Comparison of instant messaging clients

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The current[when?] landscape for instant messaging involves cross-platform instant messaging clients that can handle one or multiple protocols, so that internet users can communicate with multiple users at the same time.[1] The following tables compare general and technical information for a number of instant messaging clients. See the individual products' articles for further information. External links may lead to extensions that add a feature to a client.

General information[edit]

Client Publisher First public release Type Latest stable version License
Adium Adam Iser, Evan Schoenberg September 2001; 17 years ago (2001-09) Multi-protocol 1.5.10.4 (April 27, 2017; 2 years ago (2017-04-27)) [±] GPLv2
aMSN The aMSN team May 2002; 17 years ago (2002-05) Single-protocol 0.98.4 GPL
AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) AOL May 1997; 22 years ago (1997-05) Single-protocol 8.0.8.1 (April 6, 2015; 4 years ago (2015-04-06)) [±] Discontinued (was freeware)
Ayttm Colin Leroy and Philip Tellis April 2003; 16 years ago (2003-04) Multi-protocol
  • Linux: 0.6.3 (10 Jul 2010)
  • Windows: 0.4.6-17
GPL
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) BlackBerry Limited 2006; 13 years ago (2006) Single-protocol 10.5.5.38 (BlackBerry 10) (31 October 2014; 4 years ago (2014-10-31)) [±]

8.5.1.8 (BlackBerry) (3 August 2014; 5 years ago (2014-08-03)) [±]

2.5.0.36 (Android) (10 November 2014; 4 years ago (2014-11-10)) [±]

2.5.0.26 (iOS) (31 October 2014; 4 years ago (2014-10-31)) [±]

Discontinued (was freeware)
BitlBee Wilmer van der Gaast August 9, 2002; 17 years ago (2002-08-09) Multi-protocol IRC gateway 3.6 (7 February 2019; 6 months ago (2019-02-07)[2]) [±] GPL
Bombus Eugene Stahov January 5, 2005; 14 years ago (2005-01-05) Single-protocol v0.6 (2008; 11 years ago (2008)) GPL
Centericq Konstantin Klyagin 1999; 20 years ago (1999) Multi-protocol 4.21.0 (September 2, 2005; 13 years ago (2005-09-02)) [±] GPL
Conversations Daniel Gultsch January 24, 2014; 5 years ago (2014-01-24) Single-protocol 2.3.1 (October 5, 2018; 10 months ago (2018-10-05)) GPLv3
Coccinella Mats Bengtsson December 1, 1999; 19 years ago (1999-12-01) Single-protocol 0.96.16 (December 1, 2009; 9 years ago (2009-12-01)) GPLv3
Discord Discord Inc. March 6, 2015; 4 years ago (2015-03-06) Single-protocol 9.2.2019; (July 24, 2019; 23 days ago (2019-07-24)) Proprietary Freeware
eBuddy Paulo Taylor March 9, 2003; 16 years ago (2003-03-09) Multi-protocol 2011; 8 years ago (2011) Proprietary Freeware
emesene Luis Mariano Guerra May 24, 2006; 13 years ago (2006-05-24) Multi-protocol 2.12.5 GPL
Empathy The GNOME Project May 2007; 12 years ago (2007-05) Multi-protocol 3.12.12[3] (May 13, 2016; 3 years ago (2016-05-13)) [±] GPL
Facebook Messenger Facebook, Inc. August 9, 2011; 8 years ago (2011-08-09) Single-protocol Proprietary Freeware
FaceTime Apple Inc.
  • iOS: June 24, 2010; 9 years ago (2010-06-24)
  • macOS: February 24, 2011; 8 years ago (2011-02-24)
Single-protocol
  • iOS: 10.3.3 (stable), July 19, 2017; 2 years ago (2017-07-19)
  • macOS: 4.0 (3080), July 24, 2017; 2 years ago (2017-07-24)
Part of macOS or iOS
Fire Eric Peyton April 1, 1999; 20 years ago (1999-04-01) Multi-protocol 1.5.6 (February 16, 2006) [±] Discontinued (was Free)
Firetalk Multitude Communications 1997–2001 voice/music chat program GPL
Flock Riva FZC September 2014; 4 years ago (2014-09) Single-protocol
  • iOS: v2.35.0 June 22, 2019; 55 days ago (2019-06-22)[4]
  • Android: v4.6 May 23, 2019; 2 months ago (2019-05-23)[5]
  • macOS: v2.2.270 June 20, 2019; 57 days ago (2019-06-20)[6]
  • Windows/Linux/Chrome Extension/Web: v2.2.268 June 18, 2019; 59 days ago (2019-06-18)[7]
Proprietary Freemium
Gadu-Gadu Łukasz Foltyn / GG Network S.A. August 15, 2000; 19 years ago (2000-08-15) Single-protocol
  • Modern UI: 2.0.0.179
  • Desktop: 12.0.49.11103 (December 13, 2013; 5 years ago (2013-12-13))
Proprietary Freeware
Gajim Yann Le Boulanger May 21, 2004; 15 years ago (2004-05-21) Single-protocol 1.1.3 (April 24, 2019; 3 months ago (2019-04-24)[8]) [±] GPL
Google Allo Google, Inc. September 21, 2016; 2 years ago (2016-09-21) Single-protocol
Android27.0.326_RC03 / December 7, 2018; 8 months ago (2018-12-07)[9]
iOS27.0 / December 5, 2018; 8 months ago (2018-12-05)[10]
Discontinued (was freeware)
Google Hangouts Google, Inc. May 15, 2013; 6 years ago (2013-05-15) Single-protocol
Android31.0.246194187 / May 2, 2019; 3 months ago (2019-05-02)[11]
Android (Dialer)0.1.100944346 / September 1, 2015; 3 years ago (2015-09-01)[12]
Android (Meet)29.5.253144432 / June 21, 2019; 56 days ago (2019-06-21)[13]
Android Wear17.0.145656208 / February 1, 2017; 2 years ago (2017-02-01)[14]
iOS26.0.0 / April 2, 2019; 4 months ago (2019-04-02)[15]
Proprietary Freeware
Hookt Hookt, Inc. September 14, 2011; 7 years ago (2011-09-14) Single-protocol
  • iOS: 2.20.02 January 31, 2019; 6 months ago (2019-01-31)[16]
  • Android: 2.15.10 February 5, 2019; 6 months ago (2019-02-05)[17]
Proprietary Freeware
Hike Bharti SoftBank December 12, 2012; 6 years ago (2012-12-12) Single-protocol
  • 6.2.24 (Android, July 13, 2019; 34 days ago (2019-07-13))[18]
  • 6.2.21(iOS, June 20, 2019; 57 days ago (2019-06-20))[19]
  • 2.6.2.0 (Windows Phone, July 23, 2014; 5 years ago (2014-07-23))[20]
  • 2.6.2 (BlackBerry, May 7, 2014; 5 years ago (2014-05-07))[21]
  • 2.6.0 (Symbian)
Proprietary Freeware
IBM Lotus Sametime IBM, Ubique 1998; 21 years ago (1998) Multi-protocol — proprietary T.120, SIP, XMPP 9.0.0 (September 20, 2013; 5 years ago (2013-09-20)) Proprietary commercial software
iChat Apple Inc. August 2002; 17 years ago (2002-08) Multi-protocol 6.0.1 (1002) (February 1, 2012; 7 years ago (2012-02-01)) Discontinued (replaced with Messages)
ICQ Mail.Ru November 1996; 22 years ago (1996-11) Single-protocol
iOS7.9.1 / July 22, 2019; 25 days ago (2019-07-22)[22]
Android7.5.2 / June 21, 2019; 56 days ago (2019-06-21)[23]
Apache license
IMVU Will Harvey July 2001; 18 years ago (2001-07) Multiple-protocol 3.0 Proprietary Freemium
Instantbird Florian Quèze 2007; 12 years ago (2007) Multi-protocol 1.5 (December 17, 2013; 5 years ago (2013-12-17)) [±] Discontinued (was Free)
Jitsi Emil Ivov 2003; 16 years ago (2003) Multi-protocol 2.10 (build.5550) (February 5, 2017; 2 years ago (2017-02-05)) [±] LGPL
Kadu Kadu Team August 2001; 18 years ago (2001-08) Multi-protocol 4.1 (December 2, 2016; 2 years ago (2016-12-02)) GPLv2
KakaoTalk Kakao Corp. March 18, 2010; 9 years ago (2010-03-18) single-protocol
  • iOS: 8.4.2 June 20, 2019; 57 days ago (2019-06-20)[24]
  • Android: 8.4.7 July 15, 2019; 32 days ago (2019-07-15)[25]
  • Windows Phone: 2+
  • BlackBerry: 3+
  • Windows 8
Proprietary Freeware
Kik Messenger Kik Interactive October 2010; 8 years ago (2010-10) Single-protocol
  • Android: 15.14.0.21544 July 22, 2019; 25 days ago (2019-07-22)[26]
  • iOS: 15.3.0 February 12, 2019; 6 months ago (2019-02-12)[27]
Proprietary Freeware
Kopete Kopete Team March 3, 2002; 17 years ago (2002-03-03) Multi-protocol 1.7.2 (October 13, 2015; 3 years ago (2015-10-13)) [±][28] GPL
Libon Orange S.A. November 21, 2012; 6 years ago (2012-11-21)
  • Android: 4.34 July 12, 2019; 35 days ago (2019-07-12)[29]
  • iOS: 4.28 May 27, 2019; 2 months ago (2019-05-27)[30]
Proprietary Freemium
Line LINE Corporation 2011; 8 years ago (2011) Single-protocol
  • Android: 9.12.1 July 19, 2019; 28 days ago (2019-07-19)[31]
  • iOS: 9.8.0 June 2, 2019; 2 months ago (2019-06-02)[32]
  • Windows 10 Store/macOS: 5.17.2 June 21, 2019; 56 days ago (2019-06-21)[33][34]
  • Windows Phone: 2.6.0.137
  • BlackBerry: 1.8.23
  • Windows: 5.8.1706
Proprietary Freemium
MCabber Mikael Berthe June 7, 2005; 14 years ago (2005-06-07) Single-protocol 1.1.0 (June 4, 2017; 2 years ago (2017-06-04)) [±] GPL
Meetro Paul Bragiel & Samuel Stauffer 2005; 14 years ago (2005) Multi-protocol
  • Windows: 0.96 beta
  • OS X: 0.53 beta
Discontinued
Messages Apple Inc. July 25, 2012; 7 years ago (2012-07-25) Multi-protocol 8.1.3 (January 27, 2015; 4 years ago (2015-01-27)) Part of macOS and iOS
Skype for Business Microsoft 2005; 14 years ago (2005) Single-protocol 2013 (October 2, 2012; 6 years ago (2012-10-02)) Proprietary Trialware
Miranda IM Miranda IM project February 6, 2000; 19 years ago (2000-02-06) Multi-protocol 0.10.80[35] (25 April 2018; 15 months ago (2018-04-25)) [±] GPL
Mysms sms.at mobile internet services gmbh 2011; 8 years ago (2011) Single-protocol ? Proprietary Freemium
MySpaceIM MySpace May 9, 2006; 13 years ago (2006-05-09) Single-protocol 1.0.754.0 (February 7, 2008; 11 years ago (2008-02-07)) Proprietary Freeware
naim Daniel Reed October 5, 1998; 20 years ago (1998-10-05) Multi-protocol 0.11.8.3.1 (July 9, 2007; 12 years ago (2007-07-09)) GPL
Nimbuzz Evert Jaap Lugt 2006; 13 years ago (2006) Multi-protocol Android: 7.1.0
(10 March 2019; 5 months ago (2019-03-10)) [±][36]

iOS: 5.11.0
(1 February 2018; 18 months ago (2018-02-01)) [±][37]

BlackBerry OS: 4.0
(10 December 2013; 5 years ago (2013-12-10)) [±][38]

Windows Phone: 1.1.8.1
(16 April 2014; 5 years ago (2014-04-16)) [±][39]


Discontinued (was Proprietary Freeware)
Palringo Palringo Ltd 2006; 13 years ago (2006) Single-protocol
  • Windows: 2.7.9 (July 4, 2012; 7 years ago (2012-07-04))
  • Windows Mobile: 2.6.6 (March 30, 2012; 7 years ago (2012-03-30))
  • iOS: 8.5 (April 29, 2019; 3 months ago (2019-04-29))
  • Android: 8.6.1 (July 18, 2019; 29 days ago (2019-07-18))
  • OS X: 4.6.4 (July 24, 2012; 7 years ago (2012-07-24))
  • Windows Phone: 0.11.0.0 (February 14, 2012; 7 years ago (2012-02-14))
Proprietary Freemium
Paltalk AVM Software, Inc June 1998; 21 years ago (1998-06) Multi-protocol
  • iOS: 7.6.2 (May 17, 2019; 2 months ago (2019-05-17))[40]
  • Android: 7.7.7675 (July 10, 2019; 37 days ago (2019-07-10))[41]
Proprietary Freeware
Pidgin Mark Spencer November 1998; 20 years ago (1998-11) Multi-protocol 2.13.0 (March 8, 2018; 17 months ago (2018-03-08)[42]) [±] GPL
Psi Psi and Psi+ developers 2001; 18 years ago (2001) Single-protocol 1.4 (November 2, 2018; 9 months ago (2018-11-02)) [±] GPL
Quiet Internet Pager (QIP) Ilgam Zyulkorneev 2004; 15 years ago (2004) Multi-protocol QIP 2012 version 4.0 (build 8866) (27 November 2012; 6 years ago (2012-11-27)) [±] Proprietary Freeware
QuteCom QuteCom 2004; 15 years ago (2004) Multi-protocol 2.2.1 (22 June 2011; 8 years ago (2011-06-22)[43]) [±] GPL
Ricochet Invisible.im June 2014; 5 years ago (2014-06) Single-protocol 1.1.4 (November 8, 2016; 2 years ago (2016-11-08)[44]) [±] BSD
Jami Savoir-faire Linux Inc. 2014; 5 years ago (2014) Single-protocol
iOS2.18 / August 1, 2019; 15 days ago (2019-08-01)[45]
Android20190728 / July 28, 2019; 19 days ago (2019-07-28)[46]
Windows201908051805 / August 5, 2019; 11 days ago (2019-08-05) [47]
macOS1.38 / July 30, 2019; 17 days ago (2019-07-30)[48]
GPLv3
RingID Ring Inc. 2015; 4 years ago (2015) Multi-protocol
  • 5.2.21 (Android, July 24, 2019; 23 days ago (2019-07-24))[49]
  • 4.1.1.4 (Windows Phone, March 9, 2016; 3 years ago (2016-03-09))[50]
  • 5.0.6 (iOS, June 19, 2019; 58 days ago (2019-06-19))[51]
Proprietary Freeware
Riot.im New Vector Limited July 2016; 3 years ago (2016-07) Single-protocol
Android0.9.3 / July 25, 2019; 22 days ago (2019-07-25)[52]
iOS0.9.1 / July 18, 2019; 29 days ago (2019-07-18)[53]
Web1.3.2 / August 5, 2019; 11 days ago (2019-08-05)[54]
Apache License
Sicher SHAPE GmbH June 2014; 5 years ago (2014-06) Single-protocol 1.1 {Proprietary Freeware
Signal Signal Messenger July 2014; 5 years ago (2014-07) Single-protocol
Android4.45.2 / August 9, 2019; 7 days ago (2019-08-09) [55]
iOS2.41.1 / August 15, 2019; 1 day ago (2019-08-15) [56]
Desktop1.26.1 / August 14, 2019; 2 days ago (2019-08-14) [57]
GPLv3
Skype Skype Technologies, a subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation 2003; 16 years ago (2003) Single-protocol
Windows, UWP14.51.72.0 / 12 August 2019; 4 days ago (2019-08-12)[58]
Windows, desktop8.51.0.72 / 12 August 2019; 4 days ago (2019-08-12)[58]
macOS8.51.0.72 / 12 August 2019; 4 days ago (2019-08-12)[58]
Linux8.51.0.72 / 12 August 2019; 4 days ago (2019-08-12)[58]
Android8.51.0.80 / 12 August 2019; 4 days ago (2019-08-12)[59]
iOS8.51.0.72 / 12 August 2019; 4 days ago (2019-08-12)[60] (iPhone), [61] (iPad)
Proprietary Freemium adware
Spark (XMPP client) Ignite Realtime September 2006; 12 years ago (2006-09) Single-protocol 2.7.7 (April 24, 2016; 3 years ago (2016-04-24)) [±] Apache License
Surespot Surespot LLC 2013; 6 years ago (2013) Single-protocol
Android81 / April 27, 2019; 3 months ago (2019-04-27)[62]
iOS21 / November 29, 2018; 8 months ago (2018-11-29)[63]
GPLv3
Telegram Telegram Messenger LLP 2013; 6 years ago (2013) Single-protocol
Android, Original5.10.0 / 10 August 2019; 6 days ago (2019-08-10)[64]
Android Wear OS1.3.2 / 22 January 2019; 6 months ago (2019-01-22)[65]
Android, Telegram X0.21.9.1172 / 6 June 2019; 2 months ago (2019-06-06)[66]
iOS5.10.0 / 9 August 2019; 7 days ago (2019-08-09)[67]
Windows, macOS, Linux1.8.1 / 9 August 2019; 7 days ago (2019-08-09)[68]
Windows (Microsoft Store)1.8.1 / 9 August 2019; 7 days ago (2019-08-09)[69]
macOS (Mac App Store version)5.6.1 / 12 August 2019; 4 days ago (2019-08-12)[70]
Windows Phone3.4.0 / 12 October 2018; 10 months ago (2018-10-12)[71]
GPLv2, GPLv3[72]
Tencent QQ Tencent Holdings February 1999; 20 years ago (1999-02) Single-protocol See current releases Proprietary Adware
TextSecure Open Whisper Systems May 2010; 9 years ago (2010-05) Single-protocol Discontinued (merged with RedPhone to become Signal)
Threema Threema GmbH December 2012; 6 years ago (2012-12) Single-protocol
iOS4.3.1 / July 22, 2019; 25 days ago (2019-07-22)[73]
Android4.1 / August 1, 2019; 15 days ago (2019-08-01)[74]
Windows Phone3.0.0 / May 8, 2019; 3 months ago (2019-05-08)[75]
Proprietary commercial software
Tkabber Alexey Shchepin July 3, 2002; 17 years ago (2002-07-03) Single-protocol 1.1.2 (May 10, 2015; 4 years ago (2015-05-10)) GPL
Tox Tox Foundation 2013; 6 years ago (2013) Single-protocol 0.2.10 (June 25, 2019; 52 days ago (2019-06-25))[76] GPLv3
Trillian Cerulean Studios July 1, 2000; 19 years ago (2000-07-01) Multi-protocol Windows:

6.1 (build 17) (September 4, 2018; 11 months ago (2018-09-04)) [±]

Mac OS X:
6.1 (build 1) (September 19, 2018; 10 months ago (2018-09-19)) [±]

Linux:
6.1 (build 5) (February 27, 2018; 17 months ago (2018-02-27)) [±]

Android:
6.1 (build 20) (November 26, 2018; 8 months ago (2018-11-26)) [±]

iOS:
6.1 (build 3) (March 26, 2018; 16 months ago (2018-03-26)) [±]

BlackBerry:
1.1.0.45 (October 25, 2011; 7 years ago (2011-10-25)) [±]

Web-Based:
6.2 (build 5) (March 4, 2019; 5 months ago (2019-03-04)) [±]

Server:
6.1 (build 20) (June 13, 2018; 14 months ago (2018-06-13)) [±]

Proprietary Freemium adware
Tuenti Tuenti 2006; 13 years ago (2006) Multi-protocol Proprietary
Upptalk Upptalk 2010; 9 years ago (2010) Dual-protocol iOS 2.4 (November 26, 2014; 4 years ago (2014-11-26)[77]) [±]

Android 2.0.2 (February 12, 2014; 5 years ago (2014-02-12)) [±]
Windows Phone 7.x 1.0.1.7 (September 12, 2013; 5 years ago (2013-09-12)) [±]
Windows Phone 8.x 1.0.0.4 (September 18, 2013; 5 years ago (2013-09-18)) [±]
BlackBerry OS 1.0.1 (May 31, 2013; 6 years ago (2013-05-31)) [±]
Kindle Fire 2.0 (December 19, 2013; 5 years ago (2013-12-19)[78]) [±]

Discontinued (was Proprietary Freeware)
Viber Talmon Marco, Igor Magazinnik, Sani Maroli and Ofer Smocha December 2, 2010; 8 years ago (2010-12-02) Single-protocol
Android11.2.0.5 / August 2, 2019; 14 days ago (2019-08-02)[79][80]
iOS11.2 / August 1, 2019; 15 days ago (2019-08-01)[81]
Windows11.2 / August 1, 2019; 15 days ago (2019-08-01)[82]
Proprietary Freemium
WeChat Tencent Holdings January 2011; 8 years ago (2011-01) Single-protocol
iOS7.0.4 / March 5, 2019; 5 months ago (2019-03-05)[83][84]
macOS2.3.25 / June 5, 2019; 2 months ago (2019-06-05)[85]
Android7.0.5 / July 15, 2019; 32 days ago (2019-07-15)[86]
Windows Phone 8.16.0.8 (discontinued)[87] / 2016; 3 years ago (2016)
Symbian V34.2 / February 4, 2013; 6 years ago (2013-02-04)[88]
Symbian V54.2 / January 17, 2013; 6 years ago (2013-01-17)[89]


Proprietary Freeware
WhatsApp Facebook, Inc. August 2009; 10 years ago (2009-08) Single-protocol
iOS2.19.80 / August 5, 2019; 11 days ago (2019-08-05)[90]
Android2.19.216 / August 6, 2019; 10 days ago (2019-08-06)[91]
Proprietary Freeware
Wickr Wickr Inc. June 2012; 7 years ago (2012-06) Single-protocol
Android5.28.1 / August 1, 2019; 15 days ago (2019-08-01)[92][93]
iOS5.28.3 (Pro); 5.28.2 (Me) / August 5, 2019; 11 days ago (2019-08-05)[94] [95]
Windows/MacOS/Ubuntu5.28.6
Proprietary Trialware
Windows Live Messenger Microsoft July 1999; 20 years ago (1999-07) Dual-protocol 2012 (v16.4.3508.205) (August 7, 2012; 7 years ago (2012-08-07)) [±] Discontinued (was freeware)
Wire Wire Swiss GmbH December 3, 2014; 4 years ago (2014-12-03) Single-protocol
  • iOS: 3.38 June 20, 2019; 57 days ago (2019-06-20)[96]
  • Android: 3.35.807 July 19, 2019; 28 days ago (2019-07-19)[97]
  • macOS: 3.9 April 3, 2019; 4 months ago (2019-04-03)[98]
  • Windows: 3.9.2928 April 2, 2019; 4 months ago (2019-04-02)
  • Web: 2016-04-08
GPLv3
Xabber Redsolution Inc. 2011; 8 years ago (2011) Single-protocol
  • Android: 2.6.4 July 19, 2019; 28 days ago (2019-07-19)[99]
GPLv3
Xfire Xfire Inc. 2004; 15 years ago (2004) Dual-protocol 1.155 (March 20, 2013; 6 years ago (2013-03-20)) [±] Discontinued (was freeware)
Yahoo! Messenger Yahoo! June 21, 1999; 20 years ago (1999-06-21) Dual-protocol
  • Windows: 11.5.0.228
  • OS X: 3.0.2
  • Unix: 1.0.4
Discontinued (was freeware)
Zephyr Project Athena 1987; 32 years ago (1987) Single-protocol 2.0 MIT
Client Publisher First public release Type Latest stable version License

Operating system support[edit]

The operating systems the clients can run on without emulation or compatibility layers.

Client Desktop Mobile Other
Windows macOS Unix-like Haiku Amiga Windows Phone Android BlackBerry OS iOS Symbian MeeGo Java ME WebOS Web VGCs
Adium No Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No No
BBM No No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No Yes No
AIM Yes Yes Dropped No No No Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No No
aMSN Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No Yes No No No No
Ayttm Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No
BitlBee Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No No No No No No No No No
Bombus No No No No No No No No No No No Yes No No No
Centericq Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No
climm Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No No
Coccinella Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No
Conversations No No No No No No Yes No No No No No No No No
Discord Yes Yes Partial[a] No No No Yes No Yes No No No No Yes No
eBuddy No No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No
emesene Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No
Empathy No No Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No
Facebook Messenger Yes No No No No Yes Yes No Yes No No No No Yes No
FaceTime No Included No No No No No No Included No No No No No No
Flock Yes Yes No No No No Yes No Yes No No No No Yes No
Fire No Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No No
Gadu-Gadu Yes No No No No No Yes No Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No
Gajim Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No
Google Hangouts Partial[b] Partial[b] Partial[b][a] No No No Yes No Yes No No No No Yes No
Hookt Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No
Hike No No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No
IBM Lotus Sametime Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No
ICQ Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No
IMVU Yes Yes No No No No Yes No No No No No No No No
Instantbird Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No
Jitsi Yes Yes Yes No No No Unstable Unstable No No No No No No No
KakaoTalk Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No
Kadu Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No Yes No No No No
Kik No No No No No Yes Yes No Yes No No No No No No
Kopete Yes[c][100] Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No
Line Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No
Messages No Included No No No No No No Included No No No No No No
MCabber No Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No
Skype for Business Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No No No
Miranda IM Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No No No
MySpaceIM Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No No No
naim Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No
Nimbuzz Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No
Palringo Yes Yes No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No
Paltalk Yes No No No No No Yes Yes Yes No No No No Yes No
Pidgin Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No No No No Yes No No No No
Psi Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No No No
QIP Yes No No No No Yes No No Yes Yes No No No No No
QuteCom Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No
Jami Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No No No No No No No No
RingID Yes[101] No No No No Yes Yes No Yes No No No Yes Yes No
Riot.im Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No Yes No No No No Yes No
Signal Yes[102] Yes[102] Partial[d][103] No No No Yes No Yes No No No No Dropped[103] No
Snapchat No No No No No No Yes No Yes No No No No No No
Surespot No No No No No No Yes No Yes No No No No No No
Skype Yes Yes Partial[a] No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No Yes PSP PSV XB1
SOMA No No No No No No Yes No Yes No No No No No No
Spark (XMPP client) Yes Yes[e] Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No
Telegram (standard messages) Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No[104] Yes No No No No Yes No
Telegram (secret chats) Yes Yes/No[f] Yes/No[g] No No Yes Yes No Yes No No No No No No
Tencent QQ Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Threema No No No No No Yes Yes No Yes No No No No Yes No
Tkabber Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No
Tox Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No Yes No No No No No No
Trillian Yes Yes Partial[h][a] No No No Yes Yes Yes No No No No Yes No
Tuenti No No No No No Yes Yes No Yes No No No No Yes No
Viber Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No
WeChat Yes Yes[105] No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No
WhatsApp 8+[106] Yes[106] No No No 8.1+[107] Yes Dropped[108] Yes Dropped[108] No No No Yes No
Wickr Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No Yes No No No No No No
Windows Live Messenger Yes Yes No No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes Xbox
Wire Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No Yes No No No No Yes No
Xabber No No No No No No Yes No No No No No No No No
Xfire Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No No No
Yahoo! Messenger Yes Yes No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No
Yuilop No No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No
Zephyr Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No
Client Windows OS X Unix-like Haiku Amiga Windows Phone Android BlackBerry OS iOS Symbian MeeGo Java ME WebOS Web VGCs
Desktop Mobile Other
  1. ^ a b c d The only supported desktop Unix-like platform is Linux.
  2. ^ a b c Only available as Google Chrome/Chromium plugin. No native application available.
  3. ^ May not be the final version suitable for everyday use.
  4. ^ The only supported desktop Unix-like platforms are Debian-based Linux distributions.
  5. ^ Runs under Java, no native installer for latest version
  6. ^ Secret chats supported only in native application Telegram. Cross-platform application Telegram Desktop does not support them.
  7. ^ Secret chats supported only in the third-party applications Cutegram and Telegram CLI. Cross-platform application Telegram Desktop does not support them.
  8. ^ Currently in beta testing.

Protocol support[edit]

Client Y!M AIM/ICQ[a][b][c] XMPP[d] IRC IBM Lotus Sametime Novell GroupWise Messenger Gadu-Gadu QQ Skype[a] MySpaceIM SIP Others
Adium Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Partial[e] Yes No MobileMe, NateOn, Steam IM, Telegram, Tox, Zephyr
AIM No Yes[f] No No No No No No No No No No
Ayttm Yes Partial Yes Yes No No No No No No No No
BitlBee Yes Yes Yes N/A[g] Depends[h] No Depends[h]
Centericq Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No No No No No
climm No Yes[i] Partial No No No No No No No No No
Conversations No No Yes No No No No No No No No No
eBuddy Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No Yes No No
emesene No No Yes No No No No No No No No No
Empathy Depends[h] Yes Yes Depends[h] Yes Depends[h]
Fire Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No No
Ichat Yes yes/no[116] Yes No No No No No No No No Bonjour
IMVU Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No No IMVU
Instantbird Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Netsoul
Jitsi No Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No Yes ippi, iptel.org, google talk
Kadu No No Yes No No No Yes No No No No No
KDE Telepathy Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No No No No Telegram
Kopete Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Partial[e] No No SILC, WinPopup
Messages Yes Yes[f] Yes No No No No No No No No MobileMe
Miranda IM Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes[j] Yes Yes No ?
naim No Yes No Yes No No No No No No No Lily
Nimbuzz Yes No Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? No Yes Twitter, Facebook chat, Google Talk
Palringo Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No ? ? No ?
Paltalk Yes Yes No No No No No No ? ? No ?
Pidgin Plug-in Yes[k] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Plug-in Plug-in Plug-in Plug-in[117] Bonjour, Facebook plugin, SIMPLE, Zephyr
QIP No Yes Yes Yes No No No No No Yes No MRA, XIMSS
QuteCom Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No Yes No
Jami No No No No No No No No No No Yes Ring
Spark (XMPP client) No No Yes No No No No No No No Yes[j] No
Tencent QQ No No No No No No No Yes No No No No
Tkabber No No Yes No No No No No No No No No
Trillian No[118] Yes Yes Yes[l] No Yes[l] Yes[j][l] Yes[j][l] No[119][l] Yes No LinkedIn,[l] Foursquare,[l] ASTRA, VZ[l]
Yahoo! Messenger Partial[m] Yes No No No Yes No No No No No No
Upptalk No No Yes No No No No No No No No No
Xabber No No Yes No No No No No No No No No
Y!M AIM/ICQ XMPP IRC IBM Lotus Sametime Novell GroupWise Messenger Gadu-Gadu QQ Skype MySpaceIM SIP Others
  1. ^ a b Supports messaging to a phone number (text messaging service).[1][2]
  2. ^ AOL is ending AIM access to cryptographically insecure MD5 authentication.[3]
  3. ^ AIM was discontinued December 15, 2017.[4] Archived 2017-10-06 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Commonly termed Jabber, used in Facebook, LiveJournal, Tweeter, Identi.ca, etc.
  5. ^ a b Needs running official Skype client.
  6. ^ a b Via AIM account only.
  7. ^ Bitlbee is accessed via IRC.
  8. ^ a b c d e Supported via Pidgin back-end, depends on its version
  9. ^ Via ICQ account only.
  10. ^ a b c d Available as plugin.
  11. ^ Requires Pidgin 2.12
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h Not supported in versions for Android (checked 12 November 2012 in latest version 1.2.0.11)
  13. ^ Via Yahoo! Messenger account only.

XMPP-related features[edit]

Client Transports[a] File transfer
(XEP-0096)[b]
Multi-user
chat

(XEP-0045)
Link-local
(XEP-0174)
Jingle
(XEP-0166)
OMEMO encryption
(XEP-0384)
File transfer[b] Voice calls
Video calls
Adium Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Partial
BitlBee Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Bombus[120] No Yes Yes No No No No No
ChatSecure ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes
climm No Yes No No No No No ?
Coccinella[121] Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No ?
Conversations No No Yes No Yes No No Yes
Telepathy-based[c][122] No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ?
Gajim[123] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Except Windows Yes
Jitsi No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
Kadu No Yes No No No No No ?
Kopete Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No ?
Messages No Yes Only join[d] Yes Yes No No No
MCabber[124] No No Yes No No No No No
Miranda IM Yes Yes Yes No No No No No
Monal ? Yes Yes ? ? Yes ? Yes
Nimbuzz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes ?
Pidgin[125] Yes Yes Yes Yes Partial[126] Except Windows[e] Except Windows[e] Yes
Psi Yes Yes Yes Yes No Plug-in Plug-in Plug-in
Spark (XMPP client) Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Plug-in Plug-in No
Tkabber[127] Yes Yes Yes No No No No No
Trillian No Yes Only Windows[f] Only Windows[f] No No No ?
  1. ^ Transport support means the ability to set up transports. Once transport is set up, any client can use it to manage contacts and communicate with them.
  2. ^ a b The difference between XEP-0096 (legacy) and XEP-0234 (Jingle) file transfer is that the latter works behind NAT (e.g., from home and corporate networks).
  3. ^ Both Empathy and KDE Telepathy are based on Telepathy framework and share same properties in regard of XMPP features support.
  4. ^ Multi-user chats can be joined but not started
  5. ^ a b Feature unavailable on Windows.
  6. ^ a b Feature available on Windows only.

Features[edit]

Information on what features each of clients support.

Client Toolkits or SDKs File transfer Editing sent messages Proxy server Graphical emoticons Unicode (UTF-8) Built-in games Themes, skins Plugin system Third party add-ons Scripting Message logging Voice messaging Voice mail Webcam Offline Cloud backup Remote desktop assistance Whiteboard RTL texting
Adium Cocoa Yes ? ? Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes ? ?
AIM W32/Cocoa Yes ? Yes/No[a] Yes Yes No Yes/No[a] Yes/No[a] Yes/No[a] No Yes Yes/No[a] No Yes/No[a] Yes/No[a] No No
aMSN Tcl/Tk Yes ? http, socks5, msn gateway Yes Yes Partial Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No
Ayttm GTK2 No ? http, socks4/5 Yes Yes No No Yes No Yes Yes No No Partial Partial No No
BitlBee N/A Yes ? Yes No Yes No N/A Yes No No N/A ? ? No Yes ? ?
Bombus Java ME Yes ? Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No No Yes No ?
Centericq ncurses Partial ? ? No ? No Yes Yes ? Yes Yes No No No Yes ? ?
climm line based Yes ? ? N/A Yes No Yes No No Yes Yes N/A N/A N/A Yes No ?
Coccinella Tcl/Tk Yes ? http, socks4/5 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? No Yes Yes No No Yes Yes ?
Discord Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes TTS Yes Partial No No No Plug-in[134]
eBuddy No Partial ? ? Yes Yes No No No No No Yes No No Yes Yes No ?
Empathy GTK3 Yes ? ? Yes Yes No Yes ? ? No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ?
Facebook Messenger ? Yes No ? Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes
Fire Cocoa Yes ? ? Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? ? ? ? ?
Gadu-Gadu Qt Yes ? ? Yes Yes No ? No Yes No Yes Yes ? ? Yes No ?
Gajim GTK2 Yes ? http Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No Yes Yes ? Yes Yes No Yes
Google Talk W32 Yes No ? Partial Yes No Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No Third party plugin Yes No Yes
IBM Lotus Sametime Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes available Yes Yes Yes ?
ICQ W32 Yes ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes
IMVU ? No ? ? Yes Yes Partial Yes No Partial[b] No Yes No ? No Yes ? ?
Jitsi Java Yes ? Yes Yes Yes No ? Yes ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ?
Kadu Qt Yes ? Yes Yes Yes No Partial Yes Yes Partial Yes Yes No No Yes No ?
Kopete Qt/KDE Yes ? No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes With plugin Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes
Line Line SDK ? No ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ?
Messages Cocoa Yes ? ? Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Partial[c] ?
MCabber Curses No ? ? No Yes No ? ? No ? Yes No No No Yes No ?
Miranda IM W32 Yes ? Yes, socks4/5, http(s) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Partial[c] No Partial[c] Yes Yes Yes
Palringo ? No ? ? Yes ? No Yes No No No No Yes No Partial (picture capture only) ? No ?
Paltalk N/A Yes ? ? Yes No Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes ? Yes Yes No No ?
Pidgin GTK2 Partial No Yes, http, socks4/5 Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Partial (XMPP in Linux) No Yes (XMPP in Linux) Yes Partial Yes
Psi Qt Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Partial (Linux & Unix) No Partial (Linux & Unix) Yes Yes Yes
QIP W32, VCL Yes ? Yes, http(s), socks4/4A/5 Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No Yes No ?
QuteCom Qt Yes ? ? Yes Yes No Yes No No ? ? ? ? Yes ? ? ?
Jami ? Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes ? ? ?
Riot.im ? Yes Partial ? Yes Yes ? Yes ? ? ? Yes Yes ? Yes Yes No No
Skype Qt/KDE, W32 Yes Yes Yes Yes Partial Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes/No[c][a] Yes
Surespot ? Yes ? ? Yes Yes No Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No No Yes ? ?
Tencent QQ W32 Yes ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes ?
Telegram Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes Partial Yes Only un-encrypted messages Yes Yes
Tkabber Tcl/Tk Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes No
Tox Many[d] Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Up to clients[d] Up to clients[d] Up to clients[d] Up to clients[d] Up to clients[d] Yes Yes No Yes Partial[135] No Yes
Trillian W32, Cocoa Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ? Yes
WhatsApp No Yes No No Yes Yes No No No No No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes No Yes
Wickr No Yes ? Yes No Yes No No No No No No Yes No Yes Yes No ?
Windows Live Messenger W32 Yes ? Yes, http, socks4/5, Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wire No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No[136] No Yes
Xfire W32 Yes ? ? No Yes No Yes Partial Yes No Yes Yes No No No No ?
Yahoo! Messenger W32, Cocoa, GTK Yes ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Partial Yes
Yuilop ? Yes ? No Yes ? No No No No ? Yes Yes No No Yes Partial ?
Client Toolkits or SDKs File transfer Editing sent messages Proxy server Graphical emoticons Unicode (UTF-8) Built-in games Themes, skins Plugin system Third party add-ons Scripting Message logging Voice messaging Voice mail Webcam support Offline messaging Cloud backup Remote desktop assistance Whiteboard RTL texting
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Feature only supported on Windows
  2. ^ While IMVU does not allow add-ons to extend the client, registered accounts can create new content for use inside the simulation.[clarification needed]
  3. ^ a b c d Supported with plugin
  4. ^ a b c d e f Tox is a communications protocol and a library implementing that protocol. Applications can bring features of their own.
Client Handwriting mode Dockable Multiaccount Spell check User-defined graphic emoticons Animations OAuth
Adium Yes, receive only Yes Yes Yes Partial Partial ?
AIM No Yes No No ? Partial ?
aMSN Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ?
Ayttm No No Yes Yes Yes No ?
BitlBee No N/A Yes ? ? ? ?
Centericq ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
climm N/A ? Yes ? ? ? ?
Coccinella ? Yes Yes Yes ? ? ?
Discord No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Empathy No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Facebook Messenger No Yes No No ? ? ?
Fire ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Gajim ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ?
Google Talk Yes/No[a] Yes Yes/No[b] No No Yes/No[b] No
iChat No ? Yes Yes ? ? ?
ICQ No Yes No Yes No Yes, tZer ?
IMVU ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Jitsi No No Yes Yes Yes Yes ?
Kadu No Yes Yes Yes Partial Yes, emoticons No
Kopete No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes, emoticons No
Miranda IM No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ?
MySpaceIM ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
naim No ? ? ? ? ? ?
Paltalk ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Pidgin No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes, emoticons, user icons ?
Psi No ? Yes Yes Yes Yes/No[c] ?
QIP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes, emoticons ?
QuteCom ? ? Yes ? ? ? ?
Jami ? ? Yes ? ? ? ?
Riot.im No ? ? ? Yes Yes ?
Signal ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Snapchat ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Skype No No No No ? Yes, animated emoticons ?
Telegram (standard messages) ? ? ? No ? ? ?
Telegram (secret chats) ? ? ? No ? ? ?
Tencent QQ No Yes Yes No Yes Yes ?
Tkabber No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes, animated emoticons No
Trillian Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes, animated emoticons ?
WhatsApp No ? No No No No No
Windows Live Messenger Yes No Yes No Yes Yes, animated emoticons, winks ?
Wire Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes No, uses encrypted protocol
Yahoo! Messenger ? ? ? No ? ? ?
Client Handwriting mode Dockable Multiaccount Spell check User-defined graphic emoticons Animations OAuth for client authorization
  1. ^ The connection between the Google Talk client and the Google Talk server is encrypted, except when using Gmail's chat over HTTP, a federated network that doesn't support encryption, or when using a proxy like IMLogic. - Google
  2. ^ a b Feature unavailable in standalone version.
  3. ^ Depends on build configuration options.

Secure messengers[edit]

Messengers with client-to-client encryption[edit]

The following table is an overview of instant messaging clients that provide end-to-end encryption. Some of the listed client applications do not provide end-to-end encryption by default. These clients may require that users install a separate plugin, turn on a setting, or use an optional mode. In these cases, the encryption-related information in this table is only applicable when the encryption is enabled.

Client Encrypted by default Development status Open source client[a] Servers Contact verification[b] Encryption ciphers Forward secrecy[c] Multiple encryption[d][e] Encrypted groupchat[f] Encrypted file transfer[f] Public key and IP unrelated[g] Proxy /Tor[h] Transport[i] Asynchronous encryp. communication[j] Encrypted client data[k] Screenshot protection[l] Self-destructing messages[l]
Open source servers Distributed[m] Federated[m] Data Symmetric[d][n] Asymmetric[o] Asym. key size[p] TCP UDP SCTP
Profile information[q] Chat metadata[r] Contact lists[s] Cloud backup McEliece RSA DSA ECC NTRU El Gamal Default Max.
Briar Yes Active, public beta Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A No Yes Yes ? ? ? Yes ? ? ECC-256 ? Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? ? No Yes Yes No
ChatSecure allows unencrypted Active Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes[137] Yes[t] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes[t] Optional ? ? ? Optional ? ? ? No ? ? No
Conversations allows unencrypted Active Yes Yes Yes Yes Stored; not client-side encrypted[138] Stored[138] No Yes Yes[t] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Depends Optional Optional Yes Optional Optional ? ? ? Optional ? ? No
Cryptocat Yes Discontinued Yes ? ? No No Yes[139] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes[139] Yes[139] No groupchat Yes[139] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
FireChat[140] allows unencrypted[u] Active No N/A N/A N/A No ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Includes groupchat, but it is not encrypted ? ? No ? ? ? Yes ? ? No
iMessage[141] allows unencrypted[v] Active No[141] No ? No ? No[137] ? ? Yes[142] ? ? ? ? ? ? No[141] ? Depends[143] Yes[144] ? No ? ? ? Yes ? No No
Line[145][146] Yes Active No No Yes[147] No Stored; not client-side encrypted[147] Stored[147] Optional No ? ? ? ? Yes[148] ? ? ECC-256[148] N/A No ? Yes[146] ? ? No ? ? ? Yes No No No
RetroShare Yes Active Yes[w] N/A N/A N/A No Yes[137] Yes ? Yes ? ? No No ? ? Yes[137] Yes Yes Yes Optional Optional Yes Yes No Yes Yes ? ?
Jami Yes[149] Active Yes[w] Yes Yes Stored[150] No ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Ricochet Yes Discontinued[151] Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A No No[152] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes[152] No[152] No groupchat No Yes Yes ? ? ? No No[152] No No
Sicher Yes Active No[w] No ? No ? ? Yes ? Yes ? ? No No RSA-2048[153] N/A No No Yes Yes No No Yes No No ? Yes ? Yes
Signal Yes[x] Active Yes[w] Yes Yes[154] No[155] Stored; client-side encrypted[156] Not stored[157] Not stored[157][158] No Yes[137] Yes ? ? No Yes No No ECC-256[159] N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[160] Yes[160] No Yes Yes[y] Yes Yes
Silent Phone Yes Active Viewable source[161] No No No Stored[162] Not stored[citation needed] Not stored[citation needed] ? Yes[137] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes[137] Yes[163] Yes[164] Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ? Yes Yes[citation needed] Yes Yes
Surespot Yes Active Yes[w] No ? No Stored; client-side encrypted[165] Stored[165] Stored[165] No Yes[137] Yes ? No ? Yes[166] No No ECC-521[166] N/A Yes No No groupchat No No ? Yes No No ? ? ? No
Threema Yes Active Partially[z][167] No ? No Stored; client-side encrypted[168] Not stored[168] Not stored[168] Optional; client-side encrypted[169] Yes[137] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? No[aa] ? Yes Yes ? ? ? ? ? Yes Yes ? No
Tox Yes Active Yes[w] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A No Yes Yes ? Yes ? ? No No ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No
Viber allows unencrypted[ab][170] Active No No ? No Stored; not client-side encrypted[171] Stored[171] Stored[171] No[172] Yes[173] ? ? ? ? Yes[173] ? ? ECC-256[173] N/A Yes[173] ? Depends[173][174] Yes[173] ? No ? ? ? Yes[173] ? No No
WhatsApp Yes Active Partially[z][175] No Yes No Stored; not client-side encrypted[176] Stored[176] Stored[176] Optional; only encrypted if using the iOS version[177] Yes[175] Yes[175] ? ? ? Yes[175] ? ? ECC-256[175] N/A Yes[175] Yes[175] Yes[175] Yes[175] Yes[175] No ? ? ? Yes[175] No No No
Wickr Me Yes Active Partially[z][178] No ? No Stored; not client-side encrypted[179] Not stored[180] Not stored[180] ? Yes[181] ? ? ? ? Yes[181] No No ECC-521[181] N/A Yes[181] Yes[181] Yes ? ? No Yes ? ? Yes Yes[181] Capture notification[182] Yes
Wickr Pro Yes Active Partially[z][183] No ? No Stored; not client-side encrypted[179] Not stored[180] Not stored[180] ? Yes[181] ? ? ? ? Yes[181] No No ECC-521[181] N/A Yes[181] Yes[181] Yes ? ? No Yes ? ? Yes Yes[181] ? Yes
Wire Yes Active Yes[184] Yes[185] ? No[185] Stored; not client-side encrypted[186] Stored[186] Stored[186] Optional; only encrypted if using the iOS version[187] Yes[188] Yes[189] ? ? ? Yes[189] ? ? ECC-256[189] N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes[190] ? No Yes[189] Yes[189] ? Yes Yes[citation needed] No Yes[191]
TextSecure Yes Discontinued[ac] Yes[w][192] Yes[ad] Yes Yes, briefly[ad] N/A Not stored Not stored No Yes[137] Yes ? ? No Yes No No ECC-256[159] N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No Yes[193] Yes Yes No
WASTE Yes Discontinued Yes[w] N/A N/A N/A No No Yes ? ? ? No No ? ? No No No Yes No No Yes No No ? ? ? ? ?
Adium No Active Yes[w] Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes[t] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes[t] ? ? Yes[t] ? ? ? ? ? No No No No
Google Allo (incognito mode)[194] No Discontinued Partially[z] No Yes[195] No No ? Yes ? ? ? Yes ? ? ECC-256 N/A Yes Yes Optional ? ? No ? ? ? Yes ? ? Yes
Facebook Messenger (secret conversations)[196] No Active Partially[z][197] No Yes[198] No Stored; not client-side encrypted Stored No Yes[197] Yes[197] ? ? ? Yes[197] ? ? ECC-256[197] N/A Yes[197] Yes Includes groupchat, but it is not encrypted[199] ? ? No ? ? ? Yes Yes[197] ? Yes[197]
Gajim No Active Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes[t] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes[t] Optional Optional[ae] Yes ? No ? ? ? Optional ? ? No
Jitsi No Active Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes[137] Yes[t] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes[t] ? ? Yes[t] ? ? ? ? ? No ? No No
KakaoTalk (secret chats)[200] No Active No ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Kopete[af] No Active Yes[w] Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes[t] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes[t] ? Includes groupchat, but it is not encrypted Yes[t] ? ? ? ? ? No No ? ?
Miranda IM No Active Yes[w] ? ? ? No Yes[201] Yes[202] ? Optional[ae][203] ? ? ? ? ECC-192[203] ? ? ? ? Yes[204] ? ? Yes ? ? ? ? ? ?
Pidgin No Active Yes[w] Yes Yes Yes No Yes[137] Yes[t][205] ? Optional[ae][206] ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes[t][205] ? ? Yes[205] ? ? Yes ? ? Optional[ag] ? ? ?
Riot.im No Active, public beta Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? ? ? Device verification Yes ? ? ? Yes ? ? ECC-256 ? Optional ? Yes Yes Yes ? Yes ? ? Yes ? No No
Telegram (secret chats) No Active Yes[w] No Yes No Stored; not client-side encrypted Not stored[207] Stored[207] No Yes[137] Yes ? Yes ? No No No RSA-2048[208] N/A Sort of[ah] Yes Includes groupchat, but it is not encrypted Yes No No Yes No ? No Optional Yes, warning Yes
Xabber No Active Yes Yes Yes Yes Stored No ? Yes[t] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Client name Encrypted by default Development status Open source client[a] Servers Contact verification[b] Encryption ciphers Forward secrecy[c] Multiple encryption[d][e] Encrypted groupchat[f] Encrypted file transfer[f] Public key and IP unrelated[g] Proxy /Tor[h] Transport[i] Asynchronous encryp. communication[j] Encrypted client data[k] Screenshot protection[l] Self-destructing messages[l]
Open source servers Distributed[m] Federated[m] Data Symmetric[d][n] Asymmetric[o] Asym. key size[p] TCP UDP SCTP
Profile information[q] Chat metadata[r] Contact lists[s] Cloud backup McEliece RSA DSA ECC NTRU El Gamal Default Max.

Messengers with client-to-server encryption[edit]

The following table is an overview of those Instant Messenger clients which provide client-to-server encryption. It does not include clients that also provide end-to-end encryption.

Client Encryption protocol
AIM[137] ?
BlackBerry Messenger[137] ?
eBuddy[137] ?
Gadu-Gadu TLS[citation needed]
Google Hangouts[137] TLS[209]
Kik Messenger[137] ?
Skype[137][210] TLS[211]
Snapchat[137] ?
Tencent QQ[137] A custom protocol[137]
Yahoo! Messenger[137] ?
Echat[212] ?

Messengers with no encryption[edit]

The following is a list of those Instant Messenger clients which do not provide client-to-server encryption:

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b For transparency to the public, the source code of the encryption algorithms, and its implementation into a messenger, should be subject to public auditing—which may disclose flaws or implementation failures. Whereas, a company offering a messenger which does not reveal the source must be blindly trusted. In general it is recommended to not trust closed source encryption.
  2. ^ a b The clients have a built-in method for users to verify the identity of correspondents they are speaking with and the integrity of the channel, even if the service provider or other third parties are compromised. Two possible ways of doing this are through:
    1. An interface for users to view the fingerprint (hash) of their correspondent's public keys as well as their own, which users can verify manually or out-of-band.
    2. A key exchange protocol with a short-authentication-string comparison. An example is the Socialist millionaire's protocol.
    The solution should verify a binding between the users and the cryptographic channel.
  3. ^ a b Forward secrecy describes the option to change the encryption key every session or even instant. This may be implemented by Off-the-Record Messaging (OTR)
  4. ^ a b c d In symmetric cryptography, the same key is used for encryption and decryption. Knowledge of this key needs to be limited to the two communication partners to ensure confidentiality. As asymmetric algorithms are relatively computationally costly in terms of speed, as compared to symmetric cryptography, the session key may be encrypted / decrypted by a asymmetric algorithm and use a much faster symmetric algorithm to encrypt and decrypt messages, reducing computational cost (increasing speed).
  5. ^ a b Multiple encryption is the process of encrypting an already encrypted message one or more times, either using the same or a different algorithm.
  6. ^ a b c d Some messengers offer Groupchat and file transfer. These features should transfer only encrypted bytes. Encrypted file transfer may be implemented by Off-the-Record Messaging (OTR)
  7. ^ a b Public keys are used to identify users. A user's IP address can in some cases be related to his or her public key. Messengers that do not relate the user's public key to the user's IP address are considered more secure. This offers more security because the IP cannot be targeted to gain access to the private key. If an attacker knows the IP related to a public key, he or she can try to get on the remote machine, download and decrypt the private key and thus decrypt all encrypted communication.
  8. ^ a b Proxies and Tor might prevent an IP from being related to the public key.
  9. ^ a b Not all messengers support the same transport protocols like TCP, UDP and SCTP.
  10. ^ a b Lets users exchange encrypted messages asynchronously, i.e. participants do not have to be online at the same time.
  11. ^ a b Lets users set a passphrase that encrypts the local message database. The messages are protected if the device is e.g. lost or stolen.
  12. ^ a b c d Screenshot protection and self-destructing messages provide only basic protection against casual/inadvertent logging of messages by users.
  13. ^ a b c d If a messenger relies on a central server, the setup is closed and may be surveilled. To counter this, decentralized computing architectures have been developed via a peer-to-peer technology, open source chat servers (easily setup by anyone) and/or federated protocols. An architecture in which all the messages do not pass through a central server lessens a single point for surveillance.
  14. ^ a b Off-the-Record Messaging encryption uses the AES symmetric algorithm and Diffie–Hellman key exchange. It allows forward secrecy and encrypted file transfers.
  15. ^ a b The critical advantage in an asymmetric key system is that copies of keys do not need to be sent between communicators. This prevents a third party from copying a key while it is in transit, and preventing the third party from spying on all future messages. In addition, if one key was copied by a third party, only messages to the holder of the key would be compromised, not the messages to the other party in the communication. However, asymmetric algorithms are relatively computationally costly in terms of speed, as compared to symmetric cryptography. The most common asymmetric cryptography algorithm is the RSA Algorithm. Alternative asymmetric algorithms are Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA), Elliptic curve cryptography (ECC), ElGamal and NTRU. NTRU is regarded not vulnerable to decryption by quantum computing.
  16. ^ a b The key size describes the length of the needed mathematical operation. Simply spoken, the longer the key, the longer it takes to crack it.
  17. ^ a b For example user avatars and display names.
  18. ^ a b For example when and to whom messages have been sent, the time when chats were created, lists of chat participants, the roles of chat participants, chat titles, and chat avatars.
  19. ^ a b For example a list of contacts who are also using the software or a list of other users whom the user has communicated with.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Implements Off-the-Record Messaging encryption which uses the AES symmetric algorithm and Diffie–Hellman key exchange. It allows forward secrecy and encrypted file transfers.
  21. ^ Only one-to-one messages are end-to-end encrypted. Public chatrooms are not end-to-end encrypted.
  22. ^ iMessage allows users to send instant messages to other iMessage users, as well as SMS/MMS messages to contacts who are not iMessage users. Only instant messages sent to other iMessage users are end-to-end encrypted. iMessage also contains an optional setting that allows fallback to unencrypted SMS/MMS messaging if the user or an iMessage contact is offline.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m See: Comparison of instant messaging clients#General information.
  24. ^ Signal contains a setting that allows users to send unencrypted SMS/MMS messages to contacts who do not have Signal. This setting is not enabled by default. Users can also enable a setting that allows fallback to unencrypted SMS/MMS messaging if the user or a Signal contact is offline.
  25. ^ On iOS, the local message database is encrypted by the operating system if the user has a password on their lock screen.
  26. ^ a b c d e f Only the encryption related source code is open.
  27. ^ Only on the network connection, not on the end-to-end layer.[5]
  28. ^ Only messages between Viber users with the latest version for Android, iOS, Desktop or Windows 10 are end-to-end encrypted. The Windows Phone and BlackBerry versions are not supported.
  29. ^ Merged with RedPhone to become Signal.
  30. ^ a b The TextSecure server architecture was partially decentralized between December 2013 and February 2016, when it federated with servers run by the developers of CyanogenMod.
  31. ^ a b c Supported with plugin
  32. ^ OpenPGP encryption (XEP-0027).
  33. ^ Supported when used with a protocol/service (e.g. Yahoo, MSN etc.) that supports offline messaging. Most protocols support offline messaging (see the features table, fourth from last column).
  34. ^ Encryption keys are only changed after a key has been used more than 100 times or has been in use for more than a week.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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