Comparison of Instant Messaging Clients

Instant messaging was created in July 1996 by Yair Goldfinger, Arik Vardi, Sefi Vigiser, and Amnon Amir, when they started a company called Mirabilis in order to introduce a new way of communication over the Internet[dubious ]. [1] The current 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. [2] 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

Client Publisher First public release Type Latest stable version License
Adium Adam Iser, Evan Schoenberg 2001-09 Multi-protocol 1.5.10.4 (April 27, 2017; 18 months ago (2017-04-27)) [±] GPLv2
aMSN The aMSN team 2002-05 Single-protocol 0.98.4 GPL
AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) AOL 1997-05 Single-protocol 8.0.8.1 (April 6, 2015; 3 years ago (2015-04-06)) [±] Discontinued (was freeware)
Ayttm Colin Leroy and Philip Tellis 2003-04 Multi-protocol
  • Linux: 0.6.3 (10 Jul 2010)
  • Windows: 0.4.6-17
GPL
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) BlackBerry Limited 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; 4 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)) [±]

Freeware
BitlBee Wilmer van der Gaast 2002-08-09 Multi-protocol IRC gateway 3.5.1 (30 January 2017; 21 months ago (2017-01-30)) [±] GPL
Bombus Eugene Stahov 2005-01-05 Single-protocol v0.6 (2008; 10 years ago (2008)) GPL
Centericq Konstantin Klyagin 1999 Multi-protocol 4.21.0 (September 2, 2005; 13 years ago (2005-09-02)) [±] GPL
Coccinella Mats Bengtsson 1999-12-01 Single-protocol 0.96.16 (December 1, 2009; 8 years ago (2009-12-01)) GPLv3
Discord Discord Inc. 2015-03-06 Single-protocol 03.30.2017; (March 30, 2017; 19 months ago (2017-03-30)) Freeware
eBuddy Paulo Taylor 2003-03-09 Multi-protocol 2011; 7 years ago (2011) Freeware
emesene Luis Mariano Guerra 2006-05-24 Multi-protocol 2.12.5 GPL
Empathy The GNOME Project 2007-05 Multi-protocol 3.12.12[3](May 13, 2016; 2 years ago (2016-05-13)) [±] GPL
Facebook Messenger Facebook, Inc. 2011-08-09 Single-protocol Freeware
FaceTime Apple Inc. 2010-06-24 for iOS; 2011-02-24 for macOS: Single-protocol
  • iOS: 10.3.3 (stable), July 19, 2017; 15 months ago (2017-07-19)
  • macOS: 4.0 (3080), July 24, 2017; 15 months ago (2017-07-24)
Part of macOS or iOS
Fire Eric Peyton 1999-04-01 Multi-protocol 1.5.6 (February 16, 2006) [±] GPL
Firetalk Multitude Communications 1997 -2001 voice/music chat program GPL
Flock Riva FZC September 2014 Single-protocol iOS: v2.28.5, Android: v4.5, OS X: v2.2.144, Windows: v2.2.x, Web: v2.2.x Freemium
Gadu-Gadu ?ukasz Foltyn / GG Network S.A. 2000-08-15 Single-protocol
  • Modern UI: 2.0.0.179
  • Desktop: 12.0.49.11103 (December 13, 2013; 4 years ago (2013-12-13))
Freeware
Gajim Yann Le Boulanger 2004-05-21 Single-protocol 1.0.3 (May 19, 2018; 5 months ago (2018-05-19)[4]) [±] GPL
Google Allo Google, Inc. 2016-09-21 Single-protocol
Android26.0.058_RC05 / January 19, 2018; 9 months ago (2018-01-19)[5]
iOS26.0 / January 23, 2018; 9 months ago (2018-01-23)[6]
Freeware
Google Hangouts Google, Inc. 2013-05-15 Single-protocol Freeware
Hookt Hookt, Inc. 2011-09-14 Single-protocol Freeware
Hike Bharti SoftBank 2012-12-12 Single-protocol
  • 3.2.0 (Android, August 12, 2014; 4 years ago (2014-08-12))[7]
  • 2.6.2.0 (Windows Phone, July 23, 2014; 4 years ago (2014-07-23))[8]
  • 2.6.2 (BlackBerry, May 7, 2014; 4 years ago (2014-05-07))[9]
  • 2.6.0 (iOS, August 12, 2014; 4 years ago (2014-08-12))[10]
  • 2.6.0 (Symbian)
Freeware
IBM Lotus Sametime IBM, Ubique 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. 2002-08 Multi-protocol 6.0.1 (1002) (February 1, 2012; 6 years ago (2012-02-01)), replaced by Messages Part of macOS
ICQ Mail.Ru 1996-11 Single-protocol 8.0.5977 (January 14, 2016; 2 years ago (2016-01-14)) Apache license
IMVU Will Harvey 2001-07 Multiple-protocol 3.0 Freemium
Instantbird Florian Quèze 2007 Multi-protocol 1.5 (December 17, 2013; 4 years ago (2013-12-17)) [±] GPLv2
Jitsi Emil Ivov 2003 Multi-protocol 2.10 (build.5550) (February 5, 2017; 21 months ago (2017-02-05)) [±] LGPL
Kadu Kadu Team 2001-08 Multi-protocol 4.1 (December 2, 2016; 23 months ago (2016-12-02)) GPLv2
KakaoTalk Kakao Corp. 2010-03-18 single-protocol
  • iOS: 5+
  • Android: 4+
  • Windows Phone: 2+
  • BlackBerry: 3+
  • Windows 8
Freeware
Kik Messenger Kik Interactive 2010-10 Single-protocol 6.2 Freeware
Kopete Kopete Team 2002-03-03 Multi-protocol 1.7.2 (October 13, 2015; 3 years ago (2015-10-13)) [±][11] GPL
Libon Orange S.A. 2012-11-21 Freemium
Line LINE Corporation 2011 Single-protocol
  • iOS: 3.8.2
  • Android: 3.8.5
  • Windows Phone: 2.6.0.137
  • BlackBerry: 1.8.23
  • Windows: 5.8.1706
Freemium
MCabber Mikael Berthe 2005-06-07 Single-protocol 1.1.0 (June 4, 2017; 17 months ago (2017-06-04)) [±] GPL
Meetro Paul Bragiel & Samuel Stauffer 2005 Multi-protocol
  • Windows: 0.96 beta
  • OS X: 0.53 beta
Discontinued
Messages Apple Inc. 2012-07-25 Multi-protocol 8.1.3 (January 27, 2015; 3 years ago (2015-01-27)) Part of macOS and iOS
Skype for Business Microsoft 2005 Single-protocol 2013 (October 2, 2012; 6 years ago (2012-10-02)) Trialware
Miranda IM Miranda IM project 2000-02-06 Multi-protocol 0.10.80[12](25 April 2018; 6 months ago (2018-04-25)) [±] GPL
Mysms sms.at mobile internet services gmbh 2011 Single-protocol ? Freemium
MySpaceIM MySpace 2006-05-09 Single-protocol 1.0.754.0 (February 7, 2008; 10 years ago (2008-02-07)) Freeware
naim Daniel Reed 1998-10-05 Multi-protocol 0.11.8.3.1 (July 9, 2007; 11 years ago (2007-07-09)) GPL
Nimbuzz Evert Jaap Lugt 2006 Multi-protocol Android: 7.0.1
(5 October 2018; 44 days ago (2018-10-05)) [±][13]

iOS: 5.11.0
(1 February 2018; 9 months ago (2018-02-01)) [±][14]

BlackBerry OS: 4.0
(10 December 2013; 4 years ago (2013-12-10)) [±][15]

Windows Phone: 1.1.8.1
(16 April 2014; 4 years ago (2014-04-16)) [±][16]


Freeware
Palringo Palringo Ltd 2006 Single-protocol
  • Windows: 2.7.9 (July 4, 2012; 6 years ago (2012-07-04))
  • Windows Mobile: 2.6.6 (March 30, 2012; 6 years ago (2012-03-30))
  • iOS: 4.12 (August 6, 2012; 6 years ago (2012-08-06))
  • Android: 5.2.8 (August 1, 2012; 6 years ago (2012-08-01))
  • OS X: 4.6.4 (July 24, 2012; 6 years ago (2012-07-24))
  • Windows Phone: 0.11.0.0 (February 14, 2012; 6 years ago (2012-02-14))
Freemium
Paltalk 1998-06 Multi-protocol Version 10.2 Build 455 Freeware
Pidgin Mark Spencer 1998-11 Multi-protocol 2.13.0 (March 8, 2018; 8 months ago (2018-03-08)[17]) [±] GPL
Psi Psi and Psi+ developers 2001 Single-protocol 1.3 (September 25, 2017; 13 months ago (2017-09-25)) [±] GPL
Quiet Internet Pager (QIP) Ilgam Zyulkorneev 2004 Multi-protocol QIP 2012 version 4.0 (build 8866) (27 November 2012; 5 years ago (2012-11-27)) [±] Freeware
QuteCom QuteCom 2004 Multi-protocol 2.2.1 (22 June 2011; 7 years ago (2011-06-22)[18]) [±] GPL
Ricochet Invisible.im 2014-06 Single-protocol 1.1.4 (November 8, 2016; 2 years ago (2016-11-08)[19]) [±] BSD
Ring Savoir-faire Linux Inc. 2014 Single-protocol 20180509 GPLv3
RingID Ring Inc. 2015 Multi-protocol
  • 4.1.4 (Android, March 16, 2016; 2 years ago (2016-03-16))[20]
  • 4.1.1.4 (Windows Phone, March 9, 2016; 2 years ago (2016-03-09))[21]
  • 4.2.2 (iOS, March 19, 2016; 2 years ago (2016-03-19))[22]
Freeware
Riot.im New Vector Limited 2016-07 Single-protocol Android 0.8.18 (October 18, 2018; 31 days ago (2018-10-18)[23]) [±]

iOS 0.7.5 (October 5, 2018; 44 days ago (2018-10-05)[24]) [±]
Web (Desktop) 0.17.2 (October 19, 2018; 30 days ago (2018-10-19)[25]) [±]

Apache License
Sicher SHAPE GmbH 2014-06 Single-protocol 1.1 Freeware
Signal Open Whisper Systems 2014-07 Single-protocol Android 4.29.7 (October 25, 2018; 24 days ago (2018-10-25)[26]) [±]

iOS 2.30.2 (October 18, 2018; 31 days ago (2018-10-18)[27]) [±]
Desktop 1.17.3 (October 31, 2018; 18 days ago (2018-10-31)[28]) [±]

GPLv3
Skype Skype Technologies, a subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation 2003 Single-protocol
Windows, UWP14.32.55.0 / 10 October 2018; 39 days ago (2018-10-10)[29]
Windows, desktop8.34.0.78 / 13 November 2018; 5 days ago (2018-11-13)[29]
macOS8.34.0.78 / 13 November 2018; 5 days ago (2018-11-13)[29]
Linux8.34.0.78 / 13 November 2018; 5 days ago (2018-11-13)[29]
Android 6 and later8.34.0.78 / 13 November 2018; 5 days ago (2018-11-13)[30]
iOS & watchOS8.34.0.78 / 13 November 2018; 5 days ago (2018-11-13)[30]
Freemium adware
Spark (XMPP client) Ignite Realtime 2006-09 Single-protocol 2.7.7 (April 24, 2016; 2 years ago (2016-04-24)) [±] Apache License
Surespot Surespot LLC 2013 Single-protocol iOS 11 (September 24, 2015; 3 years ago (2015-09-24)[31]) [±]

Android 63 (October 9, 2015; 3 years ago (2015-10-09)[32]) [±]

GPLv3
Telegram Telegram Messenger LLP 2013 Single-protocol
Android, Original4.9.1 / 28 August 2018; 2 months ago (2018-08-28)[33]
Android, Telegram X0.21.1.1010 / 20 October 2018; 29 days ago (2018-10-20)[34]
iOS, Original5.0.17 / 13 November 2018; 5 days ago (2018-11-13)[35]
iOS, Telegram X5.0.17 / 12 November 2018; 6 days ago (2018-11-12)[36]
Windows Phone3.4.0 / 12 October 2018; 37 days ago (2018-10-12)[37]
Windows, macOS, Linux1.4.3 / 14 October 2018; 35 days ago (2018-10-14)[38]
macOS (Mac App Store version)4.6.1 / 9 November 2018; 9 days ago (2018-11-09)[39]
GPLv2, GPLv3[40]
Tencent QQ Tencent Holdings 1999-02 Single-protocol See current releases Adware
TextSecure Open Whisper Systems 2010-05 Single-protocol Discontinued (merged with RedPhone to become Signal) GPLv3
Threema Threema GmbH 2012-12 Single-protocol iOS
3.0.8 (March 20, 2018; 7 months ago (2018-03-20)) [±] [41]

Android
3.41 (March 13, 2018; 8 months ago (2018-03-13)) [±] [42]

Windows Phone
2.3.0 (May 14, 2018; 6 months ago (2018-05-14)) [±] [43]


Proprietary commercial software
Tkabber Alexey Shchepin 2002-07-03 Single-protocol 1.1.2 (May 10, 2015; 3 years ago (2015-05-10)) GPL
Tox Tox Foundation 2013 Single-protocol GPLv3
Trillian Cerulean Studios 2000-07-01 Multi-protocol Windows:

6.1 (build 17) (September 4, 2018; 2 months ago (2018-09-04)) [±]

Mac OS X:
6.1.1 (September 19, 2018; 60 days ago (2018-09-19)) [±]

Linux:
6.1 (build 5) (February 27, 2018; 8 months ago (2018-02-27)) [±]

Android:
6.1.0.18 (September 13, 2018; 2 months ago (2018-09-13)) [±]

iOS:
6.1.3 (March 26, 2018; 7 months ago (2018-03-26)) [±]

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

Web-Based:
6.1.0.9 (October 17, 2018; 32 days ago (2018-10-17)) [±]

Server:
6.0 (build 14) (September 5, 2017; 14 months ago (2017-09-05)) [±]

Freemium adware
Tuenti Tuenti 2006 Multi-protocol Proprietary
Upptalk Upptalk 2010 Dual-protocol iOS 2.4 (November 26, 2014; 3 years ago (2014-11-26)[44]) [±]

Android 2.0.2 (February 12, 2014; 4 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; 5 years ago (2013-05-31)) [±]
Kindle Fire 2.0 (December 19, 2013; 4 years ago (2013-12-19)[45]) [±]

Freeware
Viber Talmon Marco, Igor Magazinnik, Sani Maroli and Ofer Smocha 2010-12-02 Single-protocol
  • Android:
    9.5.0.6 (August 21, 2018; 2 months ago (2018-08-21)[46]) [±]
  • iOS:
    8.7.1 (April 21, 2018; 6 months ago (2018-04-21)[47]) [±]
  • Windows Mobile:
    6.6.1 (April 26, 2018; 6 months ago (2018-04-26)[48]) [±]
  • BlackBerry 10 OS:
    4.3.0.728 (April 23, 2014; 4 years ago (2014-04-23)[49]) [±]
Freemium
WeChat Tencent Holdings 2011-01 Single-protocol
iOS6.7.2 / August 10, 2018; 3 months ago (2018-08-10)[50][51]
macOS2.3.13 / May 3, 2018; 6 months ago (2018-05-03)[52]
Android6.7.3 / October 10, 2018; 39 days ago (2018-10-10)[53]
Windows 10 Mobile, Windows Phone 86.0.8[54]
Symbian V34.2 / February 4, 2013; 5 years ago (2013-02-04)[55]
Symbian V54.2 / January 17, 2013; 5 years ago (2013-01-17)[56]


Freeware
WhatsApp Facebook, Inc. 2009-08 Single-protocol
iOS2.18.102 / November 14, 2018; 4 days ago (2018-11-14)[57]
Android2.18.341 / November 9, 2018; 9 days ago (2018-11-09)[58]
Windows Phone 8, Windows 10 Mobile2.18.52[59]
Symbian2.16.57[60]
BlackBerry2.17.2 / June 26, 2016; 2 years ago (2016-06-26)[61]
Freeware
Wickr Wickr Inc. 2012-06 Single-protocol
  • Android:
    2.6.3 (March 1, 2016; 2 years ago (2016-03-01)) [±]
  • iOS:
    2.6.3 (March 1, 2016; 2 years ago (2016-03-01)) [±]
  • Windows:
    2.6.0 [±]
  • Mac OS X:
    2.6.0 [±]
  • Linux:
    2.6.0 [±]
Trialware
Windows Live Messenger Microsoft 1999-07 Dual-protocol 2012 (v16.4.3508.205) (April 8, 2013; 5 years ago (2013-04-08)) [±] Discontinued (was freeware)
Wire Wire Swiss GmbH 2014-12-03 Single-protocol
  • iOS: 2.2
  • Android: 2.3
  • OS X: 2.5
  • Windows: 2.6ch
  • Web: 2016-04-08
GPLv3
Xabber Redsolution Inc. 2011 Single-protocol GPLv3
Xfire Xfire Inc. 2004 Dual-protocol 1.155 (March 20, 2013; 5 years ago (2013-03-20)) [±] Discontinued (was freeware)
Yahoo! Messenger Yahoo! 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 Single-protocol 2.0 MIT
Client Publisher First public release Type Latest stable version License

Operating system support

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 No 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
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 Yes No 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][63] 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
Ring Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No No No No No No No No
RingID Yes[64] 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[65] Yes[65] Partial[d][66] No No No Yes No Yes No No No No Dropped[66] 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[67] 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[68] No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No
WhatsApp 8+[69] Yes[69] No No No 8.1+[70] Yes To be discontinued in 2017[71] Yes To be discontinued in 2017[71] 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

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
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[79] 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[80] 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
Ring 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[81] Yes Yes Yes[l] No Yes[l] Yes[j][l] Yes[j][l] No[82][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]
  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

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

(XEP-0045)
Link-local
(XEP-0174)
Jingle
(XEP-0166)
File transfer[b] Voice calls
Video calls
Adium Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
BitlBee Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Bombus[83] No Yes Yes No No No No
climm No Yes No No No No No
Coccinella[84] Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No
Conversations No No Yes No Yes No No
Telepathy-based[c][85] No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gajim[86] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Except Windows
Jitsi No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
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
MCabber[87] No No Yes No No No No
Miranda IM Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Nimbuzz Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Pidgin[88] Yes Yes Yes Yes Partial[89] Except Windows[e] Except Windows[e]
Psi Yes Yes Yes Yes No Plug-in Plug-in
Spark (XMPP client) Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Plug-in Plug-in
Tkabber[90] Yes Yes Yes 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

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[97]
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 ? ? ?
Ring ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
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 [98] 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[99] 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 No 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 ? ? ? ?
Ring ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
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

Messengers with client-to-client encryption

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 name Encrypted by default Development status Open source client[a] Decentralized[b] Servers Contact verification[c] Encryption ciphers Forward secrecy[d] Multiple encryption[e][f] Encrypted groupchat[g] Encrypted file transfer[g] Public key and IP unrelated[h] Proxy /Tor[i] Transport[j] Asynchronous encryp. communication[k] Encrypted client data[l] Screenshot protection[m] Self-destructing messages[m]
Open source Distributed Federated Data Symmetric[e][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 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 Yes No Yes[100] Yes[t] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes[t] Optional ? ? ? Optional ? ? ? No ? ? No
Conversations allows unencrypted Active Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Stored; not client-side encrypted[101] Stored[101] No Yes Yes[t] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Depends Optional Optional Yes Optional Optional ? ? ? Optional ? ? No
Cryptocat Yes Active Yes No ? ? No No Yes[102] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes[102] Yes[102] No groupchat Yes[102] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
FireChat[103] allows unencrypted[u] Active No Yes N/A N/A N/A No ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Includes groupchat, but it is not encrypted ? ? No ? ? ? Yes ? ? No
iMessage[104] allows unencrypted[v] Active No[104] No No ? No Optional No[100] ? ? Yes[105] ? ? ? ? ? ? No[104] ? Depends[106] Yes[107] ? No ? ? ? Yes ? No No
Line[108][109] Yes Active No No No Yes[110] No Stored; not client-side encrypted[110] Stored[110] Optional No ? ? ? ? Yes[111] ? ? ECC-256[111] N/A No ? Yes[109] ? ? No ? ? ? Yes No No No
RetroShare Yes Active Yes[w] Yes N/A N/A N/A No Yes[100] Yes ? Yes ? ? No No ? ? Yes[100] Yes Yes Yes Optional Optional Yes Yes No Yes Yes ? ?
Ring Yes[112] Active Yes[w] Yes Stored[113] No ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Ricochet Yes Active Yes Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A No No[114] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes[114] No[114] No groupchat No Yes Yes ? ? ? No No[114] No No
Sicher Yes Active No[w] No No ? No ? Yes ? Yes ? ? No No RSA-2048[115] N/A No No Yes Yes No No Yes No No ? Yes ? Yes
Signal Yes[x] Active Yes[w] No Yes Yes[116] No[117] Stored; client-side encrypted[118] Not stored[119] Not stored[119][120] No Yes[100] Yes ? ? No Yes No No ECC-256[121] N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[122] Yes[122] No Yes Yes[y] Yes Yes
Silent Phone Yes Active Viewable source[123] No No No No Stored[124] Not stored[] Not stored[] ? Yes[100] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes[100] Yes[125] Yes[126] Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ? Yes Yes[] Yes Yes
Surespot Yes Active Yes[w] No No ? No Stored; client-side encrypted[127] Stored[127] Stored[127] No Yes[100] Yes ? No ? Yes[128] No No ECC-521[128] N/A Yes No No groupchat No No ? Yes No No ? ? ? No
Threema Yes Active Partially[z][129] No No ? No Stored; client-side encrypted[130] Not stored[130] Not stored[130] Optional Yes[100] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? No[aa] ? Yes Yes ? ? ? ? ? Yes Yes ? No
Tox Yes Active Yes[w] Yes 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][131] Active No No No ? No Stored; not client-side encrypted[132] Stored[132] Stored[132] Optional Yes[133] ? ? ? ? Yes[133] ? ? ECC-256[133] N/A Yes[133] ? Depends[133][134] Yes[133] ? No ? ? ? Yes[133] ? No No
WhatsApp Yes Active Partially[z][135] No No Yes No Stored; not client-side encrypted[136] Stored[136] Stored[136] Optional, icloud backup is encrypyed by phone#[137] Yes[135] Yes[135] ? ? ? Yes[135] ? ? ECC-256[135] N/A Yes[135] Yes[135] Yes[135] Yes[135] Yes[135] No ? ? ? Yes[135] No No No
Wickr Me Yes Active Partially[z][138] No No ? No Stored; not client-side encrypted[139] Not stored[140] Not stored[140] Yes[141] ? ? ? ? Yes[141] No No ECC-521[141] N/A Yes[141] Yes[141] Yes ? ? No Yes ? ? Yes Yes[141] Capture notification[142] Yes
Wickr Pro Yes Active Partially[z][143] No No ? No Stored; not client-side encrypted[139] Not stored[140] Not stored[140] Yes[141] ? ? ? ? Yes[141] No No ECC-521[141] N/A Yes[141] Yes[141] Yes ? ? No Yes ? ? Yes Yes[141] ? Yes
Wire Yes Active Yes[144] No Yes[145] ? No[145] Stored; not client-side encrypted[146] Stored[146] Stored[146] No Yes[147] Yes[148] ? ? ? Yes[148] ? ? ECC-256[148] N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes[149] ? No Yes[148] Yes[148] ? Yes Yes[] No Yes[150]
TextSecure Yes Discontinued[ac] Yes[w][151] Partially[ad] Yes[ad] Yes Yes, briefly[ad] N/A Not stored Not stored No Yes[100] Yes ? ? No Yes No No ECC-256[121] N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No Yes[152] Yes Yes No
WASTE Yes Discontinued Yes[w] Yes N/A N/A N/A No Yes ? ? ? No No ? ? No No No Yes No No Yes No No ? ? ? ? ?
Adium No Active Yes[w] Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes[t] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes[t] ? ? Yes[t] ? ? ? ? ? No No No No
Google Allo (incognito mode)[153] No Active Partially[z] No No Yes[154] No No ? Yes ? ? ? Yes ? ? ECC-256 N/A Yes Yes Optional ? ? No ? ? ? Yes ? ? Yes
Facebook Messenger (secret conversations)[155] No Active Partially[z][156] No No Yes[157] No Stored; not client-side encrypted Stored No Yes[156] Yes[156] ? ? ? Yes[156] ? ? ECC-256[156] N/A Yes[156] Yes Includes groupchat, but it is not encrypted[158] ? ? No ? ? ? Yes Yes[156] ? Yes[156]
Gajim No Active Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes[t] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes[t] Optional Optional[ae] Yes ? No ? ? ? Optional ? ? No
Jitsi No Active Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes[100] Yes[t] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes[t] ? ? Yes[t] ? ? ? ? ? No ? No No
KakaoTalk (secret chats)[159] No Active No ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Kopete[af] No Active Yes[w] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[t] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes[t] ? Includes groupchat, but it is not encrypted Yes[t] ? ? ? ? ? No No ? ?
Miranda IM No Active Yes[w] Yes ? ? ? Yes[160] Yes[161] ? Optional[ae][162] ? ? ? ? ECC-192[162] ? ? ? ? Yes[163] ? ? Yes ? ? ? ? ? ?
Pidgin No Active Yes[w] Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes[100] Yes[t][164] ? Optional[ae][165] ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes[t][164] ? ? Yes[164] ? ? Yes ? ? Optional[ag] ? ? ?
Riot.im No Active, public beta Yes 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 No Yes No Stored; not client-side encrypted Not stored[166] Stored[166] No Yes[100] Yes ? Yes ? No No No RSA-2048[167] 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 ? ? Yes[t] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Client name Encrypted by default Development status Open source client[a] Decentralized[b] Servers Contact verification[c] Encryption ciphers Forward secrecy[d] Multiple encryption[e][f] Encrypted groupchat[g] Encrypted file transfer[g] Public key and IP unrelated[h] Proxy /Tor[i] Transport[j] Asynchronous encryp. communication[k] Encrypted client data[l] Screenshot protection[m] Self-destructing messages[m]
Open source Distributed Federated Data Symmetric[e][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

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.

Messengers with no encryption

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

Notes
  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 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.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ 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).
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ a b Proxies and Tor might prevent an IP from being related to the public key.
  10. ^ a b Not all messengers support the same transport protocols like TCP, UDP and SCTP.
  11. ^ a b Lets users exchange encrypted messages asynchronously, i.e. participants do not have to be online at the same time.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ a b c d Screenshot protection and self-destructing messages provide only basic protection against casual/inadvertent logging of messages by users.
  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 c 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

References

  1. ^ "History of Instant Messaging". The University Of Texas At Austin Graduate School Of Library & Information Science. Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ "History of Instant Messaging". The top 6 best Instant Message client apps on any platform. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ "ANNOUNCE: Empathy 3.12.12". 13 May 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ "Gajim, and XMPP client". News section. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ "Google Allo". APKMirror. Android Police. March 1, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  6. ^ "Google Allo". App Store. Apple Inc. January 23, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  7. ^ "hike messenger". Play Store. Google. Retrieved 2014.
  8. ^ "hike messenger". Windows Phone Marketplace. Microsoft. Retrieved 2014.
  9. ^ "hike messenger". BlackBerry World. Retrieved 2014.
  10. ^ "hike messenger". iTunes Store. Apple Inc. Retrieved 2014.
  11. ^ "KDE Update Announcement". Retrieved 2015.
  12. ^ "Miranda IM [r14691] v0.10.80". Miranda IM. 24 April 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  13. ^ "Nimbuzz Messenger on Google Play". Google Play Store. Nimbuzz B.V. Retrieved 2018.
  14. ^ "Nimbuzz Messenger". iTunes Store. Nimbuzz B.V. Retrieved 2018.
  15. ^ "BlackBerry World - Nimbuzz Messenger". BlackBerry World. Nimbuzz B.V. Retrieved 2018.
  16. ^ "Nimbuzz". Windows Phone. Nimbuzz B.V. Retrieved 2018.
  17. ^ Kramlich, Gary (2018-03-08). "Pidgin 2.13.0 has been released!!". Announce. Retrieved .
  18. ^ "Announcement: QuteCom 2.2.1". Archived from the original on 2 April 2013.
  19. ^ "Releases". ricochet.im. Retrieved 2016.
  20. ^ "ringID". Play Store. Google. Retrieved 2016.
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