So, your looking for an effective way to send out a group message (or broadcast your dank memes to the masses), but don’t know what app you and your friends should use? Are you also looking for the easiest to use and safest app? I have compiled a list of the top 5 group messaging apps and breaks them down, along with the pros and cons of each.
Disclaimer: This list is completely based on my opinions of each service. Some people may prefer some methods not even listed here.
List of Top 5 Group Messaging Apps
5. Native Texting/ iMessage
Pros: Simple, native (built-in on every cell phone today), doesn’t require internet connection.
Cons: Usually mobile-only, iMessage is iOS/Mac only; you have to give out your phone number, which you may not want to for online groups.
It’s simple, it’s easy to use, and it’s on everyone’s phone. If you and your friends don’t mind giving out their numbers, there’s absolutely no problem with using this, despite being last on this list.
Then why is it last?
Because there are many alternatives to it, each with their own additional benefits over standard messaging. You came to this list looking for options, and that’s what you’re about to get. So let’s keep going on.
Pros: Group video chat (only one on this list), easy file sharing, preferred method for desktop-exclusive messaging.
Cons: Inconvenience for mobile users (large app size for smaller capacity phones), bot account spam; if your account gets compromised, spam could be sent to all of your contacts.
Skype is made by Microsoft, but that doesn’t mean that it’s exclusive to just the Windows family. Its main purpose is for video chatting, but it’s fine for group messaging as well. It can be used on all platforms, and is the recommended video conferencing tool of many. You probably already have Skype on your computer. There is also file-sharing enabled for Skype, and that’s a huge plus for me when my friend wants to see my notes or other programs. If you need to video conference/ file share, use Skype. Otherwise there are 3 better options on this list for those reasons.
Pros: Anonymous, QR code contact registration, multiplatform.
Cons: Anonymous, spam bots, has a bad name as far as explicit content exchange/ bullying goes.
Kik is another great messaging app that I know a lot of my friends use. It is pretty feature loaded and allows you to add someone to your contacts with a QR code and your phone camera. Kik is an app used for generally casual purposes, and may get a glance if you suggested it be used professionally. One downside of Kik is the reputation it holds with cyberbullying and the amount of spam bots present on the app, but it’s overall a great secure messaging app, and don’t let the downsides stop you from using it.
Pros: Everyone is verified by their phone number, but number remains hidden; easily switch from mobile to desktop.
Cons: Valid mobile number required, limit of 50 members per group.
For private groups, GroupMe is the way to go for me. It’s very easy to use, user-friendly, and allows you to meme your own pictures (it sold me on the last point). I use GroupMe in conjunction with #1 on this list for contacting my friends for quick messaging and other things, as most of them already have GroupMe on their phones. As far as features go on GroupMe, it’s basically limited to just messaging and multimedia sharing (with limits). For those that would only need to do those, I’d highly recommend GroupMe.
And my top group-messaging app is…
Pros: Multiple rooms (channels) per server for both text and voice, easy to invite new members and remove members, customizable bitrate for voice channels, custom emojis, basic file sharing, unlimited users per server, easy to mute irrelevant messages/ users, easy to invite members, multiplatform.
Cons: It’s #1 on this list for a reason, unless you count suspectible to “raids”, but if you control who can invite others that’s easy to prevent.
Discord is supposed to be the “Gamer’s Skype”; originally intended as an alternative to TeamSpeak, Discord has become useful in more ways than just gaming. Today, there are Discord servers for any purpose, including this one which is my server, open for anyone to join and chat with me and others. If you’re a gamer, Discord allows you to place an overlay on your games so you can still chat with others without having to Alt-Tab. The desktop and mobile interfaces for Discord are one-in-the-same; there are practically no differences between the two. I recommend Discord for just about any group-messaging situation, and I can see Discord becoming more widely used in the near future.
There are plenty of great group messaging apps out there, but overall, I prefer Discord above all the others. Discord takes the best of everything and makes it better.
Agree with the list? Disagree? Leave a comment below! If you like this article, click on the bell on the lower-right to enable notifications for future posts. Also feel free to check out the Discord server mentioned earlier as well as the Forums and join in on the conversation!