As more and more applications take the route of having both “free” and “premium” versions, it’s becoming more difficult to find apps that are genuinely free to use! Thankfully, Kik Messenger remains free to download, even as more of its competitors are opting into premium features that require either one-time payments or subscriptions to take full advantage of. This is another of the many features that have drawn over 200 million people to register for Kik’s messaging service.
If you’re a cost-conscious type of person, it’s easy to see how that might set off a few alarms in your head. “How does Kik pay for its continued development?” you might wonder. The answer to that is something we’ll explore in this article, but it suffice’s to say that the reason lies within Kik’s frequent sponsored chats and promoted activities that you’re often invited to participate in. Third-party interests and popular brands frequently speak to their audiences and advertise directly through Kik. It’s a unique opportunity for them and a great way to keep Kik free for its many users.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t incur charges in some form while using Kik; you simply won’t be charged for downloading and using the app. Since Kik primarily operates on mobile devices (unless you’re using an Android emulator on a laptop or desktop computer), this means that it’s possible for you to be charged for the data that Kik needs in order to function. I’ll elaborate upon this, plus provide a few tips and tricks that will help you to understand why Kik is free, even when your data usage most certainly isn’t.
Kik Messenger is Free to Download
Not on any app store, across any operating system that Kik runs on, should you be paying to download the application. Kik Messenger was designed as a free platform on which to engage both with other people and with third-party interests who choose to set up a presence on Kik. If you’re ever asked to pay for Kik, you can be absolutely certain that you’re not being asked to participate in a legitimate deal.
Whether you’re on Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, or Windows Phone, all that’s required to get Kik on your device is a trip to your respective app store. Search for Kik, download it and go through the short setup process to create a profile for yourself. Once this is accomplished, you have complete access to all of the features offered in Kik Messenger. The only slight exception is the Smiley Shop, accessed through the Kik browser. Items in the Smiley Shop can only be purchased with Kik Points, a digital currency earned by participating in Kik-promoted events. Currently, the Kik Points system is still in beta, but shortly after creating your profile you’ll begin to receive offers from Kik to join in these activities!
There’s also a slight exception that should be noted due to Kik having its own built-in browser. Though most of your browsing will have you visiting Kik-optimized websites, any paid services that you happen upon and choose to engage in will always be separate from the Kik app itself, and unaffiliated with Kik.
Kik Messenger and Data Usage
My cell phone is my best friend. It’s my lifeline to the outside world. Carrie Underwood
-Just as with any application that works primarily online, Kik requires the ability to download and upload data through the internet in order to function. Without this, after all, it wouldn’t be able to send and receive messages, let alone browse the web. Also because of this, the type of data that your device is currently using could result in additional costs.
Does this make Kik Messenger any less free? Certainly not! Kik is only free to download, and you will never be charged by Kik in order to use its services. However, due to the nature of the app, you’ll require that constant internet connection if you want to use it.
Most mobile phones and other devices come with two methods of sending and receiving data: either by a cellular network or local Wi-Fi. Depending on which of the two you’re using at the time, the way that you’ll be charged (or not charged) for their usage can differ greatly. Internet access is rarely free–somebody, somewhere, is always paying for the connection you’re using, whether it’s you or the proprietor of the Wi-Fi network that your device is connected to. In this way, you might say that no online application is ever “free.” However, because it’s such a universal truth about internet access, we can still reliably claim that Kik Messenger is a free app.
Still, the two types of connection can result in very different costs depending on how they’re used, and what online activities you engage in. If you’re using a cellular network–whether it’s 3G, 4G, or LTE–it’s very likely that you’re playing for a set amount of downloaded data access per month. Unlimited data plans are a rare breed amongst cell service providers, and so the amount of money that you pay per month is the lump cost of internet access in that month. Since Kik uses data when it sends messages–and considerably more when it sends and receives video, images, and GIF graphics–we can safely say that the amount of data that Kik requires each month can be an added cost of using Kik Messenger. It’s difficult to quantify, sure, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that you’re certainly paying for the data that the application uses.
If you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network, however, you’ll have a lot more leeway with the cost of data attached to your application usage. Whereas cellular data is often purchased with specific “caps” per month, Wi-Fi usage is far less monitored and is rarely restrained by similar monthly caps. If you’re starting to think that a Wi-Fi network might be a far preferable type of internet connection to use a messaging service on, you’d be right on practically every account. People who use their mobile devices heavily, on a day-to-day basis, often find themselves running right up against the caps of their monthly data. Utilizing a Wi-Fi network can greatly help to mitigate this!
Keeping Kik Data Costs Down
With the above in consideration, we can say that while Kik is certainly free, there’s an inherent cost to using it. As an online application, that fact is inescapable. For cellular data users, however, there are are precautions and knowledge that can keep your Kik Messenger usage from taking over your monthly data allowances.
Kik requires an internet connection in order to send and receive data as part of its basic function. Following this same rule, it’s important to realize how media heavy Kik Messenger tends to be. Users frequently send images and videos to each other. In addition to this, Kik’s built-in web browser frequently features media rich pages that must be loaded every time they’re accessed.
In essence, you’d be surprised by how quickly all of this loading data can accumulate over the course of an entire month! The following tips, then, are all oriented around keeping your data usage down, so that the sum total cost of your using Kik Messenger can be lower.
- Use a Wi-Fi network the next time that you’re going to send or receive particularly large files. Images are large, in terms of data. High-resolution images are larger. Animated images, such as animated GIFs, are larger yet. If you consider for a moment how many GIFs are loaded each time you search through Kik’s GIF Keyboard, for instance, it becomes clear just how much data you’re using each time that you do it. On a cellular network, this can add up quickly. On a Wi-Fi network, however, it’s a pebble in the ocean!
- Similarly, use a Wi-Fi network as often as you’re able when you’re browsing the web using Kik Messenger. Though this rule can certainly be applied to any browsing you do on your mobile device, it also applies to your Kik browsing! You’ll save yourself a great deal of data usages if you keep your heavy-duty stuff to Wi-Fi rather than cellular data.
If these seem like simple tips, it’s because they are. Certainly, you can’t always hop onto a convenient Wi-Fi network at every moment that you might need it, but if you get yourself in the habit of keeping your heavy media usage off of your cellular data plan, you’ll be surprised at just how close you can come to making Kik just as free to use as it is to download!
Though Kik has always been a free application, the dent that it can make in your data usage has grown steadily as it’s added more noteworthy features. The GIF Keyboard and the web browser, in particular, have given Kik users a wealth of media-rich content that, while entertaining, useful, and great for chatting, has seriously amplified the amount of data that the app uses. How do you manage your own mobile device data usage? Use the comments section below to discuss ways to bring Kik ever closer to that “free to use” state that sounds oh, so ideal.