Best Whatsapp alternative? (Help needed!)


I’m looking to move away from Whatsapp and wanted to know if there are any guides on installing Telegram or Signal?

I’ve looked through the forum but the info isnt relatively straightforward and not sure if the information is up to date so would appreciate any help on this.

Are there any other alternatives that I should consider?


Telegram has several native clients you could try.
Signal has only one native client currently which is in early development still (called whisperfish)

Usually you install via / Storeman (see various videos I made on youtube)


I would suggest to use Matrix. If your choice is only between Signal and Telegram, then I would suggest Signal (it has better privacy).

For Matrix you can create accounts at many free servers ( or and others). If installing servers is your thing, then you can easily set up your own Matrix server and run it either on your own hardware or use VPS. Multiple paid Matrix hosting services are available as well.

If you and your contact(s) turn on end-to-end encrytion in your Matrix client, then hosting providers are not able to read your communications (Element has the currenty the best E2EE support, but others are catching up).

On SFOS native Matrix clients are in development and I would suggest Element or Fluffychat (their user interface concepts are a bit different and you can choose which one is suitable). Both are usable as Android runtimes and can be installed from F-Droid. If you prefer to set up flatpak, then Fluffychat is also available as flatpak.


I’m not sure if this forum is the place suited for such questions.
That is, if you want to know which clients are available for SFOS natively, then it is. Otherwise you’ll just get opinions.

In a way , your question can’t be answered by anyone else but yourself. You’ll have to do the research on existing clients to know what you want / need.
If you’d like to find out which alternative messenger is the best for your needs you will have to ask yourself what you want. And why you want to move away from WhatsApp in the first place. If i.e. privacy is your concern, Telegram is probably not what you’d choose. Although it seems to have some good working clients for SFOS.

Anyways for the case of SFOS your choice will be limited, unless you’re willing to use Android apps.

The definition of “best” varies by person, but I would suggest Signal. The only real downside at the moment is that the official Signal app can’t access Sailfish side contacts. Perhaps this is something Jolla can fix? For real Android devices this doesn’t hold, of course.

There is also a native client in development called Whisperfish, but it’s still in early stages of development. I use it daily and although I can live with it, your average user most likely can’t just yet.

Having said that; Telegram app (and Telegram X app, too) work really well on Sailfish Android support, and I have used them a lot, too.


I personally would go with Telegram unless you are really into security which the Signal aims to. I haven’t personally used too much Signal. The way I see it, Telegram has much more continuity when it comes to UI design if you are looking something like WhatsApp. Telegram has a nice sort of “management system” with the user ids so you can form groups without really knowing the phone numbers. At least on my XA2 Dual-Sim both the Android Telegram and Signal work just fine, also contact syncing from the device. I haven’t tried any native ones though.

However, both Signal and Telegram are fine messaging app services, but in the end of the day it really comes to the question whether your friends or people are using the app.


If you have a Sailfish device with an Android support license, I’d recommend the Android Signal app. I know that others have mentioned that it doesn’t quite integrate properly with Sailfish contacts, but the overall functionality is actually pretty good. The Whisperfish client has been languishing for years and unless someone is going to really put some serious effort (or money) into it, I think it’s going to be difficult to keep up with all of Signal’s protocol/API chanes.

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Everyone should be ‘really into security’, and not just for the privacy of themselves or their contacts. By increasing the amount of data a hostile party can’t access, it becomes harder for said party to single out anyone in particular. Think of a sheet of white paper. If there’s a only a single grain of sand on it, hiding the paper behind it, that grain sticks out like a sore thumb, but the more grains of sand are covering the paper, the less the individual grains stick out. If the only people using secure software are those who risk their lives, like dissidents reporting on an oppressive regime, then the life of anyone found using that software is at risk because using that software is abnormal. If everyone were using secure software, then those who risk their lives could not be singled out merely by the fact that they use that secure software, because using that software would be normal.

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The biggest advantage of Matrix over Signal and Telegram is that Matrix is decentralized, and thus you are not dependent on one provider/company. Even if Signal is benevolent now, it is no guarantee of the future. (Their TOS can change, and if fact it’s up to the user to keep track) At least with decentral, open platform like Matrix, you can switch provider without loosing your the ability to communicate on your contacts on the network. Just like e-mail. Even hosting it yourself, with full access to the federated network, is quite easy if you have some experience with webstuff and DNS.

I steer clear of centralized services. WhatsApp was once “friendly” as well.


All parts of Signal are free software, whatever possible future direction the organisation takes is fundamentally irrelevant. Whatsapp is and has always been proprietary and could therefore never be trusted.

Matrix is great, but it’s so complex that you can’t recommend it to people just looking for a Whatsapp alternative. It isn’t even encrypted by default, and in fact it isn’t meant to be, it’s more like a modern version of IRC, with a focus on huge group conversations anyone can join. Additionally, federated networks, whether they’re Matrix, email or even XMPP, all suffer the same problem: 99% of all users are signed up to the same server, and you have to blindly trust any server you don’t host yourself. Pretty much everyone on Matrix is signed up to (so much so that when is down, people believe ‘Matrix’ is down) and pretty much all email users are signed up to Google or Microsoft’s email services. In fact, the email situation is so dire that many (non-email) services don’t even allow you to sign up if you don’t provide a Google/Microsoft email address. So, even decentralised networks tend to unintentionally move towards a strongly centralised model.

Which server would you suggest new Matrix users sign up to? Your personal one, which isn’t always online and isn’t kept up to date all the time, or the big one that rarely goes down and supports all of the latest and greatest feature? Which client would you recommend? Your minimalistic client of choice, which is developed by a single person and doesn’t support many features but fits you personally, or the big one that’s developed by a whole team, supports all of the latest and greatest features and gets constant security patches?

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All parts of Signal are free software, whatever possible future direction the organisation takes is fundamentally irrelevant.

Except that it is not. Their server could run different code. Yes, E2EE will be fine regardless, but it could collect more metadata in the process. Yes, you could run your own server, but you don’t have access to the network.

Matrix/Element is E2EE encrypted by default these days. My family uses Element. Yes I helped them setting it up. After that, it just works, multi-device and all. Yes that could (should) be easier. But it’s getting there.

And yes, I do wish to see more public, even commercial Matrix-providers. However, the situation is already better than a solution which is fully centralized by design. Security and privacy are hard, and even harder to make “easy”. Centralized services are easier, in the same sense as peeing in your pants makes you feel warm… for a short time.

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Yes, I know that, but centralised or decentralised, you always have to place blind trust in a server you don’t host yourself, as I mentioned before. You can’t even really trust your own personal self-hosted server, because you’re just one person up against a world full of data thieves.

There’s a good blog post on the Signal blog about the problems with decentralised/federated networks:


And Matrix’s response to that:


Aaand here we are…

Evangelizing for the real proper messenger. In all likelihood besides the OPs original intent for this question

I think it’s telegram, because currently it has a better SFOS native client than the others.

I’d recommend Telegram - or Threema.
Rather not out of the technical perspective, but out of the practical.
Yes, there are better/more secure systems like e.g. Matrix or Tox but personally I don’t know a single contact using them.
There are clients available on openrepos if you want to try them and if you have more luck finding people using these protocols.
For me, virtually all of my contacts use Whatsapp, most of them Telegram and quite many even use Threema.
That is why these are my messengers of choice. Regarding security, whatsapp and signal are not that different except for that whatsapp is officially selling(?)/examining the Metadata and Signal says they wouldn’t(?). Plus, there is no native client available on SfOS for whatsapp any more (the old one got blocked). The Signal Client on SfOS is making progress again and maybe someone will release a Threema client (or libpurple-plugin(?)) at some point as the api has been released just recently.
Telegram has its disadvantages with its proprietary encryption(?) but the native clients are great and groups are a nice feature.

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Whatsapp is proprietary, so even though communications are encrypted, they can still have access to the encryption keys.

Whisperfish developer checking in! My personal feel is that keeping up will be doable; bi-weekly efforts should more or less cut it. It’s catching up that’s the problem. My general feeling is that we’re implementing slightly faster than Signal is developing their features. We have the advantage that we only have to implement (as opposed to design and research), and only for one platform, and that we can make certain short-cuts.

W.r.t. money, while I do accept it, it’s rather to keep me caffeinated, because I have a day time job too :crazy_face:

I agree though that Whisperfish is not for everybody yet. That’s why I keep the “alpha” label for this long.


Whatsapp features end-to-end encryption as well…Its only possible to leak the metadata. Plus, contacts etc. personal data, all transfered to the whatsapp-servers. And whatsapp is admitting to share this data with their other services, e.g. Facebook.
I don’t know what signal does with the data received, but it should still be more or less the same data…
Telegram is not even end-to-end encrypting none private chats, so it’s probably even worse than WA for standard conversations. One could use private conversations, though.

And of course, they (Whatsapp) might implement a trojan in the client which could leak the entire conversations content, but honestly, I don’t believe that. It would probably be easier to stop the end-to-end stuff then.

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