Comparison of cross-platform instant messaging clients

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The landscape for instant messaging involves cross-platform instant messaging clients that can handle one or multiple protocols.[1] The following table compares general and technical information for cross-platform instant messaging clients in active development, each of which have their own article that provide further information.

Clients[edit]

Client Developer First public release Monthly active users Registration requirement License Operating system E2EE 2-user chat E2EE group chat Encrypted chat storage File transfer Voice messages Client Voice chat Video chat Read receipts Editing sent messages Deleting sent messages Custom

emoji

Stickers Self-destructing messages Lock screen Themes / skins Plugins Peer-to-peer text chat Open source servers Federated servers Client Offline messaging
Windows macOS Linux Web Android iOS
Briar ‹See Tfd›? ‹See Tfd›? ‹See Tfd›? GPLv3 No No No No Yes No ‹See Tfd›? ‹See Tfd›? No No Briar No No Yes ‹See Tfd›? ‹See Tfd›? Yes No No ‹See Tfd›? No ‹See Tfd›? Yes ‹See Tfd›? ‹See Tfd›? Briar Yes
Discord Discord Inc. March 6, 2015; 5 years ago (2015-03-06) 250 million (2019)[2] Email Proprietary Freeware Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No Discord Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No Discord
eBuddy Paulo Taylor March 9, 2003; 17 years ago (2003-03-09) Phone number Proprietary Freeware No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes eBuddy Yes Yes Yes No Partial No No Yes Yes Yes No No No No eBuddy
Element New Vector Limited July 2016; 4 years ago (2016-07) Nothing required Apache License Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Element Yes Yes Yes Partial Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Element
Facebook Messenger Facebook, Inc. August 9, 2011; 9 years ago (2011-08-09) 1300 million (2019)[2] Facebook account or Phone number Proprietary Freeware Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Facebook Messenger Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No Facebook Messenger
FireChat Open Garden March 2014; 6 years ago (2014-03) Email Proprietary Freeware No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes FireChat Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes FireChat Yes
Gadu-Gadu Łukasz Foltyn / GG Network S.A. August 15, 2000; 20 years ago (2000-08-15) Email Proprietary Freeware Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Gadu-Gadu Yes No No No No Gadu-Gadu
Gajim Yann Le Boulanger May 21, 2004; 16 years ago (2004-05-21) Email GPL Yes No Yes No No No Yes Plug-in Yes No Gajim Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Gajim
ICQ Mail.Ru November 1996; 24 years ago (1996-11) Phone number Proprietary Freemium adware Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No ICQ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No ICQ
Jami Savoir-faire Linux ? local account GPLv3 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Jami Yes Yes Yes Yes decentralised Jami
Jitsi Emil Ivov 2003; 18 years ago (2003) LGPL Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Jitsi Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No Yes Yes Jitsi
Kadu Kadu Team August 2001; 19 years ago (2001-08) GPLv2 Yes Yes Yes No No No No No Yes No Kadu Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Kadu
KakaoTalk Kakao Corp. March 18, 2010; 10 years ago (2010-03-18) 49 million (2018)[3] Proprietary Freeware Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes KakaoTalk No No No No KakaoTalk
Keybase Keybase February 8, 2017;

4 years ago

Nothing required New BSD License Yes Yes Yes No, partial Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Keybase No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes, only 2 official skins No No No No Keybase
Kik Messenger Medialab October 2010; 10 years ago (2010-10) 15 million (2017)[4] Email Proprietary Freemium adware No No No No Yes Yes No No Yes Kik Messenger Yes Yes No No No Kik Messenger
Line LINE Corporation March 2012; 8 years ago (March 2012) 700 million (2017) Phone number Proprietary Freemium Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Partial Yes[5] Yes Yes Line Yes Yes Yes No Partial No Yes No No Yes Yes No No No Line
Mattermost Mattermost Inc 2015 AGPLv3 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Plug-in Mattermost Plug-in Plug-in No Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes No Yes No Mattermost
MCabber Mikael Berthe June 7, 2005; 15 years ago (2005-06-07) GPL No Yes Yes No No No No No No No MCabber No No No No MCabber
Messages Apple Inc. July 25, 2012; 8 years ago (2012-07-25) Part of macOS and iOS No Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Messages Yes Yes No No No No No No N/A N/A Messages
Movim Timothée Jaussoin March 3, 2011; 9 years ago (2011-03-03) E-mail AGPLv3 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No Movim Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No ? No No No Yes Yes Movim
Palringo Palringo Ltd 2006; 15 years ago (2006) Nothing required Proprietary Freemium No No No No Yes Yes No No No No Palringo Yes No No Yes No No No Palringo
Paltalk AVM Software, Inc June 1998; 22 years ago (1998-06) Email Proprietary Freeware Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No No Yes Paltalk Yes Yes No Yes No No No Paltalk
Pidgin Mark Spencer November 1998; 22 years ago (1998-11) GPL Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No No Pidgin Partial Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Pidgin
Psi Psi and Psi+ developers 2001; 20 years ago (2001) GPL Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Psi Partial Partial Yes Yes Yes Yes No Psi
Client Developer First public release Monthly active users Registration requirement License Windows macOS Linux Web Android iOS E2EE 2-user chat E2EE group chat Encrypted chat storage File transfer Voice recording Client Voice chat Video chat Read receipts Editing sent messages Deleting sent messages Custom

emoji

Stickers Self-destructing messages Lock screen Themes / skins Plugins Peer-to-peer text chat Open source servers Federated servers Client
Operating system
RetroShare Cyril Soler, Gioacchino Mazzurco 2006; 15 years ago (2006) Nothing required GPL Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes Yes RetroShare Yes No No No Yes No Yes N/A (P2P) N/A RetroShare
Ricochet Invisible.im June 2014; 6 years ago (2014-06) BSD Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes Ricochet No Yes N/A N/A Ricochet
Sicher SHAPE GmbH June 2014; 6 years ago (2014-06) Phone number Proprietary Freeware No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Sicher No Yes No No No Sicher
Signal Signal Foundation July 2014; 6 years ago (2014-07) 20 million (2020)[6] Phone number GPLv3 Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Signal Yes Yes Yes No Partial No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes[7] No Signal
Silent Phone Silent Circle January 16, 2013; 8 years ago (2013-01-16) Nothing required Proprietary commercial software No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes[8] Yes Silent Phone No Yes Yes No No No Silent Phone
Skype Skype Technologies, a subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation 2003; 18 years ago (2003) 300 million (2018)[3] Proprietary Freemium adware Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Skype Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No No No Skype
Slack Slack Technologies August 2013; 7 years ago (2013-08) Email Proprietary Freemium Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Slack Yes Yes Yes No No No Slack
Snapchat Snap Inc. November 2011; 9 years ago (2011-11) 294 million (2019)[2] Email or Phone number Proprietary Freeware No No No No Yes Yes No No No Yes Snapchat Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No No Snapchat
Surespot Surespot LLC 2013; 8 years ago (2013) Nothing required GPLv3 No No No No Yes Yes Yes No groupchat Yes Yes Surespot Yes No No No Yes No No No No Surespot
TeamNote TeamNote Limited 2012; 9 years ago No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No
Telegram Telegram Messenger LLP 2013; 8 years ago (2013) 500 million (2021)[9] Phone number GPLv2, GPLv3[10] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Secret Chats No Yes Yes Yes Telegram Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No Telegram
TeleGuard Swisscows AG January 2021; 1 month ago (2021-01) Nothing required Proprietary Freeware No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes TeleGuard Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No No No No No TeleGuard
Tencent QQ Tencent Holdings February 1999; 22 years ago (1999-02) 823 million (2019)[2] Proprietary Adware Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No Tencent QQ Yes Yes No Yes No No No No Tencent QQ
Threema Threema GmbH December 2012; 8 years ago (2012-12) Nothing required AGPLv3 No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Threema Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No No No No Threema
Trillian Cerulean Studios July 1, 2000; 20 years ago (2000-07-01) Nothing required Proprietary Freemium adware Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Partial Trillian Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Trillian
Viber Rakuten Viber December 2, 2010; 10 years ago (2010-12-02) 260 million (2019)[2] Phone number Proprietary Freemium Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Viber Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Viber
WeChat Tencent Holdings Limited January 21, 2011; 10 years ago (2011-01-21) 1112 million (2019)[2] Phone number or QQ number Proprietary Freeware Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes WeChat Yes Yes No No No No WeChat
WhatsApp WhatsApp Inc., a subsidiary of Facebook January 2009; 12 years ago (2009-01) 2000 million (2020)[11] Phone number Proprietary Freeware Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes WhatsApp Yes Yes Yes No Partial No Yes No No No No No No No WhatsApp
Wickr Wickr Inc. June 2012; 8 years ago (2012-06) Nothing required Proprietary Trialware Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Wickr Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes No No No Wickr
Wire Wire Swiss GmbH December 3, 2014; 6 years ago (2014-12-03) Email or Phone number GPLv3 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Wire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes[12] No No No No Yes[13] No Wire
Client Developer First public release Monthly active users Registration requirement License Windows macOS Linux Web Android iOS E2EE 2-user chat E2EE group chat Encrypted chat storage File transfer Voice recording Client Voice chat Video chat Read receipts Editing sent messages Deleting sent messages Custom

emoji

Stickers Self-destructing messages Lock screen Themes / skins Plugins Peer-to-peer text chat Open source servers Federated servers Client
Operating system


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "History of Instant Messaging". The top 6 best Instant Message client apps on any platform. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Most popular messaging apps 2019 - Statista". Statista.
  3. ^ a b "Most popular messaging apps 2018 - Statista". Statista.
  4. ^ Ponciano, Jonathan. "Billion-Dollar Kik Taps $125 Million Token Offering To Energize User Base".
  5. ^ Shin, Ki Bin (11 August 2016). "The next step for even safer messaging: Letter Sealing". Line Corporation. Archived from the original on 2 October 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  6. ^ Signal’s Brian Acton talks about exploding growth, monetization and WhatsApp data-sharing outrage Tech Crunch, 12 January 2021
  7. ^ "Signal · GitHub". 26 February 2020. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  8. ^ "Silent Phone 6.0 is Here!". Silent Circle. 15 June 2017. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Telegram Durov Channel". 2021-01-12.
  10. ^ "Telegram license info". Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  11. ^ "WhatsApp". WhatsApp.com.
  12. ^ "Safe and tidy with Timed Messages". Wire Swiss. 25 October 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  13. ^ "Wire server code now 100% open source – the journey continues". Medium. Wire Swiss GmbH. 19 September 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.