10 Popular and Free Instant Messaging Apps

Use these apps if you're tired of paying for text message fees

Text messaging is great and all, but why pay for something when you can get almost the exact same experience (or better) with a free mobile web messaging app?

The number of SMS text messages we send each day is declining slightly each year, suggesting that mobile instant messaging apps are taking its place. Now that we have greater access to WiFi and share more about our lives through photos, videos, GIFs, emojis and more, traditional text messaging seems to be on its way out as mobile web messaging apps attract more users.

Here are some of the most popular mobile instant messaging apps that people are turning to as a replacement or additional service to SMS texting.

01
of 10
Facebook Messenger
Photo © Hoch Zwei / Getty Images

Since most people can say that they have a Facebook account, getting in touch with them via Facebook is often the easiest option. And to make things even more convenient, you don't even necessarily need to have a Facebook account to use the Messenger app. Easily start chatting with a friend or a group of friends using multimedia-rich content or instantly call them up on mobile from within the conversation.

Compatibility:

  • iOS
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Desktop web
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02
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WhatsApp
Photo © Iain Masterton / Getty Images

WhatsApp is another popular instant messaging service that allows users to chat back and forth with individuals and in groups. Acquired by Facebook for $19 million in February 2014, the app lets anyone send unlimited text, photo, audio and video messages to their friends freely and securely. Free video calls can also be made for face-to-face conversations.

Compatibility:

  • iOS
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Blackberry
  • Nokia
  • Mac
  • Windows PC

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03
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WeChat
Screenshot of WeChat.com

WeChat promises free "crystal clear voice and video calls" along with individual and group instant messaging. It offers multimedia messaging, group chat and calls, sticker galleries, your own moments photo stream and so much more. ​The app's unique and convenient walkie-talkie mode also lets you talk to up to 500 other friends with integrated real-time location sharing and up to nine people in video group calls.

Compatibility:

  • iOS
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Windows PC
  • Mac
  • Desktop web
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04
of 10
Telegram
Photo © Carl Court / Getty Images

Telegram is becoming more of a popular choice for those who want to connect from some of the most remote locations and be ensured that their data and privacy is kept super secure. You can chat with up to a thousand members in a group, send documents, store your media in the cloud and so much more. According to its website, Telegram messages are encrypted and also self-destruct (similar to Snapchat) according to a timer you can set up. It's known as an ideal alternative if speed and simplicity are what you're looking for.

Compatibility:

  • iOS
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Windows PC
  • Mac
  • Linux
  • Desktop web
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05
of 10
Line
Photo © Tomohiro Ohsumi / Getty Images

LINE was once considered WhatsApp's biggest competitor, offering all the various features needed for instant messaging. You can send unlimited text, images, video and audio messages—with options for making voice and video calls as well. LINE also has its very own built-in social networking feature that allows its users to post their day-to-day activities on their timeline and comment on friends' activities.

Compatibility:

  • iOS
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Windows PC
  • Mac
  • Google Chrome
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06
of 10
Viber
Photo © NurPhoto / Getty Images

Viber is another popular messaging app that rivals many of the other ones listed above, letting you send free unlimited text and photo messages to your friends all around the world. HD video calls can be made for free as well, and groups can have up to 250 participants. With Viber, you can add fun stickers to your messages, hide chats you don't want to be visible and even use the "damage control" feature instantly delete messages you regret sending.

Compatibility:

  • iOS
  • Android
  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux
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Google Hangouts
Screenshot of Google.com

Google may be known for its search engine and Gmail service, but it's got one of the simplest and most robust instant messaging apps too. With Google Hangouts, you can chat instantly either from your desktop or via your mobile device to send multimedia-rich messages. You can also hold video calls with individuals or groups of up to 100 people.

Compatibility:

  • iOS
  • Android
  • Google Chrome
  • Desktop web
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08
of 10
Kik
Screenshot of Kik.com

Kik is another very popular free instant messaging app that lets you use a username to chat with others. Before Instagram had a private messaging feature of its own, most of its users actually included their Kik usernames in their bios as a way to get in touch. It's still a popular app today that offers convenient, multimedia-rich messaging for one-on-one and group conversations. You can even see when another user is typing back to you in real-time.

Compatibility:

  • iOS
  • Android
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09
of 10
Snapchat on smartphone
Twinsterphoto / Shutterstock.com

Snapchat is a free app that lets you send a self-destructing photo or video message. Optional text-based captions, filters, face lenses, geotags, emojis and more can also be placed over your photo or video messages to make them more creative. After the recipient has opened the message and viewed it, it's automatically be deleted. Snapchat also offers a feature to post longer messages that last 24 hours, called Snapchat stories.

Compatibility:

  • iOS
  • Android
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instagram login screen
picjumbo

Most people use Instagram to share photos and videos while on the go, but with the introduction of Instagram Direct, users now have an option to private message individual followers or groups text messages or optional photo/video messages taken directly through the app that automatically disappear after they're viewed (similar to Snapchat). You can also view who has opened, liked, or commented on your Instagram Direct message in real-time.

Compatibility:

  • iOS
  • Android
More »