iMessage vs Alternatives By Josh Blagden | JB - Mac Help | JBlagden

iMessage vs Alternatives By Josh Blagden

iMessage is a great instant messaging app. It’s easy to use, receives messages even when it’s closed and encrypts messages. The only problem with iMessage is that you can’t use it on non-Apple operating systems, not even through the iCloud website. This can be a problem for two reasons, the first reason being that you might have a Windows desktop that you use for gaming and other CPU-intensive tasks, or you might have a tablet which runs either Android or Ubuntu Touch.The second reason is that you might want to send encrypted instant messages to Windows users. While you could use encrypted emails, it’s a lot of work to set up an encryption program like GPG and such apps can be expensive on iOS. 

iMessage is great until you step outside the Apple ecosystem (also true of iTunes videos) or until you want to send instant messages to people who aren’t using Apple devices. For those situations, you’re going to need a something other than iMessage. 

Skype is a good option because it’s probably the most popular instant messaging client. It’s also available on Mac, Windows, Android, and Linux, which also makes it a great choice.

WhatsApp used to be a good choice, and it’s used by a good amount of people. However, it’s no longer a good option because the developer sells information gathered by WhatsApp to Facebook so it can pass that information to other companies for advertising purposes.

Telegram is a good instant messaging client because it’s encrypted, starts up quickly, doesn’t sell your information for advertising purposes, and it works on pretty much every operating system you’ll ever use, including Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android and Ubuntu Touch.

The only issue with these alternatives is that unlike iMessage, they can’t receive messages when they’re closed; they have to be running to be able to receive messages. That’s not too bad on a tablet or a smartphone, but it can be a little annoying on a computer. If you’re looking for one which is light on computing resources, Telegram is a good option. Aside from taking a little while to start up, Skype is better. If you can get past the fact that Skype takes longer to start up  than Telegram, it’s the best option because it’s the most common, which is very important when it comes to this stuff. But again, all of these alternative instant messaging apps have to be running to be able to receive messages, which can be a problem if you sent someone an important message and they don’t have the app open, or vice-versa. Regardless of which instant messaging app you choose, it’s best to choose now so you’re not scrambling trying to get people to switch over if and when you choose a non-Apple smartphone.

© Joshua Blagden & Justin Barczak 2013-2015
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