The Absolute Best Messaging Apps That Aren't iMessage

Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
When Apple released iOS 10 last year, it came with a slew of new and improved messaging features. From digital touch (send your love with a heartbeat!), to GIF and sticker searches, emoji auto suggestions, and full-screen effects, the enhancements have made iMessage noticeably better.
But as good as iMessage is, there are still plenty of reasons to give other messaging apps a try, especially when you’re chatting with a group of people who aren’t all using iPhones. Ahead, we’ve rounded up eight of our favorites, which offer perks including location sharing, secure end-to-end encryption, free messaging abroad, and hacks for faster texting.
Click through to decide which ones you should experiment with now.