As is usually the case with a successful app, Snapchat has spawned its fair share of imitators. What’s more intriguing, however, are the big names that are so blatantly plagiarising it. The main culprit here is Facebook, no doubt spurred on by the news that Snapchat is now the third most popular app among millenials (18-34 year olds). We trawled through the myriad ephemeral messaging clones you can find lurking in app stores to find you some of the better alternatives. Included here are Snapchat alternatives for iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices.
Originally viewed as just another Snapchat doppelgÃ¤nger from Facebook, Slingshot has quietly built a reputation as something altogether different. The free app has a ‘pay-to-play’ mechanic that doesn’t let you unlock your friends’ images and videos until you send them something back. A ‘send to all’ button also makes it easier to disseminate your visual content instantly to a larger group of people. Eventually, you’ll either be addicted to sending and receiving Slingshots or extremely fed up by it all.
This relatively new app launched in August. Phantom lets users post self-destructing photos and videos to a vast range of social networking sites and blogs, including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Content uploaded to these sites via the Phantom app will have similar ephemeral functions to Snapchat, which include a time-limit and user-placed restrictions on the number of people who can view the posts.
Phantom is available on both iOS and Android and has a user interface that is very similar to Snapchat. Where it differs from the popular ephemeral messaging app is that Phantom lets you configure how long your content will exist, as well as determining how many users it can have before it expires permanently. Whereas on Snapchat you can send photos and videos with time-limits to a selected number of friends, Phantom’s integration with social networks means you can set a general time-limit for your posts – after which they will expire, no matter how many people have seen them.
As mentioned previously, Phantom’s other main difference to its major influence is that it works with a number of popular websites. These include Facebook, Twitter, Google+, WordPress and Blogger. Additionally, via a ‘More’ option, you can also share to Tumblr, Pinterest, Whatsapp, LINE, Telegram, Movable Type, iMessage/SMS or email. The final result will see recipients given a link along with a blurred preview. To open the image they will have to use the Phantom app.
[alert type=alert-blue]WindUp (Windows Phone)[/alert]
Microsoft’s take on ephemeral messaging for Windows Phone users, has the exact same functions as Snapchat did before its recent video chat update. You can send audio, text, pictures and videos and set a time limit on your content. You may wonder why Microsoft chose to rip off Snapchat in such a blatant manner. Mainly because it has received unprecedented demand from users eager to get Snapchat on Windows Phone devices.
[alert type=alert-blue]Instagram Bolt (iOS)[/alert]
Instagram quietly released Bolt in selected regions in July (it is still not available in the UK) as its own Snapchat alternative. The app is as reliably pretty as you would expect from the filter-obsessed photo-sharing service. Unlike Instagram, it relies on disappearing content. Users tap on a friend’s photo, then use the in-app camera functions to send a photo or video, which deletes itself after the set time limit. You could blame Instagram’s parent company Facebook for this additional Snapchat clone, but it does differ from that app in the fact that it only lets you share content with individual friends. It’s therefore more likely that Instagram, which still operates as an independent company under Facebook (much like WhatsApp), came up with the idea itself in order to diversify its offering. Recently, the service has been overshadowed by Instagram’s new Hyperlapse app that lets you create time lapse videos.
[alert type=alert-blue]6snap Beta (Windows Phone)[/alert]
As mentioned above, Windows Phone has its own Snapchat clone in the form of WindUp. However, if you’re after an even closer duplicate, then look no further than this third-party Snapchat client. In the wake of Snapchat’s major update earlier this year, which introduced text and video chat functions to the app, 6snap followed suit with this beta with similar fetters tacked on. Ultimately, Windows Phone users that download the beta can now start an instant messaging conversation with a contact and integrate temporary images and videos in to it. Additionally, 6snap already offers all the regular functions of Snapchat too. Therefore, it’s the ideal choice for Windows Phone users seeking an exact replicant of the popular service.