, meaning it’s not hugely popular outside of Korea.

Some of KaKaoTalk’s Features

  • SMS messages
  • Plus friend (get exclusive deals from our favorite brands)
  • Contacts management
  • Audio and graphics
  • Sharing (photos and videos)
  • Secret messaging
  • Group messaging
  • Appointment scheduler
  • Conversation export
  • Location sharing
  • Emoticons

#8. Kik Messenger

Kik is a cross-platform instant chat app that can do much of the same things as similar apps in its category like one-to-one or group texting.

Unlike a lot of its competitors, Kik doesn’t require a phone number but lets you set up an account with your email address.

Kik allows you to send and receive messages from other Kik users and simulates real text messaging but uses your Wi-Fi connection instead. This is especially great if you are on a plan with limited texting credits, just use your data or find a Wi-Fi area and you’re texting is free.

What we like

  • Read receipt which tells you if the message you sent was read by the recipient
  • A solid alternative to traditional text messaging with a few more added features
  • Over 300 million users so it’s likely you’ll have contacts who use it
  • Live typing feature which tells you when a person is replying to your text

What we don’t like

  • Can’t send texts if you’re not in a Wi-Fi area

Some of Kik’s features

  • Video chat
  • Notifications
  • Live typing
  • Automatic friend add
  • Group chat
  • Multimedia messaging
  • Chat customization

#9. Tango

Another well-known name inside the highly competitive instant messenger space comes Tango. It doesn’t try to master and go deep with one feature like Instagram did with photo sharing or what Snapchat did with disappearing messages.

Tango is arguably one of the most popular ‘all-in-one’ social chat apps on the market and rightly so, it comes packed a good number of features like voice and video group chat, messaging, sharing multimedia, playing games, sending music to friends to name only a few of its core features.

What we like

  • It’s a cross-platform chat app which means you or your friends can use it without a smartphone, they can be on a PC, MAC, iOS, and Android.
  • Nice clean interface

What we don’t like

  • Public by default – this means that when you install this chat app on your device other Tango users can see you. So you’ll need to go into your profile and switch it to private, especially if you have kids who have this app.
  • If you have Location Services turned off then you will keep getting an annoying pop-up asking if Tango can use your current location.

Some of Tango’s Features

  • Tango Out which allows calls to landline numbers in the US, Canada, Mexico, and India.
  • Group video chat
  • Games
  • Social networking
  • Multimedia sharing (photos, images, videos, music etc.)
  • Cross-platform capable
  • Stickers and face masks

#10. Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger is one of the most popular instant chat apps with over 1.3 billion users –that’s a lot.

What we like

  • Easy to use interface
  • The video quality is good especially on mobile
  • You can video call computers from your mobile or vice versa
  • Smooth calling experience overall – we didn’t experience many picture freezes, stuttering, extended lag issues or any call dropouts.

What we don’t like

  • It’s controlled by Facebook. Privacy issues have been raised in the past and to be fair Facebook was, and still is about monitoring its user behaviour and data collection.

Some of Facebook Messenger’s Features

  • Share your location
  • Share photos and videos
  • Group chat
  • Video calls
  • Send voice messages
  • Send money (US, UK, and France only)
  • Connect with businesses to make reservations etc.
  • Play games with friends

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#11. Google Hangouts

Google is known for keeping things simple and Hangouts seems to follow that tradition. It’s simple in design and fairly intuitive if you’ve never used it before it doesn’t take you long to figure how to send messages or start a video call. For simple chatting, it’s a great option with the only downside being that it can lag especially in group video situations so you and your team will need a reliable and strong internet connection.

What we like

  • The ability to call landlines
  • SMS messaging

What we don’t like

  • Google hangouts can be laggy so needs a strong internet connection to run well.
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Some of the Google Hangouts’ features

  • Group video calling
  • Call phone numbers anywhere in the world
  • SMS messaging
  • Voicemail integration
  • Send messages, photos, emoji, stickers and animated Gifs
  • Screen sharing – great for presenting an idea or when team members are working on the same project together
  • Send messages from your computer or your smartphone

#12. Group FaceTime

Apple’s Group FaceTime for iPhone and iPad supports up to 32 people on a single call and offers a very smooth and intuitive experience.

It offers Animojis, text and other cool designs which you can access using the little star on the left-hand side.

Group FaceTime still works for older versions of the iPhone but you won’t get access to the same special effects while on the call.

What we like

  • Runs really well without much lag. The more people who jump on the call the more demanding of resources the app will become so if you have an older iPhone you may experience your phone heating up.
  • Takes a little bit to get your bearings but everything seems to work seamlessly once you’re up to speed.

What we don’t like

  • Security issues (Eavesdrop bug) – as of January 2019 iPhone disabled GFT because users could initiate a FaceTime call and start listening in on the other person’s conversation with them answering the call.

Some of FaceTime’s Features

  • Active speaker detection – highlights people who are currently talking
  • Ring-less notification – lets you join a call without disruption the group
  • iMessage integration – initiate Group FaceTime right inside iMessage
  • Data encryption – keeps all of your information secure.

#13. Snapchat

Snapchat is really about capturing moments in real-time and it does this very well. Instead of sending away a text message about someone doing something, just whip out your phone and take a snap it says so much more than a text message could.

This visual approach has made it a valuable marketing tool for businesses to send visual promotions to their customers or for influencers to grow their audiences and personal brand.

What we like

  • Opens right into camera mode so you can take photos or videos instantly
  • Adding loads of lenses and filters to photos
  • The ability to build stories for people to follow along

What we dislike

  • The new interface is a little confusing and hides a lot of the stories from friends, family and, customers.

Some of Snapchat’s features

  • 3D Bitmojis
  • Lenses and stickers
  • Live messaging and chat with friends
  • Video chat
  • Location sharing
  • Snap map allows you to see where your friends are hanging out
  • Storage cloud that saves all of your favorite snaps
  • See interesting information about your various friendships including how long you’ve been friends, your astrological compatibility and more

#14. Skype

Skype has been around for a long time and it was the first video chatting software that I used to make calls with. One of the best things about Skype is that it’s cross-platform so you can begin a conversation on your computer and finish it on your mobile. Not only that but for a small fee you can use it to call landlines and mobile phones.

What we like

  • Available on all platforms PC, Mac, iOS, and Android
  • File-sharing this allows you to share spreadsheets and other information while on a live call
  • Group video calling
  • Screen sharing
  • Easy to use interface

What we don’t like

  • Even if you and the recipient have a good internet connection it still seems to stutter and pause a lot
  • Disconnections – these don’t happen often but they happen enough to mention it in this review
  • It feels “heavy” as in it feels like it is using up a lot of resources while it’s running on your computer.

Some of Skypes features

  • Video calls
  • Chat and send messages to your friends and other contacts
  • Voice calls to landlines and mobiles (this is a paid option)
  • SMS Connect allows you to read and reply to your mobile phone texts
  • Send photos, videos, images, and documents

#15. Viber Messenger

Viber is one of the most popular instant chat apps on the market but will likely always live inside the shadow of Skype and WhatsApp. That said, Viber (Rakuten) is not a small player in fact according to Statistica Viber Messenger has more than 1 billion registered users globally in 193 countries so the chances of people you know using this app are going to pretty good.

What we like

  • Viber Out feature that allows you to make calls to mobile and landline phones
  • End-to-end data encryption
  • Viber has a global user base of more than 1 billion users as of 2018

What we dislike

  • The call quality isn’t as good as other chat apps (Skype, FaceTime etc.) and it does seem to be a little lag so you find yourself interrupting the other person during the conversation but this didn’t always happen.
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Some of Viber’s features

  • Cross-platform – sync with your PC or Mac and see and reply to all of your conversations (calls and messages)
  • Free voice and video calls (app-to-app)
  • Viber Out which allows you to make cheap calls to landlines and mobiles
  • Share images, photos, stickers etc.
  • End-to-end encryption to keep your conversations private
  • Self-destructing messages
  • Location sharing

#16. Nimbuzz

Nimbuzz messenger was recently acquired by Mara Social Media group and has over 200 million registered users. It packs a lot of the same features that you would already be familiar with like voice calls, conference calls, messaging, chat rooms etc. this is all packaged up inside a clean nice looking app.

What we like

  • Nice and clean interface
  • Not bloated with unnecessary features
  • NimbuzzOut allows you to make cheap international phone calls also allows you to record phone calls

What we didn’t like

  • Video calls can only be made to iPhone and PC

Some of Nimbuzz’s Features

  • Free app-to-app voice calls
  • Free messaging
  • Group chat
  • Cheap international calls to landlines and mobile (this is a paid option)
  • Chat rooms
  • File sharing
  • Customization

#17. Voxer Walkie Talkie Messenger

I remember back in 2005 while working for Vodafone there was a mobile phone we had featured push-to-talk technology (i.e. works like a walkie talkie), I think it was Motorola and it sold really well until the new 3G video calling phones hit the market and Voxer re-introduces Push-To-Talk again…but better.

One of the things that I didn’t expect when using this app was how useful it would be for work. With Voxer the team can send me voice messages and I can block out some time to answer them including sending media it’s been a nice addition for our team.

What we like

  • Message recall – ever said something you wish you hadn’t? Voxer allows you to recall that voice message like it never happened.
  • Unlimited message storage (but only in the Pro version)
  • Have conversations at your own convenience
  • Better than sending texts, just send a voice message to clarify things

What we don’t like

  • People have reported bugs in relation to sending messages (it says it’s sent even though it hasn’t) we didn’t experience any of this, however.

Some of Voxer’s features

  • Live audio – talk with people in real-time using push-to-talk (PTT) technology (walkie talkie)
  • Delayed playback allows you to listen to messages when you’re ready to hear them
  • Private chats with end-to-end encrypted messages
  • Group chats – create messaging groups of up to 500 people
  • Voxer for the web – listen to your voice messages from your computer
  • File sharing (images, photos, videos etc.)
  • Unlimited message storage (Pro version only)
  • Hands-free walkie talkie
  • Message recall – retract and delete messages you had second thoughts about

Duo is the highest quality1 video calling app. It’s free, simple and works on Android phones, iPhones, tablets, computers, and smart displays, like the Google Nest Hub Max.

Getting started

See who’s already available to connect on Duo or invite a friend to join.
Tap into a contact to leave a note, video or voice message.
Create a group of 32 participants. Then, tap the group name to easily start a group video call.
Your calls and messages stay private and can only be seen by you and the person you're talking with.

Be part of bedtime

Tuck them in with their favorite stories over one-to-one video calls with the highest quality1, so you don't miss a precious moment. Learn more about Nest.

Get the group together

Keep the fun times rolling with your weekly game nights over group calling. Available for 32 friends at a time and works on Android phones, iPhones, iPads and tablets. You can also join a group call with just a link.

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More fun with the
entire family

Google Duo’s new Family mode2 lets you doodle on video calls for everyone to see and surprise loved ones with fun masks and effects. Family mode also helps avoid accidental hang-ups and mutes by hiding those buttons while you play together.

Send a little love
their way

Brighten up someone’s day by sending a note, voice or video message with fun effects. Let them know you’re thinking of them, even when they’re far away or can’t pick up.

Make video calls
more fun

From putting on a pair of virtual heart glasses to channeling your inner dinosaur, new AR effects let you express yourself. These fun new effects change based on your facial expressions and move with you around the screen.

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Capture special moments

Take a photo of your video call to capture any moment, and share it automatically with everyone on the call.

Keep calls private with end-to-end encryption

Whether it's one-to-one calls, group calls or video messages, your conversations on Duo will always stay private with end-to-end encryption. Learn more.

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Try Google Duo

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Download Google Duo for free, simple, high quality video calling on iOS and Android.
1Based on Signals Research Group technical study comparing video degradation time over 3G, LTE, and Wi-Fi.
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