WhatsApp used to be the choice of the masses, with over 1 billion users worldwide. Now with their privacy problems, millions of people appear to be abandoning WhatsApp. Telegram is one of the top alternatives and this Telegram review will give you everything you need to know.
Telegram is totally free and growing like crazy. When we reviewed it earlier this year, there were over 500 million Telegram users, and it was growing fast.
In this new and updated Telegram review, we’ll look at the privacy and security offered by the service to help you to decide if this is going to be your WhatsApp replacement.
Odds are good that if you’re looking into Telegram as your new messenger app of choice, you’re fleeing WhatsApp.
In 2014, Facebook announced that it was buying the popular messaging app WhatsApp. Since then, the social media giant has mostly treated WhatsApp as a separate entity from its social networking platform.
That all changed in early 2021 when WhatsApp’s terms of service was updated to inform users that their user data would now be shared with its parent company, Facebook. Users were outraged. While WhatsApp tried to clarify these terms, users who already distrusted Facebook wouldn’t be convinced. The magnitude of the WhatsApp exodus is unclear, but as competitors like Signal and Telegram flew to the top of the App Store charts, WhatsApp completely dropped out of the top 20 apps.
Many of these security-conscience users seem to have landed on Telegram. Ironically enough, if security is first on your mind, WhatsApp is the better choice. WhatsApp messages are end-to-end encrypted by default. Further, all messaging on WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted by default, even group chats.
Telegram, in some ways, functions like a social network even more so than WhatsApp, the messaging service run by a social network. Users on Telegram can choose a username along with the required phone number registration, while WhatsApp and other messengers tie your identity to your phone number. Telegram can also host up to 200,000 users in a single group chat. On WhatsApp, the group chat limit is 256 people.
When it comes to choosing between Telegram and WhatsApp, it really comes down to this: if you’re looking for a messaging service that will collect less of your data, choose WhatsApp. If you’re looking for a messaging app that’s less likely to use that data in some way, Telegram is your choice. Telegram has previously gone on the record saying they have no interest in selling the company or serving users advertising, hence, your data is least likely to land inthe hands of third-party organizations.
Where is your Telegram data stored?
Telegram has a hybrid system for storing your data. By default, all your message data is stored on your devices. However, you can remove data from this local cache, and store it on Telegram’s servers. This allows you to balance your desire for privacy against the need for data storage space.
Those Telegram servers are located throughout the world as part of a distributed network.
Telegram third-party testing and audits
Telegram told us in an email that, “Multiple researchers and security experts have analyzed Telegram’s encryption.” As an example, the provided a paper from two researchers in Italy who examined the MTProto 2.0, as you can see here.
Nonetheless, we were not able to find any formal security audit or analysis that was conducted by a cybersecurity firm. This is in contrast to some of the other popular secure messenger services.
As we noted in both the Wire review and the Signal review, these encrypted messaging apps have undergone formal third-party audits.
Telegram messenger hands-on testing
For purposes of this Telegram review, I used the Telegram mobile app for Android, along with the Windows Desktop app. Since Telegram focuses on the mobile experience and requires you to join the service using a mobile device before you can use a browser or Desktop app, we’ll concentrate on the mobile side of things first.
Encrypted messaging app Telegram has started rolling out a new update that brings easy-to-make video stickers, better reactions with compact animations and extra emoji, a button to review unseen reactions, improved navigation between chats and more.
Telegram said that its animated stickers have unmatched quality and efficiency — needing less than 30 KB of data per sticker. However, creating such stickers requires experience and specialised software such as Adobe Illustrator.
“Today, we are adding support for stickers converted from regular videos, so that anyone can easily create detailed animated stickers using any video editing programme,” the company said in a blogpost this week.
“Like always, you can publish your packs with the @Stickers bot — or add some of the new sets made by others,” it added.
Developers can use the Sticker Import API to build powerful apps for creating and importing stickers to Telegram.