iMore's guide to the best, most reliable, and most widely used messaging apps currently available on the iPhone!
Looking for the best iPhone apps to stay in contact with your friends and family? When it comes to messaging, the list of services to choose from is pretty much endless. Whether you need to send messages internationally or just don't care to give out your phone number or iMessage information to everyone you need to be able to communicate with, there's an appropriate option for everyone. But that still leaves one important question unanswered, what messaging apps for iPhone are the absolute best?
If you use Facebook and all your other friends do, Facebook Messenger is an easy and convenient way to converse with friends and family both over wifi and over the cellular network. Facebook Messenger is a separate app download outside of the regular Facebook app and focuses strictly on messaging. You can also place voice calls with Facebook Messenger that use data instead of minutes, another added bonus. Facebook Messenger supports native push notifications and ties seamlessly into the official Facebook for iPhone app.
If you and most of the people you message are already on Facebook, it may be the most logical choice and require the least amount of setup on your own part.
WhatsApp, which was recently acquired by Facebook, still remains one of the best alternative messaging options for iPhone. With support for regular messages, pictures, audio notes, video messages, and more, WhatsApp still remains a favorite option for many folks. It's available internationally in many countries and also supports group chats.
For a minimal messaging app that's easy to use and available in many different countries, check out WhatsApp.
Skype is one of the most widely used messaging services not only on iOS, but on any platform. Not only can you send standard text only messages to contacts, you can initiate audio and video calls as well. Need to screen share? Not a problem. You can also import your entire address book to Skype if you'd like and buy Skype credits to use to contact non-Skype users. They're way cheaper than standard rates through your carrier.
For a messaging service that's available on pretty much every platform you can think of and also services far beyond standard messaging, you want Skype.
Google Hangouts lets you link up your existing Google account and view all of your Gtalk and Google+ contacts all in one place. Start a hangout where you can message each other or use Google's video and audio calling feature. For anyone in the US and Canada, phone calls are completely free — minus the data you consume from your carrier of course. Hangouts also integrates well with other Google apps for iOS including Google+.
If you're tied into the Google ecosystem already, Hangouts has come a long way and is worth a hard look.
LINE is a free messaging app that is available in a ridiculous amount of countries throughout the world. Aside from sending standard messages, LINE also supports video and audio calls. You can also take short films and send them to all your friends with LINE's Snap Movie feature. LINE also supports voice messages.
If not a lot of messaging options are available in your country, there's a very good chance that LINE is.