editors-choice

The Best Apps to Use Your Phone as a Walkie-Talkie

It’s all been about finally ditching the idea of walkie-talkie. The phones became smaller, then bigger but stronger. The newly emerged etiquette requires texting before calling on the phone since both can be done within the same messenger app. But suddenly it turned out that the idea of the walkie-talkie, with one participant talking at a time, is still required, and probably even less than before.

The first reason for that is obvious. The devices we have are equally good for texting and speaking our messages, but the human part of us finds it easier and quicker to speak than to type. So one-way voice messages are the feature supported in most messengers, and clouds are capable to store centuries of the spoken word.

The second is about ethos again. Most of us have busy days, and duplex communication needs to be scheduled suitable for the two participants. Exchanging voice messages, just the opposite, lets each of the two find the best time to listen and to answer, regardless of what the other is doing at the moment.

It’s so demanded now that even Apple has Internet-based Walkie-Talkie mode built into watchOS 5. As for phones, neither iOS nor Android comes equipped with apps for that from the start. But there are always third-party apps for that. The only inconvenience is that all the participants need to have the app installed. The rest is pure convenience we love this class of devices for. So, here are the best walkie-talkie apps for Android and iOS.

Zello

Zello app screenshot

(Android, iOS, Windows Phone)

So far, it’s the default online walkie-talkie for both private and group communication. Its easy interface and rich features show right as you enter the app. This app is free and available for most platforms (even for Windows Phone, doomed and abandoned).
It’s been around for years; so whatever you want to talk about, you’ll find a channel on this in your language. And if suddenly there isn’t one, you can create your own.

The app is quite flexible in settings. For example, you can adjust the volume for any participant of the chat. That can be useful, because each participant has a unique manner of speaking.

As soon as participants of the chat open the app, they receive the messages from the chats they are in. That guarantees that no message will be lost, even if you open it much later. The service is also capable of sending texts, pictures, and alerts.

Voxer

Voxer app screenshot

(Android, iOS)

Well, though this app looks like a typical messenger of 2010s, inspired by WhatsApp and its likes, it’s still a walkie-talkie, and its features are about as rich as those of Zello. It’s an alternative one, better for private chats or closer groups of friends and colleagues. In the free version, it supports private chats and groups. Public channels are not supported. On the other hand, it offers encryption for all the messages you send and receive.

Its premium tools set includes useful features like instant voice-to-text transcription, quoting earlier messages from chats (including other ones), hands-free manner of usage, and so on. The subscription is $3/mo or $30/yr; quite affordable for business needs.

Two Way

Two Way app screenshot

(Android, iOS)

If you just need the basic functionality of walkie-talkie, that’s the app. No extras like images or texting; app stores are full of conventional messengers for that. It also doesn’t support choosing individual contacts from your list.

But old-school radio enthusiasts will appreciate this due to familiar feelings. Instead of direct voice messages, you select your area (country, region, and so on) and send your messages to everyone within it. All the other Two-Way users will be able to hear you and reply. For private chats there are other ways: instead of speaking to a certain user, you can find an unused channel with Key Pad and transfer there. There are enough channels to have a private talk; strangers may interfere if they suddenly select the same number, but chances are they won’t.

Walkie-talkie — Communication

Walkie-talkie — Communication app screenshot

(iOS)

This app is exactly what it says on the tin. The app, just like the previous one, uses the channel system. When you set up communication with your friends or colleagues, you need to download the app and select the channel to use. On this channel, you can exchange voice messages in walkie-talkie mode. They are sent as soon as recorded.

This simple app doesn’t leave much for you to adjust, except for minor things like the background color. Though, probably, if you don’t need the power of overcrowded Zello, you may opt for this consciously. It’s available for iOS only, so it’s a good addition to the Apple Watch walkie-talkie feature.

Marco Polo

Marco Polo app screenshot

(Android, iOS)

It’s a rather unusual app, because it’s meant for sending video messages in walkie-talkie mode. Of course, it’s a step away from the original idea. But if that’s just what you need, Marco Polo is a perfect option. Positioned as a solution for those who cannot afford syncing their time for communicating, it’s all about video.

Of course, it has Snapchat-like bells and whistles, meant to make videos more emotional. So you can add texts, stickers, and filters. It goes a bit beyond our original topic, still, the app is worth some attention if you prefer one-way communication.

Walkietooth

(Android)

This one is quite unusual too, and it’s not about its video capability only, but about getting close to the real walkie-talkie mode as well. We mean that dependence on the Internet connection immanent for all the apps above. Instead of relying on Wi-Fi or cellular connection only, Walkietooth makes use of any other way of sending data. It can send voice messages via local Wi-Fi networks, via Bluetooth, or via direct device-to-device connection.

With this app you can use your old smartphone as a baby monitor, installing it on both devices and positioning them in different rooms. Its video capabilities will be especially useful here.

This versatility is also useful in the countryside, with no stable Internet connection. For example, it’s great for a motorcycle or bicycle party, with all the members quite close to each other. Of course, it’s a niche solution for certain situations, but if that’s the case with you, it’s worth considering. Alas, it’s an Android prerogative, and there aren’t any analogs as functional on iOS.

Last but Not Least

Except for the last app, all of those above don’t make your smartphones function as real walkie-talkies. It’s a hardware limitation: while real WT’s have their own standalone transmitters and receivers powerful enough to function independently, smartphones are bound to cellular or Wi-Fi networks. Keep that in mind, while planning your usage of these apps.

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TOP-6 best tools to lock down a kid's device

Thanks to the Internet, we got free access to any information of our interest. However, this is not always good, especially when it comes to children. Their curiosity for everything new and untapped ability for critical thinking can do great damage to their psyche. Therefore, it is obvious that you, as a caring parent, want to block them from harmful content. There are several ways of how to do it. The first approach is the easiest: a lot of modern devices have already had the in-built tool for managing the access of children to the phone. Another way is to use external applications to get more features and blocking options. We will consider both approaches in this blog post. Stay tuned!

Android Screen Pin

Android Screen feature picture

Platform: Android
Price: free

Android Screen Pin is the feature that is included in the modern Android devices. It allows you to lock only certain apps while others remain unlocked. It is very useful when you give a tablet or mobile phone to the toddler to play the games. With Android Screen Pin, you can set a password to Google Play, messages, and phone calls. As a result, a kid can’t accidentally make a call, write a strange message to your colleague, or make the in-app purchases for games. Another useful feature is to lock the apps or the whole device when the children need to do housework or other family tasks.

Where to find:

  • Go to the Settings menu;
  • Find the tab Security or Security & location -> Security, and tap on it;
  • Press Screen lock. If you have already set up a password to lock the screen, the device asks you to enter it;
  • Then, follow the instructions, and do not forget to save the changes.

Although Android Screen Pin is a free in-built tool on Android devices, it is not so much flexible compared to other tools described below. For example, it doesn’t filter the content and must be set up on the child’s device. Also, there is no remote control.

FamilyTime

FamilyTime application screenshots

Platform: Android, iOS
Price: free

FamilyTime provides you with additional features and extended options compared to the Android Screen Pin tool. As there is a third-party app, you need to install FamilyTime on the device before using it. It is completely free, and you can download the application on both iOS and Android platforms on Apple Store or Google Play, respectively.

The app allows you to control the child’s device remotely and securely. Besides this, there are other important features:

  • Limit screen time: you can set up a certain amount of time when your children can use the device. When the limit is over, the phone or tablet blocks automatically, so the kids can access it anymore;
  • Scheduling of the screen time: parents can decide the time their children can access the device and block during, for example, the family time;
  • Internet filters: users can block the websites of a certain category;
  • SafeSearch: turning on this feature, you can provide safe browsing for your children;
  • Application blocker: parents can block different kinds of apps on the device, including social media and games;
  • The tracker of children’s location: it allows you to see the places your children visit. FamilyTime notifies you every time the kid leaves the safe area;
  • Usage monitoring: you can always see what applications your child uses. It also shows you the time of usage;
  • Emergency Alerts: the kid can press the SOS alert, and you will be notified about this immediately;
  • Reports: get the full statistics of what the child uses or what kind of information they browse on the Internet;
  • PickMeUp: the option to share a current location;
  • SafeDrive: if you have a teenager with car and driving license, you can set up the speed limits, and the app automatically notifies you if these limits are exceeded.

Note that with FamilyTime you can add as many children’s devices as you want.

Web Watcher

Web Watcher application screenshots

Platform: Android, iOS, PC, Mac, Chrome
Price: free

WebWatcher is a monitoring app for iOS, Android, Mac, PC, and Chrome. The app was developed by Awareness Technologies. Initially, it was used in a counter-terrorism activity for Windows PC, but today its benefits are leveraging by parents from different parts of the world. WebWatcher helps you to become a responsible parent in the digital world. It tracks and records all the children’s activity, starting with text messages and call history and ending with location notifications and photos. Even if your children use different devices, you still can connect all of them from your secure account and manage their activity remotely.

The full list of what you can monitor in your child’s device:

  • SMS and MMS including deleted texts;
  • Screenshots (their number is limited to 1 000. In order to see more, you need to purchase the app);
  • Gallery;
  • History of web browsing;
  • Call logs;
  • The location;
  • Social networks and messengers: TikTok, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Kik, Viber, Snapchat, Tinder;
  • Application usage.

Note that it can vary depending on the platform. But the basic options are the same on all devices.

Qustodio

Qustodio application screenshots

Platform: Android, iOS, PC, Mac, Kindle
Price: free

Qusodio provides you with a simple tool for managing the children's activity on a particular device. It allows you to see how much time your kids use the mobile phone or a tablet, block certain applications, and filter the content.

How it works:

  • First of all, you need to install Qusodio on your device;
  • Then sign up, and tap the “Child’s device” menu item;
  • Follow the provided instructions;
  • Once you finish, the number of websites will be blocked automatically;
  • Now, you can view the child’s activity and daily reports.

The app is completely free to install. But it offers additional in-app purchases and premium subscriptions. The difference is that free plan allows you to monitor only one kid’s device from different parent's devices while the paid plan allows you to monitor as many kid’s devices as you want from the unlimited number of parent’s devices. The app is available in several languages, including English, Spanish, and German.

Net Nanny

Net Nanny application screenshots

Platform: Android, iOS, PC, Apple OS X, Fire OS
Price: free

Net Nanny is one of the most famous feature-packed parental control apps. The initial version was launched almost more than 20 years ago — in 1995. It was just a web browser that filtered IRC and web content, hid profanity, and blocked strange images. The latest version was released in May 2019. Now, it allows you to do much more. But the headline feature remains the same: Net Nanny is a powerful web filter with which you can block the weapons, pornography, and other harmful content for children. Among other options:

  • Monitoring the child’s activity with amazing accuracy;
  • Set up the limits that you can change just in a few taps;
  • Divide the whole Internet content into the categories and block the defined categories;
  • Build white and black lists for websites;
  • Receive daily reports;
  • Get the notifications about flagged words and other undesired content; 
  • Block the applications on your device;
  • Track the current location;
  • Set up different rules for different devices.

Net Nanny received a lot of different rewards and positive feedback from the critics. The application took the first place in TopTenReviews.com in "Internet Filter Software" and fourth in "Parental Control Software" in 2017. If you are looking for the best web content filtering apps, we highly recommend you download and install Net Nanny. Besides, it is completely free.

AppLock

AppLock application screenshots

Platform: Android
Price: free

AppLock by DoMobile Lab is one of the most downloadable lock apps on Google Play. It has more than 100 million installs. Isn't that a reason to become one of its users too? The application works in more than 50 countries and supports 45 languages. AppLock can block the contents of different types. It could be:

  • The social networks or messengers like Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram;
  • Mailboxes: Gmail;
  • Messages: SMS;
  • Contacts;
  • Call log;
  • Settings;
  • Gallery files: images, videos;
  • Other applications installed on your device.

AppLock ensures full security and prevents unauthorized children’s access to blocked apps. You can set up the password, the pattern, or lock with a fingertip. If somebody tries to crack the phone and pick up a password, the application automatically takes a photo of them. AppLock provides you with the great and extended customization options compared to other applications listed below. Users can select the favorite image and set it in the background, create the blocklists, and so on. To make AppLock invisible for children, you can hide the app’s icon in the settings.

Besides the applications locking, the title has the option that allows you to switch on an incognito regime in the browser, as a result, the history of your queries will not be recorded. As you can see, there is an excellent app not only for child protection but also for adults.

Final notes

There are a lot of different locking applications for different platforms and at various prices. But before using them, do not forget about one important thing. As a parent, you always need to remember that you set up the lock on the children’s device on your risk. What you think you mean well may not be understood by the child and become one of the biggest grievances against you. This is especially true for adolescents.

Also, there are a lot of forums and groups where teenagers discuss possible and effective ways to get around parental control. Locking applications is an incredible tool to protect children from harmful content, however, it should only be used in conjunction with accompanying conversations with the child. Try to convey to them as accurately as possible why you are doing this and what goals you are pursuing. Share your experience in the comments below. What apps did you use? What was the reaction of a child?

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Let’s Date Online With the Best Apps of 2019

We believe that everybody agrees that dating sites and applications are very common nowadays. They help people to communicate, meet like-minded persons, and find the one. All the year-round, regardless of a season singles look for their soulmates, and online dating services provide them with an easy and efficient way to expand searching.

In this article, we suggest you consider a range of the most reliable and popular applications for this purpose where you can try your fate. We ground our choice on the experience of a lot of users who used this software to develop their relationships.

The League

The League
If we may say so, this app is elite, and that means you should have values to get access. It will consider a job title, education, and other information before it allows you to join the community. To prove the data, you are to add your Linkedin account. Your application will be processed by turn. The bigger the city, the longer the waiting list is. It can take you some time to enjoy the opportunities provided by this app. In order to prompt the review, you can as well pay.

Of course, you can try this app as it is very popular and delivers additional guarantees of serious approach, but be sure that you will find a lot of nice faces on other dating apps too. So there is no need to worry if you are not supposed to be elite after your application is reviewed.

Bumble

bumble app screenshot
Bumble is developed for women able to initiate conversation. They decide what men they will communicate, judging on the information provided in their profiles. Though a profile here is based on the photos with a little personal data. The men can content with those ladies who show their interest. Guys really have poor control over the dating experience. But, of course, a man can refuse to respond to a message. But if he wants to answer and fails to do it in the next 24 hours after he gets the message, a chance is wasted.

This perfect option – a timer – is very useful, helping to sort out those who do not take the process seriously and at the same time to encourage contacts. You will have to be more active on the application and check out your account every day if you want to succeed. Also, there is a BFF feature allowing you to create friendships and not only to arrange dates. Remember that you cannot be absolutely anonymous here as far as the Facebook account is required for signing in.

Tinder

Tinder app screenshot

This application is perfect both for a serious long-term relationship and casual hookup. We would recommend even to start with it if you are a first-timer in the dating world. Here you will find brief profiles, and that is convenient because you can skim them and decide whether you want to continue. But at the same time lack of information can prevent you from understanding a partner in a proper way. This downside can be compensated by further communication though, again, it is more complicated to spark the interest of a recipient in your initial message. Thus, you will think over its content thoroughly because you know very little about a person.

OkCupid

OkCupid app screenshot

This app can boast of multiple marriages arrangement. Some people prove to meet spouses here. It does not mean that the others on the list are not efficient, but this one shows the most obvious result. Perhaps, this is due to rather deep profiles with a lot of data which can be useful for another person to understand more and make the right choice. The list of questions is really long, but thorough answering is well worth the efforts.

The app is continuously updated, and the recent changes have made it look like Tinder. Now you can do without those endless questions and still match with the users at the first try. You are suggested to swipe and choose the most attractive pictures to start communication. In order to exchange the inboxes, you should match first, and such attitude allows you to be protected from the offensive messages.

Plenty of Fish

POF app screenshot

Plenty of Fish has been available since 2003, allowing everybody to contact a user without subscribing. This way is much simpler, that is why the app is widely known and preferred. Though we would mention that it is not very easy to cope with its functionality because there are plenty of features. At the same time, navigation is comprehensive.

The app is good for those who are on a budget but want to try their fate with dating. Because of the facility of access, you can face such a problem as bots and scams within this application.

Still, you can enjoy a wide variety of options here: search for a candidate using their locations, send and get messages. If you want to find your match easily, turn to Online Personality Assessment, which is free and helpful.

Hinge

Hinge app screenshot

It is possible to sign in here without any restrictions and meet new people from all over the world. The app is connected with Facebook. You are allowed to share the profiles and ask your family and friends for recommendations. As usual, you are to answer a range of questions to help you match, and that is a feature which will be appreciated by those who look for a serious long-term relationship.

Coffee Meets Bagel

Coffee Meets Bagel app screenshot

This free app sends you suggested matches every day, and that is so cool. This option really helps to match better. Here you will get the more detailed information about a user from his deeper profile compared to other dating apps. Choosing among twelve users, you can mark Priority Like, and Pass.

In general, the app is rather good for those who are not demanding, though you can feel a little bit confused at the beginning due to its wide range of features. If you need, you are suggested to view online tutorials and understand the way you are expected to navigate.
The app will remind you to send a message to the persons you match.

Match

Match app screenshot

Here you should pay for a subscription even if you use a free version of the application, and that fills you with confidence that every member takes communication seriously. Indeed, the paid service does not matter when you want to find a significant other. The free apps are also very efficient and reliable. Still, you can benefit from the paid features if you want to try them.

Happn

Happn app screenshot

This application uses a location when it arranges matches. It is mostly preferred by those who want to meet people living nearby in real life. You should sign up and continue choosing among all available users staying at home. This is a perfect tool for people who do not dare to approach a person in real life and at the same time, do not agree on online dating. The application is well in between. You can look through the candidates secretly until you show your interest to someone. Then the app will show the company a user works in and their job title, and this option will help you to avoid shady communication.

Her

Her app screenshot

Though almost all the mentioned apps do not have anything against LGBTQ, only this one is dedicated to lesbian, queer, and bisexual women. This is a good app with clear motives, but it has bugs, and that is a bit annoying. So it’s up you to decide! Why should you use it if there are so many other alternatives? Still, they are not meant for the mentioned purposes exclusively. Try it and decide whether it is your place. Here you will definitely have some pleasant conversations which can be developed on a date. Anyway, you can go to Tinder or Bumble and enjoy the smooth operation and a wide list of their members.

Clover

Clover app screenshot

This application allows getting a date making just a couple of taps. Mind that the premium package is rather expensive. Unfortunately, there is no PC version, but you get access to the most extensive base of users on your mobile device. Clover insists that there are about 6 million members aged from 18 to 30 years old signed in. Only premium users have a possibility to send messages without restrictions in number. We can say that the app includes the elements of OkCupid and Tinder being rather interesting and safe.

At the End of the Dating Day

If you are looking for an exclusive romantic partner or your other half, we recommend trying the above apps as efficient and safe online tools with plenty of useful features. They are developed exactly for such purposes allowing you to understand a person of your interest. You can use them on the go and enjoy simple interfaces and scientific approaches to matching. It is easy to protect yourself from annoying conversations applying blocking or other options and continue to communicate with those users who are interesting.

We are sure that you will find the most appropriate service for your needs and preferences. Please leave your comments on any app from the above list you have tried.

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Top Apps for Staying Close When Apart

There’s little pleasure to be forced apart, even temporarily. But today’s technology works wonders, and, to make your departure easier, you can easily connect via the web that took over the world. Here are the best apps we selected for that.

Six Apps to Bring You Together from Afar

We have found six popular apps that will help you see, hear, read and even feel each other at any distance. Some of them are extremely popular; others are kind of exotic. But all of them can help you stay close when apart.

Skype

Skype screen

It’s the classical app for voice and video calls, now owned by Microsoft and included into Microsoft Office (in its business version). What makes Skype a good option for lovers? First of all, it’s voice and video calls, providing a sort of presence with its HD video and HQ voice. Second, it’s is subscription. Even when one of you is overseas, Skype lets you make calls to regular landline or mobile phone numbers when your partner is offline. It only takes an Office 365 subscription. Even the basic option includes 60 mines of Skype Out.

Instagram

Instagram app

We all know, it’s the app for publishing your pics, polishing them with filters, and then exposing them to the whole world, right? It’s also owned by Facebook, so it’s popular and subject to strict censorship. But Insta is much more than this. First of all, there are Stories, the ephemeral chronicles of your days. You can charge them with meanings and messages only someone special can understand. Second, it has a private message system, so you can send each other the pictures not meant for publishing. 

And, in addition, it’s so sweet to tell the world something meant just for one person, so others will only understand how close you are to each other to read otherwise unreadable. Anyway, Instagram is for showing off your happiness, so show off your love… as much as it doesn’t touch the very heart you save for the two of you.

WhatsApp

Whatsup app

And another app by Facebook hurries to the rescue when you’re half a world away. It brings you free unlimited texting, voice and video calls, and it’s not too sensible for connection quality. So even one of you is somewhere in the wild, where the Internet is a luxury, you won’t need much of it to send a message, a picture, a short video, or your location. It’s strange to recommend this app as it’s already one of the most popular in the world; it’s rather a reminder to keep in touch.

Spokeo

Spokeo screen

This app should have been named first, as it’s a great investigation tool. You only need to enter the phone number into the special field, and the service reports you everything about public activities of the phone’s owner.

No doubt this service only uses open source data and works legally, otherwise, it wouldn’t be available. It can seem immoral to spy over your partner like this; well, then don’t. But you may need to know. Or at least warn each other that you’ll mutually spy over Spokeo, to feel like you’re doing all these activities side by side. Alas, Spokeo is little help (or none at all), when one of the two temporarily (or constantly) lives outside the US.

SnapChat

Snapchat screen

The greatest thing about Snapchat when it comes to relationship is its privacy. Send each other your photos and don’t be afraid they may leak out. Just don’t forget about self-destruction timer.

We don’t mean only explicit pics, though we understand how much they can matter when physical touch is impossible. These little stupid pics or videos with Snapchat filters and masks can be much more compromising. And this makes Snapchat a sort of test: if you both really enjoy these stupid moments with dog ears and noses, crowns and clowns, and your faces mutually swapped, then you really fit each other.

Telegram

Telegram app

It’s a good messenger, but most of its messaging features copy those of WhatsApp, and the unique ones (like public channels and advanced encryption) seem to have nothing in common with our subject … Oh yes, they suddenly have. Encryption, you say! Yes, that’s what makes chatting in Telegram feel more secure, so you can share your deepest feelings and thoughts. 

What Telegram cannot do is video calls, and the developers say they don’t have the slightest intention to implement them. But you can have Skype or WhatsApp for your regular video calls, and Snapchat to make them really crazy with filters and stickers.

Keep Closer!

Well, there are other ways, in addition to these above. If both of you have Apple Watch, then you can even send touches to each other, with haptic responses, and use an online walkie-talkie. And if you know each other’s offline addresses (and why not?), then use the traditional postal delivery to send each other physical gifts and paper letters. Because nothing digital gets as personal than a handwritten paper letter. Even if you write an email with your own hand and a hi-tech stylus on your touchscreen, it shares the same handwriting and signature but not the warmth.

We left uncovered services like iMessage or Facebook Messenger, partly because they are bound to hardware (no iPhone – no iMessage), partly because they just duplicate the other apps. And if you feel your conversations lack visual emotions, you can connect one of the third-party emoji packs to heart, kiss, pair, dance, moon, and sun each other, or whatever you feel special about. But remember: your love and feelings are primary, and the apps just help it.

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WhatsApp Alternatives: Our Top Picks

So, you decided to find an alternative for WhatsApp. Maybe you’re too worried about Facebook’s privacy policy. Or you just don’t like the way it works. Or you drop it for your own reasons.

Here are the alternative apps you can have on your phone for communicating. All of them are cross-platform and compatible with your PC as well as with iPhone or Android devices. So, select what’s the most attractive to you.

And remember: even the best messenger is no good if your contacts aren’t in. So, you better check several alternatives and see what your contact list looks like in each.

Signal: The Safest

Signal app screen

Signal is an open-source cross-platform messenger, developed by a group of enthusiasts and distributed for non-profit reasons. Its source code is always published on GitHub, so everyone competent enough can check it and report bugs, vulnerabilities or backdoors if any of them is found.

The killer feature of Signal is security. Its encryption system is rated as the most secure of all the messengers available. 

As for features, Signal has exactly what a modern messenger should have. Its primary identifier is your phone number. After confirmation and authentication, you can make voice and video calls and send messages and files to other Signal contacts. Exactly like you do in WhatsApp.

Is it that perfect substitute? In fact, not, unless you persuade all your contacts to switch to Signal, or at least install it as a second messenger. For that you can just send invitations from Signal as regular SMS.

Pro: secure.
Con: not so popular.

Viber: The Richest in Stickers

Viber screen

If you mostly communicate informally and emotionally, you probably like sending and receiving all those graphic smiles, kisses, flowers, thumbs up, and the big stickers showing that regular emoji aren’t expressive enough. Then here comes Viber by Rakuten.

In fact, this messenger has all the features of WhatsApp. It supports unlimited texting, sending pictures and locations, video and voice calls, group chats, and even built-in games. And it’s quite popular: there are few countries listing it as #1, but almost all over the world it’s in the Top 5. 

But the most distinct feature of Viber is its treasury of stickers and emoji. You can select pets, cartoon characters, popular mascots, and characters invented on purpose, to express your emotions. Even paid ones can be available for free if sponsored, or as a reward for active communication.

Pro: the most emotional messenger.
Con: but once you get locked into a serious sticker collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.

Telegram: The Most Social… and The Most Controversial

Telegram screen

In fact, Telegram is more than a messenger: it’s a text-centric messaging and blogging app, two-in-one. The messaging part of Telegram is familiar, with one useful exception: you can send messages to yourself as well. A useful feature when you need to transfer a picture or some text between your devices. On the other hand, Telegram has no video calls and no plans for that.

As for the blogging part, you can create a public channel with your account and post anything you want. So far your posts can only be read, but the team is working on implementing comments. The rumor has it that Telegram is to introduce its own cryptocurrency soon.

Security features include end-to-end encryption and possibility to hide your phone number; but still those who have it will see it connected to your account.

Pro: secure and social.
Con: no video calls.

GroupMe: For More Than Two

GroupMe screen

Of course, this app by Microsoft can be used for private communication, but rather it’s a tool for creating group chats (just like it says on the tin). It also supports sending pictures, locations, links and all the types of data regularly shared in groups.

You can use your Microsoft or Facebook accounts to log in or create an independent account with your email. Still, it needs to access your phone book and fetch the contacts from there. 

Pro: great for group chats at work and at your party.
Con: it can’t replace your WhatsApp experience.

LINE: Orientally Oriented

LINE screen

If you want something resembling WhatsApp up to the color of the logo, here comes LINE. It’s a messenger with functionality very similar to all the messengers like WhatsApp. It also needs your phone number as an ID and your phone book as the base to fetch your LINE contacts.

Though LINE is mostly popular in East Asia (Japan, South Korea), but also it has its fans in America and Middle East. If you communicate with friends or colleagues from these Asian countries, you’ll access them easier, and they’ll appreciate.

Pro: all the features of a modern messenger, useful for contacts with Asia.
Con: not as popular in the rest of the world.

The Ones Behind

There are other messaging apps (or rather services) also worth attention, at least in one sentence. Some of them are only popular locally; say, WeChat is mostly used in China, IMO in Central Asia, and KakaoTalk in South Korea. Google Hangouts, formally sharing the same functionality, didn’t get as popular; as for iMessage, it only works with Apple devices.
We skipped Facebook Messenger too, because, being too an obvious alternative, it shares one thing with WhatsApp: it’s controlled by Facebook. As far as we know, concerns about Facebook’s privacy policy is one of the main reasons why people give up WhatsApp.

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Cool WhatsApp hacks everybody needs to know

One billion users send and receive messages with WhatsApp every day! All of them carry over 55 billion messages daily. Apparently, WhatsApp is one of the most widely used messaging apps in the world. It is mostly preferred in Malaysia, Germany, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico. Worth noting that in some countries it is even #1 source of news for its users.

Sending texts, making voice and video calls, delivering images and videos are only an apparent WhatsApp potential. Using it daily, you may have noticed some of its hidden hacks. With their help, you can make your smartphone even smarter. Follow the next tips and tricks and turn your phone into a more productive piece of tech. We decided to divide them into three groups for your convenience.

1. Useful hacks.

  • Use Whatsapp with no hands

This trick is needed when you’re busy, and manual text entry is impossible. Or sometimes you’re just too bored to type. All you need to do is just say “Hey Siri” or “Ok Google”. Then you can dictate the message you want to send, and your virtual assistant will take care of it. Apple users have one more cool benefit — Siri can read their latest unread messages as well.

  • Listen to voice messages unnoticeably

There are so many situations when you get a voice message, and you just can’t listen to it. You can be either in an office or a public place without headphones, and high level of impatient curiosity is provided. Well, no suffering anymore! The next time you’re caught in such kind of situation, you take the phone to your ear. Then the built-in-speaker is activated and it would let you hear the note like you’re on a call. Wow!

  • Disable saving photos from WhatsApp to the gallery

WhatsApp usually saves images from your messaging to the phone gallery. But necessity is somewhat controversial. Later, when you face loads of useless photos in the gallery, you’ll wish to clear the space. And you become obsessed with disabling this ‘useful’ feature. In Settings> Security select Photos and disable saving photos. No more unwanted files in your gallery!

  • Find out all your chat statistics

If you are interested in the statistics of your communication, use the program WhatStat. It will show you the most popular interlocutors, your habits, the number of messages, the most "productive" time of the day and so on. Statistics from WhatsApp are displayed in the form of graphs here; the interface is intuitive and straightforward.

  • Swipe right to quote messages

Everybody has friends who send you 20 notes in a minute. And half of these messages are questions. How to avoid more confusion in such chats? Swipe right on the message you want to reply to and WhatsApp will let you quote it, giving you the reference point you need. It helps you respond to an individual text. It’s an option to select the messages you’d like to reply and ignore the other unnecessary stuff.

  • Mark prioritised messages with stars

Sometimes it is difficult to find an old message with valuable information in it. To avoid such situation, better mark meaningful messages with a star and then quickly find them whenever you need it. Go to Settings and select Starred Messages to refresh your memory.

2. Privacy hacks.

  • Hide your status and stay incognito

The status "was online" shows when you opened WhatsApp the last time. If you want to stay secret or even hide from someone, then this feature can be turned off. Possibly, you want to hide from your 80-years old aunt who wants to invite you to spend a weekend together, or maybe you are just tired of seeing the recent photos of friend’s dog. This option exactly what you always needed. For iPhone users, everything is a piece of cake. Open Settings> Chat settings> Advanced and disable "Last time online".

On Android, everything is a bit complicated; you can not turn off the service from the program itself. To do this, you will have to use programs like "Hide WhatsApp Status". This program will turn off Wi-Fi and mobile Internet when you open WhatsApp. When you minimize the program, the data transfer resumes and all WhatsApp data is synchronized, and outgoing messages are sent to the server.

  • Protect your profile picture

Anyone who gets your phone number can see your WhatsApp profile picture Not a pleasant thing indeed. To protect your security and save your appearance in secret, you can change some settings. You need to do:

  1. Settings > Account > Privacy

  2. Change your setting from Everybody to My Contacts

If you don’t want somebody you know to see your display picture, simply use this hack.

  • Deleting messages on WhatsApp

“Hey, dude! What are your plans for this weekend?” - Accidentally you sent that to your boss. To avoid misunderstanding and not to spend your rest days with the boss, just make sure your chief won’t get the message. To make everything right, hold down the message, and select Delete For Everyone. Warning: you can only use this feature within seven minutes of sending a message. This action, of course, is not full proof. There are few third-party apps such as social notification history, that can reincarnate deleted messages and make them visible for your addressee.

  • Hiding a chat on WhatsApp

Some conversations are not welcome in your recent messages, the reasons for it may vary. Maybe you don’t want your girlfriend to find out, that you are chatting with your ex or your friends’ chat group draw your attention away from preparing for exams. There’s a way just not to see a particular chat for a while. And you do not have to delete it forever. To hide a conversation, swipe right on it and press the ‘Archive’ option that shows up. You can later locate this chat quickly by just going back to your Archived messages. To move the contact back to your recent chats requires unarchiving or merely sending the person a message.

3. Creative hacks.

  • Make different fonts on WhatsApp

It is a neat trick, that helps you to convey the tone of your message. Here’s how to start using different fonts:

  1. Bold: Enter your text between two asterisks (*).

  2. Italics: Enter your text between two underscores (_).

  3. Typewriter: Enter your text between ` ` ` on either side. To find this symbol, press down on the single inverted comma and pick the last symbol on the left.

  4. Strikethrough: Enter text between two tildes (~).

Make your friends surprised and feel yourself more creative just writing your WhatsApp messages.

  • Use WhatsApp to convert videos into GIFs

No need to use any other tools to convert your videos to GIFs as long as you have WhatsApp. Just follow the instruction below:

  1. Go to any chat to send a video.

  2. When the needed on is selected from your library, it will be opened the video-editing window.

  3. Now you can crop the video length to five seconds and switch then the icon on the right from video to GIF.

  • Add effects to your images

In WhatsApp, you can change pictures by adding text, emojis or scribbling on them before you send them to somebody. To do it follow the next steps:

  1. Open a chat, send a picture, select the needed from your gallery, and the editing window will open up.

  2. Use effects and image editing tools from the list.

This hack is also helpful when you want to pinpoint something in the screenshot by circling or underlining it.

  • Creating your notes on the app

Keep writing notes to yourself, or jot down ideas for later even in WhatsApp. First, make a group with somebody. Then remove the person from the group, this is how you will become its sole member. You can post notes, pictures of something you’d like to remember or any recording on the group. Thus, everything you need to get back to is in a protected place, and you don’t have to keep switching between different apps.

WhatsApp has a sufficient quantity of hacks that are worth learning. And it is also updating all the time. Don’t miss new cool hacks and tricks and use it with pleasure.  

 

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Sharing Video Outside Snapchat: Now Possible!

Snapchat is an image messaging and multimedia mobile app with an audience that is limited to young people owing to its sophisticated interface. This is one of the major reasons behind others preferring Instagram over Snapchat.

However, there will soon be an update which is sure to make Snapchat all the more enticing. The app on 6th February 2018 announced that it is going to allow the sharing of its public content across other social media platforms. It means one will be able to share the content outside the app. Once this update rolls out, the users will be able to share the links of their own videos or other videos from the app on different social media platforms. Once clicked, these link will open the video on a player that will be hosted on the website of Snapchat.

Hopefully, the new feature will elevate the experience of using the Snapchat app by several notches and help it bag more users. Currently, both Facebook and Instagram allow the sharing of content outside their apps. The same can be verified by the fact that one gets to see more Instagram photos online as compared to the Snapchat screenshots. 

Once the Snapchat app will make this feature available for others, it will join the league of other apps and services which are in the business of what is popularly called ‘Viral Videos.’
Though the feature may attract plenty more users towards the app, it could compromise on its uniqueness which is ‘self-erasability.’ Addressing to the same issue, the company mentioned that the outside link will be treated in the same way as public videos inside the app. These outside videos will be erased automatically after few weeks (in case if the users don’t delete them on their own). Official Stories from either public figures or celebrities will remain visible for the span of 24 hours.

Though initially, Snapchat has not included any advertising in videos shared on different social platforms, it has also not ruled out this possibility. As of the now, the feature is available for users who have redesigned the Snapchat app. It will soon be available for others.

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WhatsApp Drops Support for BlackBerry & Windows Phone

WhatsApp is a popular instant messaging app and living without it is easier said than done. However, if you have a phone that is powered by BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10, and Windows 8.0, it’s time to either imagine a life without WhatsApp or consider upgrading your phone. This is so because WhatsApp is now no longer supporting these operating systems owing to the fact that quite a small number of people are using them. 

Other than the aforementioned operating systems and smartphones, the instant messaging app has also indicated other operating systems that will lose the support next. In this category, there is Nokia S40 which won’t see any WhatsApp from December 31, 2018. Next in the line are phones or smart devices that are still on Android 2.3.7. These mobile devices have until February 1, 2020. People who have devices powered by these operating systems can neither create new WhatsApp accounts nor re-verify their existing ones. The app’s continuation to work on these older operating systems is just a buffer for their users to upgrade. 

WhatsApp is Just an Upgrade Away

It is quite interesting to note that approximately 99.6% of new smartphones are powered by Android and iOS. Also, 9 out of every 10 smartphones have Android as their operating systems. As per the insights and facts, one can see that phones and devices that are supported by Windows and BlackBerry hardly stand a chance to breathe in the market let alone getting support from some of the widely used apps.

And this is not the first time that WhatsApp has announced such a step. It has previously stopped the support for Android 2.3.3, iOS 6, Windows 7 Phone, and phones that are powered by Nokia Symbian S60.

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