Telegram, Signal, Jami, Threema, or...?

Like others, WhatsApp’s recent decision to change its T&Cs, allowing itself to share data with Facebook, has prompted me to move to an alternative. Fortunately the WhatsApp groups I participate in are open to the idea of moving to an alternative, but the tough question is which one?

There’s an interesting discussion going on in the French Language forum (which I’m trying my best to follow :slight_smile:) about WhatsApp, Signal & Telegram. There’s a useful thread on Threema also, which I had not come across before. Finally an internet search turned up Jami which looks interesting, being FOSS, and peer-to-peer with no central server needed.

The groups involved are not very technically minded (a Tai Chi group and a tennis club), so the chosen alternative must be easy to set up, use and maintain. I would be interested in any feedback on any of the above. And I’ll reluctantly accept any suggestions of a completely different solution :slight_smile:

Thanks in advance


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Hello Pete @petefoth

I’m using Signal and would say it is very similar to Whatsapp, no need to be a tech to understand it. I use it to exchange with family members who are not at all tech oriented, including my parents, and everything goes smoothly.
So I would definitely recommend it to you for your Tai Chi and tennis club groups.

Have a nice evening,



Pete, you’ll probably find tons of reviews and opinions on messengers. Here I just give you mine:

  • Signal and Threema are ‘gold’ standard in terms of privacy. Any of them is perfect, but those two are offering good usability and pretty good privacy.
  • Of what I heard, look and feel of Signal and Telegram is pretty close to WA.
  • Telegram has a very useful feature (well, not in terms of privacy), all conversations are backed up on Telegram servers, you just login and continue where you started earlier, old messages are not getting lost - and you can work on Telegram via mobile and desktop apps (IOS, Windows, Linux, Mac, Android) and you can use all of them in parallel.
  • Telegram is widely used for larger groups (as the /e/ support technical groups).
  • Threema is a paid app.
  • Of what I’ve seen, Threema has a clearest business model (ThreemaWork - messenging services for companies). Signal is a Non-Profit. Telegram says its sponsored by its inventor and announced ads in large public channels.
  • Need more criteria to make a decision?

I am using all three and I like all three. I tested others, but those feel right for me and at least partly they are used by my contacts as well. (Don’t know anyone using Jami…)
I’d say: Just install them, test them and take the one that feels right for you.


I have a small but (for me) important annotation.

While I prefer Signal, it doesn’t offer a webclient. Threema and Telegram do. This may be important for your decision.

Signal has a good Desktop client for macOS, Windows and Debian based Distros and I think some community maintained ports (I can use it on Solus x64, but not on my PineBook).

Yes, and the special (platform dependent) apps for iPad and Linux require a coupling with a mobile phone which also has Signal installed. This coupling failed in my case multiple times.

In my opinion with Threema and Signal you can have the best messengers on one device.

Don’t forget TwinMe,simpel and no need for phonenumber or e-mailaddress.
Open Source,no servers(only to connect).

Thanks for all your input. One group is now moving to Telegram and the other is making up its collective mind :slight_smile:

Several of the others suggestions look fine, but Telegram has the advantage that some group members are using it already.

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I am wondering why nobody mentioned !!
Using the network.


I recommend Delta Chat (Communicate instantly via e-mail) -

Delta Chat is a messaging app that is completely compatible with the existing
e-mail infrastructure.

So, with Delta Chat you get the ease of well-known messengers with the reach of
e-mail. Moreover, you’re independent from other companies or services – as your
data are not related to Delta Chat, you won’t even add new dependencies here.

Some features at a glance:

  • decentralized (
  • Secure with automatic end-to-end-encryption, supporting the new Autocrypt standard
  • Fast by the use of Push-IMAP
  • Largest userbase – receivers not using Delta Chat can be reached as well
  • Compatible – not only to itself
  • Elegant and simple user interface
  • Distributed system
  • No Spam – only messages of known users are shown by default
  • Reliable – safe for professional use
  • Trustworthy – can even be used for business messages
  • Fully OpenSource and Standards based
  • group chats
  • voice & video messages
  • on demand location streaming
  • runs on iOS, Android, Mac, Linux, Windows
  • Disappearing messages (burn after reading)
  • Video chats
  • you can use multiple accounts (e.g. one for business, one for private, …)
  • no share of contacts
  • supports bots for versatile tasks — from quiz games to news channels, from sending daily reminders to managing large public groups … (

Quicksy! It’s easy to work with

Thanks, I already use Element for irc, but in this case it’s a bit too “techy” (in my judgement) for the target audience. As mentioned above, it looks like we’re going with Telegram

Thanks. Quicksy looks good, but seems to be Android only. I should have mentioned that the target group will have a mix of phones, and any solution needs to be cross-platform. As mentioned above, we’ve decided to go with Telegram

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Nice,but probably a bit “techy” for the target audience. Thanks for the suggestion though

Since I am using it with elderly people I am not really sure that it is complicated. However, I am biased. Would you mind to tell me what is more techy there than Signal, Telegram et al.? Recently I started element too. Element is more powerful but that is what I would call techy (albeit great).

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Signal coupling always worked for me here ; the key point I think is more the fact that Signal actually is developed with the idea that it is associated to a phone number. They go to impressive extents to demonstrate that they themselves cannot know your phone # while being capable to safely connect it, and that indeed is an impressive achevement.
But your Signal instance is basically related to your phone. You couldn’t have Signal without a phone.

Now, Signal installs in an extremely simple way, it sports a really large range of features (including videoconferencing!), it’s open source and developed by German credible guys… that’s a lot of convincing features!
I am on Signal, and while in the beginning I really only used it for very specific conversations (some important foreign customers, my elected administrator in the large company I work in), I discover that more and more of my correspondents and friends progressively appear to install it. So, there is a small bur real progressive adoption.

Jami, a Canadian open source development, is to me “technically the next convincing step” : to Signal privacy it adds the independence from a central server : not only nobody could “kill” the service by banning the server, but compared to Signal where nobody can know what you say but some can see who you are calling, Jami prevents such a detection by design.
So it is the next step in safety and in privacy.
In addition Jami is not requiring a phone number, indeed you can have a Windows Jami, a Linux Jami, and Android Jami instance, all separate or all sharing the same identity.
I think this is safer and simpler. But for groups that use to call each other primarily on GSMs this shouldn’t count much.
I come to the nasty feature just at the end : installing Jami is a bit more complicated that Signal.
Indeed it’s (only) like facebook & all : you must create an identity, in various steps, which results in a specific ‘signature file’ only present on your machine.
Actually the steps are reasonable (for instance on a phone the said signature file won’t even appear to you if you dont’ look for it, it’s transparent), but probably these steps will look annoying, and maybe more prone to errors in the setting up.
I’m on Jami too, definitely appreciate it, but have really few correspondents.

Just tested Jami. Super easy to setup. User name, password, name (optional ). Thats it. Nice.

er, @Tyxo, which one did you test?

Ups, referred to Jami

When you run Delta for the first time it asks for Email address and existing password. If I do that giving my main email address and password then I get an error message saying

Configuration failed. Error: could not find your mail server
Please check your internet connection

I think that the problem is that my everyday email server is not on the same domain as my email address (though it does work if I use my address, where the server domain is not the same as the email domain, so maybe it’s a different problem :slight_smile:)

Telegram (if I remember correctly - I don’t want to uninstall then install again just to check) just asks you for your mobile number, sends a verification text, and you are up and running. No idea how Signal works first time, because I’ve not tried it and because Telegram looks like it fits the bill.

The show stopper with Delta Chat for these groups is that it works via email, and at least two group members don’t have email!