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The Best Mobile Communications Apps for Messaging and Video Chats

Communication apps can do much more than just help you chat.

Apps in this Guide

A communications app should help you chat with others via text messaging, voice, or video. And if you are concerned about your privacy, you can find communications services that are encrypted endmore

A communications app should help you chat with others via text messaging, voice, or video. And if you are concerned about your privacy, you can find communications services that are encrypted end to end.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my communications apps coordinate with each other?
Email apps like Gmail can use your calendar to track events. Going a step further, Google's Inbox will bundle emails related to upcoming events together, grouping emails about flight, hotel, restaurant, and car rental reservations. Nearly all communication apps sync across platforms, keeping the state of your inbox or messaging current across mobile and desktop versions of the app.
How about voice and video calling?
Many of the popular messaging apps let you make free worldwide voice and video calls to other users. And many let you purchase a plan to call mobile numbers and landlines. You can find dedicated calling apps, from Skype to Google Voice, that offer excellent call quality and even voice-mail services.
Can an app handle text, images, and other media?
If you are looking for an email or messaging app, you obviously want something that handles text. But most also let you include emoji, GIFs, photos, and video to help express yourself. And most messaging apps let you capture images from within the app so you don't have to exit the app to grab a photo or video to share.
How do I keep my communications private?
If you are concerned about keeping communications private (and if you are not, why not?), look for a messaging app that encrypts messages. When applied end to end, encryption allows just the sender and receiver to view the message. For email, look for one that uses SSL, a secure communications protocol that prevents eavesdropping on email messages sent between sender and receiver. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Signal, among others, also let you encrypt instant messages.
What about my circle of friends?
Most of the good messaging and voice- and video-calling apps offer a similar set of features. Often, to get the most from them, everyone you communicate with needs to have the same app. Skype calls, for example, are free around the world, as long as you are calling another person on Skype. Signal encrypts messages end to end, as long as the other person is on Signal too.

Best mobile communication apps

Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger

Who doesn't use Messenger? It offers just about everything you'd want in a messaging app.

Signal Private Messenger

Signal Private Messenger

If you are concerned about privacy, the free Signal app lets you hold end-to-end encrypted text, voice, and video chats on mobile phones.

Skype

Skype

Effortlessly make free worldwide calls and chat with friends with Skype.