No internet? No problem! These apps let you send messages offline (2023)

Are you somewhere without internet, and want to send a text? Do you want to save data on a trip abroad? Or, do you simply want to stay anonymous while sending a message? Then check out these offline messaging apps that let you send messages without internet or cell tower connection!

Text messages, messenger apps, emails, social media… there are a gazillion ways to stay connected these days. However, all of these communication tools have one thing in common: they require access to public infrastructure, like a Wi-Fi router or a cell tower. But what if you don’t have access to, or are trying to avoid that kind of infrastructure?

That’s when offline messaging apps come in. They don’t require internet or cell phone towers, but still let you send messages with your phone. We explain how the technology works, when it might come in handy, and if they are a real alternative to other messaging apps.

Offline messaging apps: send and receive texts without internet

  • What is offline messaging, and how does it work?
  • From camping trips to political protests: when off-grid messaging comes in handy
  • The best offline messaging apps
    • Bridgefy
    • Briar
    • Bluetooth Chat
  • Can offline messengers replace messaging apps? Spoiler: no!

What is offline messaging, and how does it work?

Offline messaging is a new trend in secure communication. The off-grid messenger apps, also known as mesh messengers, don’t need access to public infrastructure like cell phone towers or internet to send messages from one phone to another. Instead, they rely on Bluetooth or direct Wi-Fi connection.

Bluetooth

Two devices are able to use Bluetooth to set up a secure peer-to-peer connection. It’s the same technology when you use Bluetooth to transfer music or images from one device to another. The maximum range between devices is about 300 feet, or 100 meters.

Direct Wi-Fi

Unlike a Wi-Fi signal you connect to from a router, direct Wi-Fi (sometimes also called ad-hoc Wi-Fi) is a limited connection that is created between two phones. The wireless connection only exists between the two devices, which is why it’s also called a single-hop communication. Regular wireless networks typically use multihop communication. The range of a direct Wi-Fi connection is roughly about 200 feet, or 60 meters.

P2P messaging

Neither Bluetooth nor direct Wi-Fi allow for a wide range when trying to send messages between two phones. You basically have to be at proximity to be able to communicate. There is, however, a way to increase the distance a message is able to travel: through a peer-to-peer mode (P2P).

Some mesh messaging apps have a P2P mode. When turned on, the signal is able to piggyback from one cell phone to the next, until it reaches its intended destination. Basically, multiple phones create a path of communication. The more phones you have, the further a message is able to travel.

Important: While other people’s phones are used to send a message, only the sender and the receiver are able to see the content of the message. The other phones just act as signal amplifiers.

Aside from P2P mode, you can also use gadgets to extend the signal, such as Go Tenna Mesh.

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From camping trips to political protests: when off-grid messaging comes in handy

In a world where there is a free Wi-Fi signal at almost any corner, and cell phone coverage is so extensive, it might seem obsolete to even worry about offline messaging. Yet, there are some situations when off-grid messaging apps can come in really handy.

In the middle of nowhere

Imagine you are on a camping trip in the middle of nowhere. Your buddies and you went hiking, but somehow you got off the trail, and don’t see them anymore. You can’t call or text them because… well, you are in the middle of nowhere with no signal. With offline messaging apps though, you are still able to get a message out to them to let them know that you are lost.

Traveling

There might also be situations when you are out of data, or simply don’t want to use your data or a Wi-Fi connection to send messages. If you’re traveling abroad or on a cruise ship, for example, it is very expensive to use your data, and cruise ships usually limit your free daily Wi-Fi usage. So, instead of spending a lot of money on roaming or the ship’s Wi-Fi service, you can communicate through your offline messaging service.

Limiting internet time for kids

Even for parents off-grid messenger apps could be interesting if you limit your children’s daily internet time, but still want them to be able to communicate.

Natural disasters

Sometimes, a storm or flood cuts off all regular lines of communications, and you are not even able to talk to your neighbor or call for help. Offline messenger apps can come in really handy in critical situations like this.

Political protests

And of course, there are situations where people are scared to use public infrastructure to communicate. In countries with authoritarian regimes, people are looking for ways to communicate without being spied on. Even in the United States during the Black Lives Matter protests, due to police surveillance, many protesters switched to offline messaging apps.

Also, in a war situation, like during the current war in Ukraine, people might be worried that their communication could be monitored. Offline messaging then offers a safer way to send messages to friends and family members.

The best offline messaging apps

There are currently three well-developed messaging apps that work with either Bluetooth or direct Wi-Fi, and offer decent options for communicating offline.

Bridgefy

Bridgefy is the only offline messaging service that works for both, iOS and Android. The app lets you send encrypted messages, videos, and pictures through ad-hoc Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. There is a P2P-mode available as well. You don’t have to pay to use Bridgefy, but there are ads.

Briar

Briar is an ad-free, open-source messaging service that you can use to send messages, images, and videos without internet. It only works for Android devices though.

You can chat with another person on Briar, but also start group chats, there are blogs and forums you can connect to, and all messages are end-to-end-encrypted. Everything you send is only saved locally on your device.

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Briar is an exceptional offline messaging app because it does offer an online option as well. If you choose the online mode it automatically connects you to the internet through the anonymous Tor network. Even with Briar though, you can’t use video or voice calls. Another disadvantage is that you can’t enable the battery saving setting on your device when using Briar, so it uses up a lot of your battery.

Bluetooth Chat

Bluetooth Chat only uses Bluetooth to send end-to-end encrypted messages from one device to another. The app doesn’t have a peer-to-peer mode, so your range is limited to 300 feet (100 meters).

In order to talk to another person, make sure that both users have the app set to “discoverable”, and that you then accept each other’s friend request. Alternatively, you can send somebody an invitation link as well. If one person has the app on their phone, the other one will still be able to connect. Unfortunately, if one device looses connection, the contact will not be saved, so you’ll have to re-connect.

Bluetooth Chat is only available for Android, and there are no options for video or voice calls.

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Can offline messengers replace messaging apps? Spoiler: no!

The low-range connections used in mesh messaging are much harder to interfere with than regular Wi-Fi or cell tower waves. This is why offline messaging apps are considered in some ways more secure than other messaging apps.

It’s important to note though that the main difference between offline messaging apps and regular messaging apps is not the type of encryption, but the signal range. Messaging applications, such as WhatsApp, Signal or Threema use end-to-end encryption, and other encryption technologies that make them at least as secure as off-grid messengers.

And while there might be some situations when offline messaging will come in handy, mesh messaging will not replace WhatsApp, iMessage, or SMS any time soon. That’s because in everyday use cases, their options are too limited.

Most of them don’t offer rich media options, such as voice or video calls. It is also almost impossible to reach anybody that is not standing next to you. And, if you want to talk to iPhone users, you can only use one offline messenger app. So, in most private, and especially business cases, offline messaging might be an interesting addition to your regular communication channels, but it won’t be able to replace them.

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FAQs

Is there any offline messaging app? ›

Bridgefy. Bridgefy is the only offline messaging service that works for both, iOS and Android. The app lets you send encrypted messages, videos, and pictures through ad-hoc Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. There is a P2P-mode available as well.

What means offline message? ›

Online means that a computer, device, or a person is connected to a network, and usually this means the Internet. While off-line means the computer, device, or person is not connected to a network, cannot be reached, and cannot communicate with any other computer or device.

How do I make my messages offline on Android? ›

To seem offline when using Facebook Messenger via Android:
  1. Launch and sign in to the Messenger app.
  2. Click on your profile icon at the top-left corner of the screen.
  3. Select “Active Status.”
  4. Move the “Show when you're active” slider towards the left to turn it OFF.
  5. Click on “Turn Off” in the pop-up to confirm.
19 May 2021

Is there a secret messaging app for Android? ›

Wickr Me - Best Apps For Secret Texting

Through this private texting app, take full control over who has access to your content and how long it remains accessible. Every message is encrypted with a new key using advanced vetted end-to-end encryption.

Do you need internet to send a text message? ›

To send an SMS message, you need cellular network connection. If you turn on Wi-Fi Calling, you can send SMS messages over Wi-Fi. Check with your carrier to see if the type of message you're trying to send, like MMS or SMS, is supported.

How do I turn off offline mode? ›

Go to File -> Settings. Then uncheck -> Offline work on the right. Click the OK button. Then Rebuild the Project.

How do I turn off offline? ›

Click the Manage offline files option from the left pane. Click the General tab. Click the Disable offline files button. Click the OK button.

What is offline mode on Android? ›

Offline Mode allows field workers to use the mobile app when they do not have access to internet. It must be enabled and configured at the system level for field workers to use it. Offline Mode is available for both Android and iOS.

Can Google messages be used offline? ›

You can read, respond to, and search your Gmail messages even when you aren't connected to the Internet by visiting mail.google.com.

What messaging app is private? ›

Signal- Private Messenger for Web

Being listed among the most best secure messaging app of 2022, there are millions of trusted people who use Signal for it's free, instant, and encrypted communication that is quite easy to use.

What apps are disguised? ›

List of secret messaging apps that look like games for iPhone and Android phones.
  • Plato.
  • Voga.
  • Yubo.
  • Bunch.
  • Hago.
  • PlayJoy.
  • Confide.
  • TopTop.
6 May 2022

Which is the best app to chat secretly? ›

One of the most popular secure messaging apps for Android and iOS, Viber has over a billion users worldwide. Viber secures messages, calls, group chats, and files via end-to-end encryption using its own encryption protocol. Viber allows you to hide chats from your home screen and protect them with a PIN.

What is the difference between a text message and a SMS message? ›

The first and biggest thing to know about the difference between SMS and text messages is that there is no difference. SMS, or Short Message Service, is a form of text message that's sent from one device to another.

Why are my text messages not being delivered? ›

There are a number of reasons why an SMS message might not get delivered, but some of the most common are: the recipient opted out of messages. the recipient blocked your phone number. the message contained illegal content.

What's the difference between SMS and MMS? ›

MMS allows you to embed media files in a text message; you may send pictures, videos, audio files, and gifs. SMS, on the other hand, can only support embedding a link within a text as well as emojis.

How do I change offline to online? ›

From the file explorer ribbon, under the 'Easy Access' drop down menu, you could toggle from "offline" to "online". In doing so, you would switch the mapped drive status to "online" and access to the entirety of drive's content would then be possible/granted.

How do I switch from offline to online? ›

Reset the Work Offline status

On the Send/Receive tab, choose Work Offline, and check your status bar. If the status shows Working Offline, repeat the action until the status changes to connected.

Why is my phone saying your offline? ›

Restart your device.

If restarting doesn't work, switch between Wi-Fi and mobile data: Open your Settings app and tap Network and Internet or Connections. Depending on your device, these options may be different. Turn Wi-Fi off and mobile data on, and check if there's a difference.

Where is the offline mode? ›

Offline Mode is an extension that lets you easily disconnect your browser from the internet. The toolbar button serves as an ON|OFF switch. When the addon is active toolbar icon is dark grey and when it is inactive, the button is light grey. Pressing on the toolbar button will toggle the offline mode.

What does offline mode do? ›

This means that any information you put into the software isn't stored on your computer but instead on your internet connection. Offline Mode switches things around and stores the information on your computer, phone or tablet instead.

What does offline use mean? ›

In general terms, offline means that the device and its user are disconnected from the global internet. Sometimes, people who talk about being offline are talking about the real world rather than the digital and virtual ones that people often live and work in.

What does it mean to offline something? ›

In general terms, offline means that the device and its user are disconnected from the global internet. Sometimes, people who talk about being offline are talking about the real world rather than the digital and virtual ones that people often live and work in.

What is the full meaning of offline? ›

1. disconnected from a computer; switched off. 2. of, relating to, or concerned with a part of a computer system not connected to the central processing unit but controlled by a computer storage device. See online.

Why does it keep saying offline? ›

Well, the Android offline problem can occur for one of the following reasons: Airplane mode enabled. Internet connection issues caused by signal fluctuations or data loss. Bugs related to Google apps.

What is an example of offline? ›

1. A term used to describe when a connection is broken or disconnected. When a device is offline, it cannot send or receive information through that device. For example, if your printer is turned off, it is considered offline and cannot print anything.

Does offline mean no data? ›

What is Offline Functionality? Offline functionality means that most of the app's content and data is stored directly on the device, opposed to being stored in the cloud. This means that the app will work in some form without any network connection or with a flaky connection.

What is offline communication? ›

Offline communication is quite simply, exactly what it sounds like, communicating offline. This means without the use of the internet. Unfortunately for some, this can mean taking part in human interaction. In some ways, offline communication isn't too different from any other communication methods.

What are offline devices? ›

Offline device is a device which is not connected to CPU. When a computer or other device is not turned on or connected to other devices, it is said to be "offline." This is the opposite of being "online," when a device can readily communicate with other devices. ...

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