WhatsApp vs iMessage—Which One Has Better Security?
Chatting is a part of our lives these days. Millions of people use messaging apps regularly to keep in touch with family and friends. These messaging apps are continuously competing to become the best in the market, but as a user, how can you decide which app to use? Can WhatsApp compete with iMessage? Which one will fit your needs better? Does iMessage have any shortcomings that WhatsApp does not? Which app should you choose for the best possible chatting experience?
Why messaging apps are so popular?
Messaging applications are 20 percent more popular than social networks in terms of active users. Every minute, 41.1 million messages are transmitted via messaging applications. Mobile messaging applications are used by over 2.52 billion individuals. In 2022, it may surpass 3 billion people.
Instant messaging apps have revolutionized the way we communicate. Once, you could only communicate with friends and family in person or through phone calls, but now, there are numerous ways to communicate instantly. iMessage and WhatsApp are the two most widely used IM apps. And they both offer more than just a texting experience. Video and audio conversations, payments, communicating with companies, chatting with friends and family, checking order progress, shopping, arranging appointments, and many more capabilities are all available in messaging applications. It makes it simple for companies and consumers to connect and solve problems while communicating. These are also freely available which adds to their popularity.
Apple’s innovation with iMessage
End-to-end encryption was used by Apple to safeguard iMessage and FaceTime communications across all of their devices. Apple made sure that all conversations on its devices were secured. Even watchOS has been made safe. It meant that without a password, the messages couldn’t be accessed. Apple created iMessage with the intention of limiting unauthorized access to user data while it is in transit between devices. iMessage enabled consumers to choose how their communications were handled. Users may choose to have their communications automatically destroyed after 30 days or a year or to keep them on their smartphones eternally.
Third-party apps that use iMessage had no access to the contact information or talks of the sender or receiver. Apple’s iOS assigns each participant a unique identifier. When the app is removed, the ID is reset. For customers’ convenience, iMessage and SMS texts are automatically saved to iCloud. However, this function may be turned off at any time. Furthermore, Apple only keeps the content of iMessage on its servers for as long as it is required to send the message.
Despite end-to-end encryption and Apple deleting iMessage conversations from its servers, the platform isn’t foolproof from security threats. iPhones, just like any operating system, are vulnerable to phishing attacks and cybercrime. A recent example is Pegasus’s zero-click iMessage exploit. Hackers used the exploit on iPhones running iOS 14.6 to install Pegasus. It was a zero-day zero-click iMessage exploit named “FORCED ENTRY.” It is the same vulnerability exploited in the Pegasus attacks. Pegasus bypassed iOS BlastDoor security implementation to spy on Bahraini human rights activists.
For those unaware, Pegasus is software designed specifically for spying. This type of software is referred to as spyware. It is developed, advertised, and then sold to governments across the globe. Pegasus is developed by the Israeli tech firm NSO Group.
WhatsApp’s security protocols
WhatsApp is a popular messaging app used by individuals of all ages. According to latest stats, WhatsApp will be the most popular communication app as of 2021, with 2 billion monthly active users. It has become a data goldmine for hackers as a result of its popularity. Hacking WhatsApp without the right tools and knowledge might wreak far more harm than we can fathom. Surprisingly, there are a variety of methods for hacking someone’s WhatsApp account, but they are difficult to use and not always reliable.
The popularity of WhatsApp attracts threat actors. They perceive ransomware scams as a fantastic chance for get-rich-quick schemes. With such a large customer base, it merely goes to prove that these threat actors have the upper hand. And despite having end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp is vulnerable to a number of hacking attacks. These attacks can result in some valuable and personal data being leaked from the devices which can be quite worrisome for concerned parents and employers.
However, there are some monitoring apps that can help keep parents and employers keep a check on their kid’s and employees’ WhatsApp use and minimize the risk of these online threats. After assessing all the honest reviews by customers on different platforms, it is safe to say that Xnspy is one of the leading brands in the market which is helping people from all walks of life to watch over their near and dear ones.
WhatsApp was also affected by Pegasus attacks. Hackers would contact users over WhatsApp and install Pegasus on their phones. Even if the phone owner did not answer the anonymous phone call, hackers had access to their data. While WhatsApp has released a Pegasus patch, there is no guarantee that this situation will not occur again. Pegasus chose WhatsApp because the odds of a person of interest using the program are quite high. Thereby both iMessage and WhatsApp have fallen victim to Pegasus’s spyware program.
Comparison of Most Sought After Features
|Android and iOS availability||Yes||No(Only available on iOS)|
|Optimized for Tablets||No||Yes|
|Favorite Contacts Option||No||Yes|
|Temporary Text Messages||Yes||No|
|Shows When User Was Last Active||Yes||No|
|Privacy Settings Customization||Yes||No|
|Need of Sim Card to Login||Yes||No|
|Exports to Email||Yes||No|
|Can Share Music||Yes||No|
|Can Detect Screenshots||No||Yes|
|Includes Picture Gallery||Yes||No|
Conclusion – WhatsApp vs iMessage
After doing extensive research, I can say that WhatsApp will be a solid choice for most users. It is available on both leading mobile operating systems—Android and iOS. WhatsApp makes being interconnected easier than ever. Users do not have to worry about operating system limitations, which is a major concern for iMessage users. iMessage is only available on Apple devices. And until Apple changes this, iMessage will always be playing catchup to WhatsApp.
Apple notes that iCloud maintains your full communication history up to date and accessible across all of your devices. Every time you use iMessage, you’ll see the same screen. A message, photo, or conversation that you delete on one device will be wiped from all of your devices.
This appears to be a link back to the primary device in terms of synchronization, aligning pinned chats and starred messages rather than content—deletions appear to be omitted. In contrast to iMessage, removing content on one device does not delete it on others, which is a security flaw.
Apple’s iMessage design also eliminates the need for such a backup. Essentially, you use iCloud to keep all of your devices in sync by running a live, always-on backup. When connecting, you can add new endpoints or let your old devices catch up. You don’t understand what a daily backup is.
WhatsApp already has a problem with backups: when utilizing Apple’s or Google’s cloud, they fall outside of WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption. While it appears like WhatsApp is working on an encryption option for backups, this is still an antiquated idea in the realm of cloud-based communications.
But the reality is, the average user does not care how often their data gets backed up and on what server or if it gets deleted from the cloud servers or not. It is a harsh reality but most users will choose convenience over security every day. It is why WhatsApp is my winner.