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6 Reasons Why Messaging Apps Are Popular

Originally Posted By Naomi Barnett  | May 22, 2015  | 5-min read
Abs on August 18, 2020  
Messaging app - Appy Pie

What makes messaging apps so popular?

Numerous chatting apps have gained recognition over the past decade and a half. Chatting apps closely trail social media apps in installs on the Google Play and the Apple App Store.

A List of the best live chat apps includes Facebook Messenger, iMessage, WhatsApp, Telegram, Skype, WeChat, Viber, and a few more.

They have made a significant impact on all spheres of communication – business and personal. Their ubiquity adds to their utility, and they have all but obliterated MMS and SMS. If you want to create your own app here’s our guide on how to create a chat app. Let us move on and learn a bit more on chatting apps.
Messaging App - Appy Pie

A Brief History of Chatting Software and Applications

The live chatting app industry evolved quite slowly. The first of its kind was ICQ Chat that was a desktop client for anonymous communication. The public was hooked on chatting using Yahoo and Google Chat by the early 2000s. It was one of the rare things that could happen smoothly over a 56-kbps dialup line of yore.

The emergence of Skype in 2003 was a game-changer. They showed the world how to create a messaging app with native audio and video support. Skype was also excellent at small file transfers – a feature that developers back then did not consider relevant for a chat app.

The live chat feature was adopted rather quickly by businesses to send a screenshot or reminder to another part of a building instead of picking up a phone or hand delivering it.

As smartphones became popular post-2010, apps like WhatsApp adopted the original ideas for a newer device and the industry has since followed making newer instant messengers such as Facebook messenger. These have become more well known over the software counterparts, however, the app versions of software like Skype continue to hold their own as a video conferencing solution.

Best Chatting Apps – A Brief Guide

There are hundreds of chatting apps out there. Some are specialized e.g. Slack for the workplace and Discord for gaming. If you want to build a real-time chat app, a niche is probably what you should aim for. Check out Appy Pie AppMakr if you want to create your own chatting apps. In fact, here’s a video to help you create a messenger and chatting app.

(Above video is a part of a more elaborate course on Academy by Appy Pie. To access the complete course, please Click Here, or continue reading below.)

If you want to create your own chat app, you must know what makes the existing apps popular. Here’s a list of the best chat apps of 2020.

  1. iMessage
  2. With 1.3 billion users, it is one of the biggest in the business. It is incompatible with Android and Windows.

    Used mainly by iPhone users, it is a serious contender for the top spot in the US but not in the rest of the world where buyers have no access to expensive carrier subsidized phones.

    Introduced by Apple in 2011, it replaced iChat across iPhones, iPads, iPods, Apple Watch, and of course, Mac devices. If anyone can develop an iMessage replica for Android, it is bound to be a hit.


    • The iMessage does not allow video or audio calls. Those features belong to Facetime App from Apple.
    • It is easy to replace SMS and MMS with iMessage. If a user has no active internet connection, the SMS protocol sends the message.
    • Other than chat, it allows documents, audio, videos, and photo transfer. PDF and executable files are not allowed. Of course, you can send text files from PDF.
    • The size of file transfer is 100 MB.
    • Messages can contain several screen effects and animations.
    • Installation is done using both phone number and Apple ID.

  3. Facebook Messenger
  4. Judging by the number of installs, Messenger is the biggest chat app with at least 1.82 billion users as of 2017. However, that is not entirely accurate as it is installed by default with the Facebook app.

    There is also a discrete install for both Android and iOS. The standalone version is available as both full-featured, and a lite stripped-down version.


    • It uses astonishingly little data – an aim the developers had in mind when creating a Messenger app for Android.
    • The Messenger looks remarkably like iMessage with a plain white background and blue message bubbles.
    • Supports both audio and video calling. Supports all file types except PDF. Zipped files cannot be sent through Messenger.
    • Attachment Size is severely limited to 25 MB. This is because unlike other messaging clients Messenger does not download the file on the device.
    • Can share your live location with a contact.
    • The size of the emojis can be adjusted.
    • Messenger is not encrypted apart from Secret Conversation.
    • Possible to run polls in groups to find the majority view.

  5. WhatsApp
  6. Like Xerox, WhatsApp has become a verb from a noun – WhatsApp me! It is probably only the second brand name in history to achieve this feat.

    With a pleasant dark green on as white background, it is easy on the eyes – a feature not shared by Messenger and iMessage.


    • WhatsApp works on all operating systems apart from Linux. It is also available as a desktop client for Windows 8 and OS X (and higher).
    • Typing using a browser web client and QR code login is easy.
    • Groups can be formed with up to 256 members making it the ideal broadcast app.
    • Backup uses the phone’s operating system-based cloud – Google for Android, Apple for iOS. WhatsApp does not back up chat.
    • Privacy can be controlled to a degree by turning off “Last Seen.”
    • Read receipts can be disabled, but delivery receipts are always operational.
    • The maximum file size for Android is 100 MB, and iOS is 128 MB.
    • Can take a picture from the camera button inside the chat.
    • Extensive collection of emojis.
    • A recent feature – WhatsApp status – up to 700 characters long and images or short videos can be shared with selected contacts. They delete after 24 hours and are the same as Stories on Facebook and Instagram.

  7. Telegram
  8. Created by Pavel Durov, Telegram is the only messaging app whose client-side code is open source and available on Github. You can build your own chat app add-ons by using the repository code.

    Though launched in 2013, it has a meager 400 million users because most think of it as a WhatsApp clone. However, the app has some exciting innovations.

    The most significant appeal of Telegram lies for those using dating apps and want to carry the conversation through a richer UX than Tinder or OkCupid but not divulge phone number or use Instagram DM.


    • Telegram focuses on privacy. That is why chat cannot be exported, unlike WhatsApp.
    • There is no web client but a desktop client.
    • Unlike WhatsApp, images sent cannot be downloaded but have to be viewed inside the application. Same with videos. It, however, allows the user to download the profile image of the contact.
    • It allows search for contacts using both phone and username. The username can be changed as often as needed. Thus, the same Telegram account registered to a phone can be used for different contacts with a different username.
    • Nearly everything can be hidden. Profile picture, the phone number, last seen status, online status. Unlike WhatsApp, it does not pinpoint the last moment contact was seen in HH: MM format but uses seen recently, past week, past month, long time ago.
    • The account has an auto-delete feature if unused for a certain amount of time, particularly useful for postmortem security.
    • Any member of a chat can delete any or all of the conversation, for both. This “nuke chat” option is preferable when complete privacy is required.

Why Are Chatting Apps So Popular?

We learned about the history of chat applications and what the most popular chat apps are. We finally come to what makes them popular. Everything given below is supported in one form or the other by almost every chat app.

  • Non-intrusive
  • Want to ask your husband to wear formals tonight? No need to call him in the middle of a meeting. Just send a message. Chatting apps are completely non-intrusive. He’ll get a notification that he can read whenever he’s free.

  • Audio Support
  • If used with a 4G connection or fast Wi-Fi, the chatting apps also allow calls with quite decent clarity. International calling is free using a messaging app (apart from the meager data used). Considering the massive expense of international calling, it is no wonder that messengers are so popular.

  • Video Support
  • Say hello to your friends, family, or boss using a video feed from the front camera. Video conferencing came to the masses with Skype and later WhatsApp. A video call brings family members who are apart, close together in a way that voice calls cannot.

  • File Transfer
  • All chat applications allow you to transmit files to your contacts. The size may vary depending on the particular app, but if you want to send a dozen pictures of your vacations, they always suffice.

  • Backup
  • The most significant disadvantage of SMS and MMS was the lack of backup. From time to time, various cell phone manufacturers introduced their own modules for extracting SMS and storing it on a laptop. Still, the file could not be migrated to a model from another company.

  • Easy Set Up
  • Even now, you have to tap “Auto Retrieve MMS” when you buy a new smartphone. In earlier phones, it was a pain to enter MMS access point names and get it to work while roaming. Messenger clients need almost no set up. Just install, register, login, and you are set.

    With so much functionality from one app, it is no wonder that they are so popular.

What lies ahead in the future for messaging apps

If you are questioning yourself how to make a messaging app that differentiates itself, the answer is easy to find.

Though feature-rich, most messaging apps could do with some improvement. The first and most essential is the ability to customize the app. Most of them are rather drab and lack adequate shortcuts.

The menu is likewise hard to understand for the average user. There are layers of sub-menus that hide essential privacy features.

Another useful feature would be a personal message tone for a particular contact and a large file transfer size of 250 MB.

It might seem there are too many, but it would be nice to have one that has all the features yet allows reasonable anonymity if required. Get on Appy Pie AppMakr for free and start creating your own chat app today!

Leave a comment and tell us what you think is the next big feature for messaging apps.

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