Apple Messages

Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Apple Messages

Last Updated on April 16, 2022

Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet (Google’s parent), Amazon and Facebook dominate the tech landscape. Their dominance is so broad they account for more than 20% of the S&P 500.

There are many things to admire about Apple’s hardware and software. Apple make great looking (albeit expensive) hardware. Over the years key successes include the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and the MacBook Air. The company designs its own hardware and software. This gives them the power to make an operating system and suite of apps that are tailor-made and optimized for their hardware. Apple also operates the Apple Music and Apple TV media distribution platforms.

macOS is Apple’s proprietary operating system for its line of Macintosh computers. Its interface, known as Aqua, is highly polished and built on top of a BSD derivative (Darwin). There’s a whole raft of proprietary applications that are developed by Apple for their operating software. This software is not available for Linux and there’s no prospect of that position changing.

In 2020, Apple began the Apple silicon transition, using self-designed, 64-bit ARM-based Apple M1 processors on new Mac computers. Maybe it’s the perfect time to move away from the proprietary world of Apple, and embrace the open source Linux scene.

Apple MessagesMessages is an instant messaging software application.

It offers features like conversation pinning, the ability to mention individuals, message searching, and tools to send messages such as Memoji.

Messages is proprietary freeware that’s not available for Linux. What are the best free and open source alternatives?


1. Pidgin

Pidgin
Click image for full size

Pidgin is a chat program which lets you log into accounts on multiple chat networks simultaneously. For example, you can chat with friends on XMPP and sitin an IRC channel at the same time.

Pidgin is compatible with the following chat networks out of the box: Jabber/XMPP, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, IRC, Novell GroupWise Messenger, Lotus Sametime, SILC, SIMPLE, and Zephyr. It can support many more with plugins.

Pidgin supports many features of these chat networks, such as file transfers, away messages, buddy icons, custom smileys, and typing notifications. There are many plugins which extend Pidgin’s functionality even further.


2. Signal

Signal
Click image for full size

Signal is a simple, powerful, and secure messenger.

One of the main aims of the program is to place privacy and security at the front of the queue.

It offers secure messaging, voice and video calls, group chats.

It’s a sublime app that puts store in not taking advantage of its user base.


3. Gajim

Gajim
Click image for full size

Gajim aims to be an easy to use and fully-featured XMPP chat client.

The name Gajim is a recursive acronym for Gajim’s a jabber instant messenger.

The software has a great set of features including tabbed chat windows, group chats, end-to-end encryption support, multiple accounts, emoticons, avatars, file transfers, URL grabbers, and bookmarks.


4. Psi

Psi
Click image for full size

Psi is a first-class open source instant messaging application designed for the Jabber (XMPP) IM network.

This software enables you to chat using Google Talk, LiveJournal and many other groups. It offers full Unicode support, file transfers, and much more.

Psi automatically encrypts its communication with compatible IM servers to provide a secure connection over untrusted networks like public WiFi access points.


There are lots of other good instant messaging apps available for Linux.

All articles in this series:

Alternatives to Apple's Products
Activity Monitor displays a variety of resources in use on a system in real time. These include processes, disk activity, memory usage, and more to provide a sort of dashboard.
Archive Utility creates and decompresses .zip files and other compressed files. It provides several options for you to have more control over file compression and expansion on Mac.
Icon for Apple's AutomatorAutomator is a utility which lets you create custom workflows to perform both simple and complex tasks, such as renaming files in a folder.
Apple BonjourBonjour is an implementation of zero-configuration networking; technologies that includes service discovery, address assignment, and hostname resolution.
Books is an e-book reading and store application. It primarily receives EPUB content from the Apple Books store, but users can also add their own EPUB and Portable Document Format (PDF) files.
Apple Boot CampBoot Camp is a utility that comes with a Mac which lets users switch between macOS and Windows. The utility also guides users through non-destructive disk partitioning.
Icon of Apple CalculatorCalculator lets users perform basic arithmetic calculations with the standard calculator. With the scientific calculator you can also perform exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions.
Apple CalendarCalendar is a personal calendar app supporting multiple accounts, colour code work, family and personal events, event support, as well as calendar invitations.
Apple ChessChess is a traditional chess game played on a well rendered board with a set of realistic 3-D pieces. It's actually a Unix-based chess program, Sjeng.
ColorSync Utility is a tool that lets you change a device’s colour profile. When you install devices, such as cameras, displays or printers, a colour profile containing the colour capabilities and limits for each device is created.
Apple CompressorCompressor is a video and audio media compression and encoding application with support for common formats.
Icon for Apple ConsoleConsole is a system utility which collects log messages that are generated from your computer and connected devices. The output lets users check performance issues and resolve problems.
Apple ContactsContacts is a computerized address book included with the Apple operating systems iOS, iPadOS and macOS. It includes cloud synchronization capabilities.
Apple DictionaryDictionary is a small utility that lets users easily get definitions of words and phrases from a variety of sources.
DiskImageMounter is a utility that takes care of disk volume images. It supports a variety of image formats including CDR and ISO images.
Apple Disk UtilityDisk Utility is a system utility for performing disk and disk volume-related tasks on macOS.
Apple FaceTimeFaceTime is a videotelephony product for making video and audio calls. FaceTime forces many to stay locked into a proprietary world.
Apple FileMakerFileMaker is a relational database application with a graphical user interface and good security features.
Apple Final Cut ProFinal Cut Pro is a series of non-linear video editing software programs. Log and transfer video, edit, process the video, and output to a wide variety of formats.
Icon for Apple Font BookFont Book is a font manager which lets you organise fonts into collections and libraries to quickly access those fonts you use all the time.
Freeform is a digital whiteboarding application. The app is designed to encourage brainstorming and enable real-time collaboration between users, with support for FaceTime and iCloud syncing.
Apple GarageBandGarageBand is a line of digital audio workstations for creating music and podcasts offering a complete sound library.
Grapher creates 2D and 3D graphs from simple and complex equations. It includes a variety of samples ranging from differential equations to 3D-rendered Toroids and Lorenz attractors.
Help Viewer is a WebKit based HTML viewer for macOS aimed at displaying help files and other documentation.
Image Capture lets you transfer images and video clips to a Mac from a camera, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or other device that has a camera.
Keychain Access is an app that stores your passwords and account information, and reduces the number of passwords you have to remember and manage.
Apple NumbersKeyNote is a simple and elegant presentation software that's part of the iWork productivity suite.
Launchpad is a central location where you can view all your apps and easily open them.
Apple Logic ProLogic Pro is a Digital Audio Workstation and MIDI sequencer providing software instruments, audio effects and recording facilities for music synthesis.
Apple MailMail is a simple email client offering the ability to send, receive, and view email with good organizing capabilities.
Apple MainStageMainStage is a music application designed for use in live performance. This software lets you run a live rig. Transform your keyboard, guitar, or vocal performance with an enormous collection of plug-ins and sounds.
Apple MapsMaps is a web mapping service that's available in over 200 regions around the world offering curated guides.
Apple MessagesMessages is instant messaging software for sending messages, images, videos, and documents. There's location data and stickers.
Apple MotionMotion creates and edits motion graphics, titling for video production and film production, and 2D and 3D compositing for visual effects.
Apple NotesNotes is a notetaking app designed to jot down quick thoughts or to save longer notes filled with checklists, images, web links, scanned documents, handwritten notes, or sketches.
Apple NumbersNumbers is a spreadsheet application which uses a free-form “canvas” approach that demotes tables to one of many different media types placed on a page.
Apple PagesPages is a word processor that's part of the iWork productivity suite. It's marketed as an easy-to-use application that allows users to quickly create documents.
Apple Photo BoothPhoto Booth takes photos and videos with an iSight camera. iSight is a brand name used by Apple to refer to cameras on various devices.
Apple PhotosPhotos is a photo management and editing application. Organize your collection into albums, or keep your photos organized automatically with smart albums.
Apple PreviewPreview is more than just an image viewer. The software provides a full set of markup tools. And it's a PDF editor.
Apple RemindersReminders is a task management program that allows users to create lists and set notifications.
Apple SafariSafari is a graphical web browser which uses the WebKit and Nitro engines. It's the default web browser for Macintosh computers.
Apple ScreenshotScreenshot lets you take a screenshot of the entire screen, a portion of it, or an open window.
Script Editor is a code editor that lets you create powerful scripts, tools and even apps. You can create scripts to perform repetitive tasks, automate complex workflows, and control apps or even the system.
Apple ShazamShazam identifies music, movies, advertising, and television shows. There’s nothing more annoying than hearing a new song not knowing the identity of the artist.
Shortcuts is a visual scripting application which allows users to create macros for executing specific tasks on their device(s).
Apple StickiesStickies is a small utility that lets users keep notes, lists and pictures in sticky notes on the desktop.
Apple StocksStocks lets you view stock quotes, interactive historical data charts and current breaking business news.
Apple System InformationSystem Information provides a system report containing detailed information about a Mac including its hardware specifications, networking interfaces, and installed software.
Apple TerminalTerminal provides a command line interface to control the UNIX-based operating system that lurks below macOS.
Apple TextEditTextEdit is a basic word processor and text editor. It can open documents created in other word processing apps and can create HTML documents.
Time Machine is a built-in backup feature to back up your personal data automatically, including apps, music, photos, emails and documents.
Voice Memos is an audio recording app. It's designed to save recordings of sound with built-in or attached microphones for later playback. It also provides basic editing functionality.
Apple VoiceOverVoiceOver is a screen-reader that tells you exactly what’s happening on your device.
XcodeXcode provides developers a unified workflow for user interface design, coding, testing, and debugging. It supports source code for many programming languages including Swift, C, C++, Python, Ruby and more.
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