Various instant messaging apps have made our lives easier than before. Conveying what you want to say to a person or group is just a matter of a few seconds. This has been possible because of the internet that has now become a fundamental right in some parts of the world.
But what if there is no internet at all? For example, you’re stranded in a remote location, or worst, you face an internet shutdown because of the government. It’s a common thing nowadays, especially, the people who are living in India face it a lot.
With more than one billion population, India nows tops the list of countries that cut the internet cable very often. At the time of writing, the government of India is exercising an internet shutdown in Delhi, Assam, UP, and other parts of the nation, in order to contain the ongoing mass protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
The result, not just the protestors, other people are also unable to use the messaging apps that rely on a data connection. So, how can one send a text message without an internet connection?
Well, there are many offline messaging apps gaining traction right now. When installed on multiple smartphones, some of these apps create a mesh network in remote areas with no cellular connectivity. That way, a message sent from one device can hop over multiple devices and reach the receiver’s device.
Here’s the list of such apps that let you text without a data plan.
Important: These apps are meant to work without the internet. So, if possible, install and setup these apps before going to any place where there is no network access.
Best Offline Messaging Apps For Android And iOS (2020)
The offline messenger Bridgefy uses the phone’s Bluetooth radio to establish a connection with other smartphones running the app. Once set up, the app lets you talk to Bridgefy users within a 300-feet radius from you. But a person needs to be on your contact list.
You can send direct end-to-end encrypted messages to a single person or create a group to talk to multiple people at once. Not just text, you can use this app to transfer images without an active internet connection. You can use the app without a user account but getting your phone number verified can speed up the user discovery.
Bridgefy also comes with a Broadcast mode that lets you send messages to all the users nearby at the same time. The feature also work for the users who are not on your contact list.
FireChat is yet another free offline messaging app that can help you out at times. In addition to Bluetooth, the app also uses WiFi to let users send text messages when there is no internet or cellular connectivity.
This texting app also sends your texts and photos by creating a mesh network of devices. However, it has a slightly lesser range of 200-feet. The private messages are end-to-end encrypted in this app as well, so no one knows what you’re talking about.
One big downside of this offline texting app is that it requires you to create a user account that could be a turn off for many. So, in case you’re planning to use it, do your homework in advance.
Just like Bridgey, Brair is another free chat app without phone number verification for off-the-grid messaging. You just need to enter your name, set a password and you’re ready to send text messages without internet or cellular connectivity.
Briar lets you send messages via the internet but works as a great Bluetooth texting app when required. To add new contacts, you can scan the QR code on another person’s device which eliminates the possibility of an unknown person connecting with you.
It also provides a shareable link to add contacts that are not in your physical vicinity. In addition to messaging, this open source app lets you create forums for asking questions, and create blog posts without leaving the app.
Download Briar for Android
4. Two Way: Walkie Talkie
An easy setup process is what you get with this offline communication app that turns your phone into a live walkie-talkie. That’s because the Two Way doesn’t ask for an email account or phone number.
You just need to tune in to a random channel and share that with your friends. After that, simply press and hold the Talk button and say your line when it turns green. The other person has to do the same.
A couple of things you shouldn’t expect here is encryption and privacy. The walkie-talkie communication is open and if anyone coincidentally enters the same channel number on their device, they can listen to your conversations.
Other than that, the app is a simple solution for people who are stuck in natural disaster situations, or trekking in scarcely populated mountains.
The free and open-source app Rumble promotes itself as a completely off-the-grid micro-blogging application for communities. It can be of great use for those who want to avoid a government shutdown or surveillance of the internet.
After establishing a connection over WiFi or Bluetooth, Rumble lets users chat freely and share images without using a cellular network.
The only downside for some users is that the app hasn’t been updated in a while. Still, it efficiently manages to get the job done.
Download Rumble for Android (Link to F-Droid)
So these are some offline messaging apps that can get you through the internet shutdown in India or during a natural disaster. And let’s just not consider only the negatives, you can use these Bluetooth texting apps and walkie-talkie apps when you’re hiking with your friends on a distant mountain.
If you have any suggestions to make, don’t forget to drop your thoughts in the comments.