Sometimes that easiest choice isn’t the best choice. Of course, it’s easy to send a text through the Android Messages app, but is that really the best option? Google is trying to fix the known vulnerabilities in the app, yet there are no solid dates for when a new version will be released. Which app should you use in the meantime?
Android Messages App Vulnerabilities
Let’s face it – Google was handed a gift but really isn’t doing anything with it. This is at a time when other popular messaging apps are being criticized, but Google just isn’t taking advantage of it to get ahead in the game.
WhatsApp is forcing unwanted changes on its users. Additionally, Facebook is also dealing with the fallout of Apple forcing apps to disclose data collection and usage. This bad P.R is extending to all its apps, including WhatsApp and Messenger. This leaves a space for the Android Messages app to step in and grab users.
Yet, Android Messages is dealing with security issues. While it introduced an improved version in beta last year, Google doesn’t appear to have done anything to move toward making it an official release. Furthermore, there’s no expected date to do so.
So where does that leave you, the user? It leaves you searching for a messaging alternative. And with WhatsApp and Facebook becoming undesirable, users are choosing more often to go with the default Android Messages app to send text messages.
Finding a New App
In light of all this, which apps should you be using to communicate? To start with, you should be using one with end-to-end encryption. Such apps do not include SMS, Messenger, or WhatsApp’s heir apparent – Telegram.
RCS, a richer form of texting, isn’t a great option either, and this is the format the Android Messages app uses for text messages. While it was meant to be an upgrade of SMS, its security isn’t any betters than SMS.
Truthfully, Google has patched some of the security issues. Yet, no matter what fires were put out, RCS isn’t end-to-end encrypted.
“The lessons of the past five years make it absolutely clear that technology companies and governments must prioritize private and secure communication,” said Will Cathcart, WhatsApp CEO. He noted that total encryption is “essential” and that there is “serious pressure” to “take it away.” But how safe do you feel knowing the app is connected to Facebook?
Where it becomes absurd is WhatsApp saying, “If an app doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption by default, that means they can read your messages.” Facebook has already admitted to monitoring Messenger content – does it do the same with WhatsApp?
“End-to-end encryption is now the way most messages are sent globally,” Cathcart added. “Should people be able to have a private conversation when they are not together in person? I believe the answer must be yes. End-to-end encryption locks tech companies out of particularly sensitive information. Will we be able to have a private conversation, or will someone always be listening in?”
And yet, Messenger isn’t encrypted. Like Android Messenger, it just hasn’t released an update yet for it.
“We recognize that your conversations are private, and it’s our responsibility to keep your personal information safe,” Google explained when it introduced the beta. “End-to-end encryption ensures that no one, including Google and third parties, can read the content of your messages as they travel between your phone and the phone of the person you’re messaging.”
That’s great, but it’s sitting on the beta and isn’t releasing it, meaning users are continuing to be vulnerable when sending text messages with the Android Messages app.
Android users have the option to change the default messages app, but which one should you use? We suggest you take a look at these WhatsApp alternatives. Remember to look for end-to-end encryption and do thorough research to make sure its other practices aren’t questionable.