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WhatsApp dropped its $0.99 fee that every user was required to pay, after using it for a year.

What this did was actually open up avenues for iPhone users who were dependent on iMessage as they can now keep in touch with other persons who aren’t using Apple devices.

Many of them saw no use of paying for a messaging app, yet the platform already offers a similar and competitive chat app. However, they now have a reason to jump to the Facebook-owned app and expand their communication network. But will they?

iMessage is already established

One problem WhatsApp faces in its battle to outshine iMessage on iOS is the fact that this Apple-owned chat app is already an established name on this platform. In addition, it comes preinstalled on all Apple products, allowing a cross-platform communication with respect to Apple devices, be it an iPhone, iPad or Mac.

Using this chat app, it is possible to exchange text, videos, photos, emoticons, audio files and more at zero costs. It is very hard for one to change from iMessage to WhatsApp, unless the people they talk with are not using Apple devices. In case people in your ecosystem are using a wide range of devices such as BlackBerry, Android, Windows 10 Mobile or even Symbian and you still want to share a video or photo with them, you may be forced to turn to WhatsApp.

Unlike iMessage which only works with Apple devices, WhatsApp works on almost every platform. As a result, this app has more than 900 million users from all angles of the world. The popularity of this app has led to preinstalled chat apps on branded phones such as iMessage and BlackBerry Messenger lose out on the market share.

iMessage vs. WhatsApp: head to head

iMessage and WhatsApp are very similar chat apps. Both allow sending of messages that include text, videos, photos, voice recordings, emoticons and more. Both apps allow audio calling; however, Facebook might soon be adding WhatsApp video calling. Nonetheless, there are quite a number of aspects that will make the iPhone users want to stick with the default messaging app on their devices.

Talking of default apps, iMessage users do not need to have a phone number in order to start using the app. On the other hand, WhatsApp is tied to the phone number. This means that there is no continuity, something that users of the former app enjoy when switching from their iPhones to iPads and to Macs or vice versa.

WhatsApp has a Web version that allows for partial continuity, however, one still needs to manually link the two platforms – mobile app and WhatsApp Web – through a QR code before accessing the app from the web.

WhatsApp’s security is also a huge concern. While there has been hype of the app having end-to-end encryption, this only applies to Android users. Given that this app will demand to access certain information on your device, for instance, contacts and location services, the convenience it offers might not be worth the security risks you might be getting into.

As mentioned earlier, WhatsApp voice calling is available on iPhones. However, the quality of calling you get is not the best as what the FaceTime Audio-like feature offers in iMessage.

WhatsApp’s strengths

Even though iMessage still stands as the better option for the iPhone users, WhatsApp still brings to the fold quite a number of features that users of the Apple-made app would love to see brought on board their chat app. One such feature is the ability to track sent and received data. One can access network usage details with the info of the number of messages one has received as well as sent, giving out the details of the total bytes used to transfer the messages.

On the other hand, iMessage users can only manage to track cell usage.

WhatsApp also adds broadcasting to its list of features. With broadcast messaging, one is able to send a single message to groups of persons on the app without each of them knowing they received the message. iMessage has a similar offering in the shape of groups, but unlike WhatsApp’s which supports up to 256 people, the former supports only 10 people.

Users of the most popular app in the world also have the opportunity to keep their messages in a much robust manner to the iCloud support that was introduced last year. On the other hand, iMessage conversations can only be stored for periods of 30 days, one year or lifetime.

What do you think: iMessage or WhatsApp?