Messaging apps are available to iPhone, Android users amid outages – USA TODAY

There are a number of apps available to Android and iPhone users amid a nationwide telecommunication outage affecting tens of thousands of AT&T customers


A nationwide telecommunication outage largely affecting AT&T customers is also impacting both iPhone and Android users, but there are a number of messaging platforms that can help when cellphone networks go down.

Apple’s app store and Android’s Google Play store both have applications that allow users to communicate over Wi-Fi, even if they don’t have the same type of phone.

Applications like WhatsApp, Telegram, Skype, Kik, Facebook Messenger, Discord, Signal, Slack, Snapchat, Viber, Voxer and Signal Private Messenger are some of the many messaging platforms available.

Communications platform Rocket.Chat said there are five things people should look for when downloading a messaging platform: price, the ability to connect with anyone, rich media support, level of data privacy and user-friendliness.

Here’s what else you need to know about your options.

WhatsApp a ‘juggernaut’ but may be susceptible,

WhatsApp and Telegram lead various outlets and blog lists for the top messaging platforms for 2024. WhatsApp is an instant messaging and voiceover platform, while Telegram is a “cloud-based and cross-platform encrypted messaging system.” Both applications are available to Android and iPhone users

PCMag ranked WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal Private Messenger as its top three messaging platforms.

The magazine called WhatsApp “a juggernaut” due to the platform’s “kind of widespread adoption technology companies dream of.” The application had two billion monthly active users worldwide in 2023, according to Statista.

The magazine’s pros about the free platform include its enormous popularity, ability to make voice and video calls, and its “fun and lively stickers.” Notable cons of WhatsApp include that it requires a phone number and contact list to function, and backups may be susceptible to surveillance, according to the magazine.

Telegram is ‘wholly unique’ for creating communities

Meanwhile Telegram has “over 700 millionmonthly active users and is one of the 10 most downloaded applications in the world,” according to the company’s FAQ page.

Telegram “has taken the idea of instant messaging and evolved it into something wholly unique,” PCMag wrote.

“With Telegram, you can talk to your friends, sure, but you can also create communities, post what are effectively blog posts, hold live streams, and so on,” the magazine said. “It’s a dizzying experience, but one that’s marred by decisions that mean it has fewer security assurances than other apps.”

Pros of Telegram include its “excellent design,” interactive emoji stickers, its group and channel social features and its ability to record voice, video and live stream. Some cons for the application include its “poor discovery tools,” “light hand on moderation” and that not all of its messages are as encrypted compared to other applications, according to the magazine.

Lifewire, Zapier, Digital Trends and Rocket.Chat also have Telegram and WhatsApp on its top messaging application lists. Facebook Messenger is another popular application on the outlet’s lists.

Messenger allows instant messaging, but Rocket.Chat said users will need a Facebook account and it does not have end-to-end encryption, which prevents third parties from accessing data.

Messaging apps need Wi-Fi, experience outages

Before clicking the download button, iPhone and Android users need to know a couple of things, including that messaging applications also experience outages.

Two years ago, WhatsApp underwent a two-hour outage worldwide and Downdetector showed that more than 68,000 users were experiencing issues in the United Kingdom at the time, the Guardian reported.

While a spokesperson for WhatsApp parent company, Meta Platforms, apologized for the outage, they did not explain what caused it.

In addition to possible outages, most messaging platforms require Wi-Fi, which is needed when service is down.

There are a couple of applications that don’t need Wi-Fi, including Bridgefy, Briar and Bluetooth Chat, according to Sinch Engage. These applications use Bluetooth or a direct Wi-Fi connection to operate, the German software company said.