Want a little extra privacy when texting your friends? Free messaging app Wiper, which made its official debut this week, covers your tracks by deleting the messages and photos you to send from both your friend's phone and the company's servers. You can send messages back and forth and make free phone calls, and when you need to delete any evidence of your conversation, you tap a button and everything disappears.
I know what you're thinking: why do I need another messaging app when there's already, , , , and ? Well, Wiper promises more privacy and security than those apps, so if that's a concern for you, the app is worth checking out.
Private and secure messages
Wiper has many features you'd want in a messaging app. You can send text messages, photos, and videos, you can see when your recipient is typing a response, and there's a handy button to quickly make a call from the conversation thread. It's a relatively simple app that doesn't have the flashier features from apps like GroupMe or Facebook Messenger, such as emoji or the ability to send GIFs. It does just a few things, and does them well.
Each message you send has end-to-end encryption, which means they are secure and tough (but not impossible) to hack. Likewise, each phone call you place in Wiper, which uses VoIP, is encrypted and the app doesn't keep a call log. What's more, you can't even take screenshots of the Wiper Android app -- you'll get an error that says the image is DRM protected. In the iOS app, you can take screenshots, but if you do it in a conversation, the person on the other end gets a notification telling them you took a screenshot.
To increase security, you can also only add new contacts in the app if they are in your phone's address book. If that's not enough privacy for you, you can tap the Wipe button on any conversation to erase the messages from your app, your friend's app, and the Wiper servers. You'll see a cute animation of a white-board eraser cleaning the conversation off the screen, which is a nice touch.
Wiper won't give up its secrets on how it does this exactly. In an email to CNET, CEO Manlio Carrelli says the company uses proprietary technology to erase the messages in the app and remove any temporary copies of the conversation from Wiper's servers so it can't be stored long-term. Once you wipe away a conversation, it's allegedly gone for good.
It's easy to joke that Wiper and apps like it are meant for unsavory or illicit activity, such as sexting. However, "ephemeral-messaging" app Snapchat has proven that there's a lot of people who like to send messages and photos that don't stick around forever, whether they're salacious or not.
What's great about Wiper is that you and your friends can decide how long your conversation sticks around, instead of the app deciding for you like Snapchat does. However, that also means you're at the mercy of each person you chat with, who can make your conversation disappear whenever they want, without your approval.
Wiper's not alone in its private-messaging endeavor. Another contender is Telegram, which promises secure group messaging with a self-destruct feature. Wiper sets itself apart with a clean design and no-nonsense features, both of which make it appealing to anyone who wants some privacy while they stay connected.