With the rise of social media platforms in the digital world, we had a question, what would be the state of messaging apps in 2021? And now we have got an accurate answer that messaging apps are more successful than ever.

The messenger allows users to communicate with their friends and enhance their businesses as well. It has turned out to be a popular method to communicate. Moreover, the popularity of messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber, Facebook Messenger, and others has forced business owners and enthusiasts to think over how to develop a messaging app of their own.

As per the latest report, as of January 2021, there are 2 billion users for WhatsApp, while Facebook Messenger has 1.3 billion active users.


Well, as a business owner, if you are planning to create a successful messaging app in 2021, we have a plethora of valuable information for you. As an experienced mobile app development company, we will help you create a stupendous chat app like WhatsApp.

Since the messaging app has created hype, we often receive inquiries about how to develop a messaging app. Therefore, we are curating detailed information about developing a chat app. In this article, we are going to cover the main aspects of messaging app creation.

Table of Contents:

Is It a Good Idea to Develop a Messaging App in 2021?

So, basically, what’s a messaging app?

It’s an app that simplifies and speeds up communication between humans. It allows users to exchange text messages, videos, audios, files, as well as call or video calls.

Well, now the question is, how to develop a messaging app and why your business may need it?

In the fast mode of communication, nowadays, users take the help of messaging apps instead of email, SMS, or calls. The chat apps enable multiple options for users like chatting, payments, games, or news reading.

If you are planning to develop a successful messaging app like WhatsApp, you should have some questions to answers, such as:

  • How many people use them
  • Why do they use them
  • How much time they spend on messenger
  • Find out their competitors

Well, these answers will help you make an informed decision for your future.

As per Facebook, 80% of adults (19 to 64 age) and 91% of teens (13-18 age) use messaging apps daily and it’s become a part of their everyday life. To conclude the facts, we have figured out that the following are some reasons why chat apps have become so popular:

  • No hold times
  • Convenience
  • Chat history
  • Easy to multitask
  • Users can use it from anywhere

For the recent time, on average, users spend 10 minutes per day on messaging apps.

The report of On Device Research shows that users across the globe have at least two messaging apps installed on their smartphones.


Once you dive into the market research, you will find out a plethora of messaging apps. This suggests you will have a very tough and high competition. You will have to put extra effort and unique features to stand out from the crowd.

Nevertheless, there’s always a space for entrepreneurs for breakthrough and interesting products. So, while creating a messaging app for the Android and iOS platforms, as a cross platform mobile app development company, you have to ensure that the developed app at least falls under one of these criteria.

Let’s move further and define how to develop a successful messaging app in 2021.

Functionalities of Messaging App Development

Developing a messaging app comprises different steps. To understand the messaging app development, you should define its functionality. Because functionalities and in-app content (like stickers) are the most important factors for any user.

This means to flourish your chat app and make it successful, you should implement relevant features. Here, our experts have come up with several categories from the most demanded apps: basic and additional. This way, you can create an MVP for the messaging app and then complement it with additional features as you scale.

Features to Consider to Develop a Chat App

Like any other app, you can create a messaging app, adding its basic features.

Here are the functionalities you can include in your app.

1. Authorization

The first step of any chat app should start with signing up - authorization. However, it’s not the right way to restrict users to let into your app with one type of authorization. It’s a good idea to offer several sign-up options in an app, such as:

  1. Social media account
  2. Phone number
  3. Email.


Authorization via Email and Social Media Account:

Many apps allow users to sign up through their social media accounts. Moreover, you can also add messenger to your option. If you hire iPhone developers or hire Android developers, they can make use of open authorization protocol (OAuth) for social media or email login. Additionally, they can use a direct integration with the client-server API.

Authorization via Phone Number

Usually, it’s needed to build a mechanism for authorization via the phone number that interacts with the client-side of the application and OS on which the device runs. This way, the server-side will send an SMS request, so the client-side can read that SMS for confirmation.

2. Import Contacts

Importing contacts is the most important feature that your app must have. This offers a good user experience. The import of contacts should be automatic and behind the scenes. A mobile app development company can develop a chat app that will scan all the contacts in the contact book and import them to the server.

It makes users happy when they come to know that who else from their contact book has been using the instant messaging app and whom they can message now. Moreover, developers can also allow users to import contacts from their social media networks and look for other users.

In addition to this, you can also enable users to send invites to their friends who are not using the app. This is an important feature to consider when you develop a messaging app.

3. Instant Messaging

As a matter of fact, you simply can’t create a messaging app without implementing this feature. Well, an Android app development company can implement this feature in several ways. It completely depends on the type of architecture you use to implement this feature.

In the first case, messages are exchanged with the participation of the server. Whereas, in the second, messages are passed from user to user (Messages exchange without the participation of the server).

Method #1


If developers are opting for the first method for chat app development services, the messages will be stored on a server. Therefore, the communication between users and the server will take place with HTTPS protocol with SSL cryptography. Since you have to develop a real-time chatting app, it’s necessary to reduce the polling interval to the minimum possible - 1 to 2 seconds. This method may also include additional cryptography (the recipient receives a message in an encrypted form).

Method #2


The second method reflects that the messages are not stored on the server. The only way to authenticate the message is with the help of a central server. After that, each message is encrypted by an asymmetric cryptography algorithm (public-key cryptography) and is delivered to the recipient through the wireless mesh network.

Besides, if you want to integrate a video chat feature into your messaging app, then you have to select video and audio codecs that will give you a good quality of video event at low internet speed. The audio and video quality should be able to change as the call goes in case the Internet speed decreases.

You should also consider how the video will be transferred. You can do it either via the server or from user to user.

The second method is suitable as you won’t overload your server.

4. File Sharing


If you have a question about how I can satisfy users with my chat app, you have to consider the ‘File Sharing’ option.

The file-sharing option allows users to share documents, images, videos, notes, audios, and other relevant content. A custom mobile app development company can use specific APIs as well as pass the data to servers with the help of SOAP and RESTful APIs.

You can implement features in two ways:

1) Send the existing files from the gallery or internal storage.

2) Take photos and videos directly from the app and immediately send the captured moments to friends.

5. Real-Time Location Tracking


An iPhone app development company can use CLLocationManager Class for geolocation tracking. Whereas, an Android app development company can use android.location package.

But, what’s the need for it?

Well, this feature allows users to share their location to find each other or just show where a store, office, or restaurant is located.

6. Encryption

Keeping the data secure and safe, robust encryption is a must for any app in order to prevent the sensitive data of users. You must emphasize users’ data security if you are planning to develop an instant messaging application.

As per the latest survey, 62% of US citizens worry about their data being stolen. Therefore, you will need an experienced cross platform app development company to make your app encrypted.

With respect to these features, the Telegram app offers two encryption types:

  1. Cloud Messages - This is a standard encryption method.
  2. Secret Chats - While enabling the secret chat method, the app encrypts its messages in a completely different way - end-to-end. The messages sent with Secret Chat can be deciphered only with the help of their smartphones. Moreover, there are many other security features like a ban for forwarding messages to someone outside the secret chat, notifications about taking screenshots of a chat, etc.

Nowadays, security features are very important. That’s why it’s important to incorporate security and data protection features to make a successful messaging application.


Additional Features to Stand Out

Above mentioned features are the must-have features to develop a messaging application. Thus, it’s high time to think about other additional features to make your app unique.

1. In-App Voice and Video Calls

Albeit, the prime goal of any chatting app is texting, most users would love to communicate with other available means. Consider the other apps, you will find one thing in common is the in-app voice and video calls.

You can have several options in the app:

  1. Voice Calls and Messages: You can incorporate this feature which allows users to communicate via voice messages. Let them record voice messages or calls in real-time without any cost.
  2. Video Calls and Messages: The same scenario happens for video calls. You can add support for video calls, messages, or both.
  3. Group Video Calls: This is the most important feature that any user would want in the app. However, you can surely opt for this.

2. Channels and Groups

Previously, the famous chat apps were only giving one-to-one communication. But with the advent of seamless communication, the apps started implementing channels and groups for communication. They encourage users to share their thoughts and discuss trending topics by joining various communities inside the messenger.

3. Self-Destructing Messages

The name itself suggests the purpose of the feature. Hence, Snapchat clearly knows how to make a messaging app with unique features. However, due to the enhanced privacy, users love its self-destructing messages. Now, users have more control over their personal data and can be sure that after a certain time, it will vanish from the app.

4. Multiple Platforms Support

If your messaging app supports multiple platforms then there are high chances of attracting new customers. Well, while developing an app, you should not only think about the iOS or Android operating system but create the web version as well.

Well, as we know, there are many popular platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram that have a web version.

5. Push Notifications

Do you want to navigate users in your app? Well, the push notification feature can help you convert one-time users into some of your most dedicated. While developing an instant messaging app, you have to consider this feature.

6. Cloud Synchronization

Cloud sync feature allows users to synchronize their chat that includes text messages, videos, and media files into cloud storage. This feature may become an add-on for your app as it offers a synchronization option with the help of Google Drive or iCloud.

Hence, it gives a better user experience.

In nutshell, to make your app feature-rich, you may also consider the following features:

  • In-app voice and video calls
  • Voice and video messages
  • Group video chat
  • Channels/groups
  • Self-destructing messages
  • Cloud synchronization
  • Presence on multiple platforms
  • Chatbots
  • Possibility of creating stickers
  • Scheduling of messages

Technology Stack

As a top-notch mobile app development company, we have figured out which technology stack you can consider while developing a messaging app. Anyway, it may depend on project complexity and your requirements.

For Android App Development Services

If you are developing a messaging app using Android app development services, you may have to use the following technologies:

  • Programming Language: Kotlin
  • Networking: Retrofit 2, OkHttp 3
  • Database: Room, Anko SQLite
  • JSON Parsing: Gson, Jackson
  • Image Caching: Glide
  • Local Storage: Core Data
  • Social Authentication: Facebook SDK
  • Chat: Starscreen
  • Video and Voice Calling: WebRTC

For iPhone App Development Services

If you are developing a messaging app using iPhone app development services, you may have to use the following technologies:

  • Programming Language: Kotlin
  • Networking: Retrofit 2, OkHttp 3
  • Database: Room, Anko SQLite
  • JSON Parsing: Gson, Jackson
  • Image Caching: Glide
  • Local Storage: Core Data
  • Social Authentication: Facebook SDK
  • Chat: Starscreen
  • Video and Voice Calling: WebRTC

For iPhone App Development Services

If you are developing a messaging app using iPhone app development services, you may have to use the following technologies:

Programming Language: Swift or Objective-C

  • Networking: Alamofire
  • Local Storage: SQLite
  • Social Authentication: Twitter
  • Chat: OkHttp
  • Video and Voice Calling: WebRTC

For Back-end Development Services

  • Programming Language: JavaScript, Node.js
  • Framework: Express 4
  • Database: MySQL
  • API Documentation: Swagger
  • Infrastructure: AWS

Third-party Services

  • Storage: Amazon S3
  • Real-time Engine: Socket.io
  • SMS: Twilio
  • Emails: Elastic Email
  • Push Notifications for iOS: APNS
  • Push Notifications for Android: FCM

How to Monetize Your Messaging App?

Every entrepreneur steps into the market to generate more sales. However, there is no use of developing an app, if it can’t land you with a good profit. Therefore, to make money out of your messaging app, you must choose the right monetizing model.

Well, here are some factors which will help you monetize your app.


Subscription Fees

The subscription fee model allows users to use your app only after paying for it. For example, at the initial stage, the WhatsApp app used to cost $0.99 per year after a one-year trial period. It was utilizing a subscription fee model.

The subscription fee model can help you generate greater revenue if you have a large user base. Since many of the messaging apps are free, a subscription fee might narrow down your target audience. And this may affect your business strategy as well.

Advertising Model

Running in-app advertising is a good way to monetize your app. This method works well as it has the ability to grab the users’ attention.

For example, Viber shows in-app ads. But due to its high frequency, users prefer it without any ads. So as a result, it has annoyed the user base. However, advertising might help you develop a business, but on the other hand, it may annoy your users. Alternatively, you can offer to disable advertising at a cost.

Additionally, Snapchat also shows a full-screen ad for 10 seconds that appears between friends’ stories. This approach is quite effective enough as it offers a good advertising channel for marketers and reaches an active user base.

In-app Purchases Model

If users want to use some additional features of your app, you can ask them to pay. Paid stickers are one of the prime examples of in-app purchases for chatting apps. This model is a win-win for both users and entrepreneurs. So it’s worthy of investment.

Moreover, your messengers can come up with various options such as themes, wallpapers, and filters.

Sponsorship Model

The sponsorship model has a paid partnership to offer with other businesses. Advertisers engage their users with the relevant content and reward them for completing specific in-app actions. This approach helps advertisers to get benefit from such sponsorship.

Advertisers might use branded stickers to promote their products such as upcoming events or movies.

From the above monetization models, you can find out which strategy will be the best for your messaging app and implement it.


Challenges of Developing a Messaging App like WhatsApp

By now, we have noted down all the features and essential requirements, it’s time to look at challenges a developer can face while developing a messaging app like WhatsApp.

Engaging and Retaining Customers

The success of any mobile app can give you user engagement and user retention insight. In this competitive world, one mistake may lead you to lose your user base. Therefore, you have to put all the effort into attracting your users from the beginning.

If you hire mobile app developers, they have to up against all odds. Therefore, they have to create an intuitive, feature-rich, and engaging app to grab the users’ attention.

Let us give you some tips to produce a good result:

  • Onboarding Experience: The first impression is the last impression. Therefore, you have to offer a seamless onboarding user experience that can significantly reduce abandonment rates.
  • Personalization: Personalization is one of the important factors of a compelling application. It provides a more unique and relevant user experience.
  • Incentives: Incentives are the best method to drive more user engagement and retention. You can offer mobile-specific rewards, special offers, access to specialized content, and other offers.
  • Regular Updates: Providing regular updates with new features and personalized content helps keep users engaged and interested.

Security Issues

Security is one of the biggest issues developers face while developing a messaging app. To prevent data stealing, many users prefer to choose a secure messaging app. Users are more worried about their sensitive information and, therefore, a lack of encryption will not lead an app to success. Many organizations prefer messaging apps that want to keep their data encrypted.

For example, WhatsApp integrated security features by joining hands with Open Whisper Systems for an end-to-end encryption system. Hence, no third party including WhatsApp itself can decipher the content of your messages.


Development Cost and Time of Your Messaging App

Well, again, we have to say that the total development time and cost of messaging apps like WhatsApp, completely depend on various factors, such as features, requirements, and complexity of the project. However, if you want to have your messaging app, we can surely recommend its basic features. For example, we can help you develop an MVP for that and take out a rough estimate for it.


Final Checklist of Developing a Messaging App

  • Step 1: Do a thorough market research
  • Step 2: Find out your competitors
  • Step 3: Note down its basic features
  • Step 4: Choose a relevant platform to develop a chat app
  • Step 5: Choose the right monetization model
  • Step 6: Decide features for your app’s MVP
  • Step 7: Look out for the best mobile app development company in India
  • Step 8: Share your ideas and requirements with them
  • Step 9: Work on your messaging app together to achieve the road to success
  • Step 10: Define a marketing strategy and launch it before an app’s release
  • Step 11: Launch your app
  • Step 12: Maintain it and continue gradually adding new features


As we can conclude that, while developing a successful messaging app in 2021 like WhatsApp, there are many factors we have to consider. In many ways, messaging apps define the future of communication. Therefore, it’s high time to develop a chatting app for your business.

For that, you have to find a reliable mobile app development services to build your ideas. Having a plethora of experience and expertise in instant messaging app development, The One Technologies is ready to help you!

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