The 6 Best Walkie Talkie Apps of 2019

Missing good old two-way radios? Make your phone a walkie talkie instead!

A red walkie talkie

leket / Getty Images

With cell phones keeping communication literally at our fingertips, constantly, it seems that walkie-talkies are only for those in remote areas now. But what if you want to have "push to talk" (PTT) capability to catch someone quickly? Or what if you want to join a group conversation centered around your geographical area or a topic of interest? You can do that, with the right walkie talkie app. Here are the 6 best walkie talkie apps of 2019 to help you connect with friends and strangers across the globe.

01
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Zello: Push To Talk Privately or Across the Globe

Screenshots of Zello's walkie talkie app.

Zello

What We Like

  • Live open group communication


  • Public conversations on popular topics as well as geographical areas (such as hurricane areas)


  • Compatible with Apple Watch and Android wearables


  • Able to set status to "offline"


What We Don't Like

  • It does allow in-app purchases, so if you're letting kids use it be aware


  • The professional version offers higher security, for a monthly fee


Zello carries over 4-star ratings in both the Android and iOS app stores with tens of thousands of users. The app offers users the best of both worlds, enabling you to communicate privately with people you know and also to join channels that may interest you. Zello features real-time streaming with high-quality audio, including PTT, and works over Wi-Fi, 2G, 3G, or 4G mobile data.

02
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Two Way: The Quickest Way to Make Your Own Channel

Two Way screen shots walkie talkie app

 Two Way

What We Like

  • A quick setup without having to make an account or profile


  • Runs in the background with minimal battery usage


  • No personal information entered or collected


What We Don't Like

  • All channels are public, so anyone could join your channel if they know the number or stumble on it by accident


  • Offers in-app purchase, so be aware if you're having kids use the app to communicate


Two Way is an app that will let any number of users join a channel and chat instantly, no signup or personal information required. All you do is choose a channel number and share that number with your friends so they can join in the conversation. It's the most similar app to a two-way radio, only requiring everyone to be tuned in on the same station to chat. 

03
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Marco Polo: Walkie Talkie With Video

Marco Polo screen shots walkie talkie app

 Marco Polo

What We Like

  • App is totally free and does not have any in-app purchases, which makes it great for kids to use


  • Ability to see who has seen your message and who is watching live


  • Messages aren't deleted


  • Feature allows users to send a text message if they aren't able to record audio


What We Don't Like

  • Video streaming requires higher speed service, so the app works best on WiFi or 4G mobile data


  • Higher battery usage with video content


Marco Polo is quickly becoming one of the most popular walkie talkie apps. With Face-to-Face messaging, but in walkie talkie style, users can communicate with individual contacts or create group conversations. The app also includes fun features like voice and video filters, and instant emoji reactions when someone is watching live. 

04
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Apple Watch Walkie-Talkie: Catch Your (Apple Watch-Using) Contacts Instantly

Apple Watch walkie talkie feature screenshot

 Apple

What We Like

  • The interface on the Apple Watch is very clean and easy to use for quick communication


  • Doesn't require you to find your phone to send or listen to messages


  • Can turn the app on or off, and the app automatically goes to "unavailable" if you are in Theater Mode or Do Not Disturb on your watch


What We Don't Like

  • Only available for Apple Watch Series 1 and later, you must be running WatchOS 5


  • Not available in all countries or regions


Apple has Walkie-Talkie, an app exclusively for Apple Watch users. Using the app requires you to be set up for FaceTime, able to make and receive FaceTime audio calls. 

Essentially, the app allows you to use your watch to send a voice note to your contact who then hears your message on their watch instantly. This app is only for contacts, not public or group conversations. 

Downloads with iOS with update

05
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Voxer: Live Or Recorded Audio Combined With Multimedia

Voxer screen shots walkie talkie app

Voxer 

What We Like

  • Secure encrypted content


  • Ability to share multimedia elements with a group in context of your chat


  • Messages are saved for future reference


What We Don't Like

  •  In-app purchases to upgrade to "pro" version


  • Only 30-day storage of messages for the free version


  • Additional features like message recall and removing people from groups are only available on the "pro" version


Voxer allows users to communicate with live audio, like a walkie talkie, but all messages are saved so that you can listen and respond later. Voxer features end-to-end encryption, so if security is a concern for you then this is a great option for you. There are additional sharing options as well, including photos, locations, or GIFs. 

06
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FireChat: Connecting Without WiFi or Cellular Service

FireChat screen shots walkie talkie app

 FireChat

What We Like

  • Ability to communicate even without data or WiFi


  • Private messages are encrypted


  • Public messages to communicate with those around you at large events


  • Private group messages


What We Don't Like

  • FireChat requires WiFi to be enabled, even if it's "unavailable", which could lead to accidental charges on cruises or other resorts


  • Public chats are not moderated, so users may encounter content that is inappropriate or undesired   


FireChat offers the ability to connect with anyone using the app nearby, even without cellular service or WiFi. This means you can use it on airplanes, cruises, and other places where network coverage is unavailable. FireChat uses a mesh network via Bluetooth and peer-to-peer WiFi to transmit messages and pictures offline between devices when they are within 200 feet of each other. This network grows stronger when more users are participating.