WhatsApp may be the smartphone app of choice around the world, but other secure messaging services are not obsolete.
Telegram has proven that it is a solid competitor to WhatsApp and has been gaining popularity due to its powerful features.
To see how the apps compare, we looked at the features offered by both services – detailed below.
Telegram and WhatsApp allow the sharing of images and video, in addition to text messages, but the former has additional features.
Telegram has full multi-device support and is available on iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux. The app also boasts cloud sync features on permanent server storage.
This means users can install and use the Telegram desktop client without having the app installed on their smartphone, and chats and settings are automatically backed up to the app’s servers.
When users migrate devices, their Telegram chats and settings can be automatically downloaded onto their new device – regardless of platform.
Unlike Telegram, WhatsApp requires users to manually set up cloud backups and does not support migration from Android to iOS.
WhatsApp also only allows groups of up to 256 members, while Telegram supports groups of up to 3,000 users. Telegram also features channels and bots, allowing users to create powerful customised chat rooms.
Telegram app integrations are also open source, which allows developers to add Telegram support to their own apps.
Both applications allow you to delete sent messages, while Telegram also allows you to edit sent messages.
While Telegram boasts numerous additional features that are attractive to power users, WhatsApp is more accessible to general users and has a simpler interface and tool set.
Telegram is known for its crypto contests, offering large Bitcoin bounties to anyone who can intercept encrypted messages on the platform.
Only Telegram’s Secret Chats are encrypted, however, with all regular conversations remaining unencrypted.
By comparison, all WhatsApp chats feature end-to-end encryption, including its 256-person group chats.
While it doesn’t measure up in overall encryption, Telegram does include a number of useful privacy features – such as disappearing messages and screenshot prevention.
The app’s Secret Chats also send messages with self-destruct timers and do not allow any message forwarding or screenshots. Deleted messages and files are also permanently deleted from Telegram’s servers.
The Telegram application also requires less device permissions than WhatsApp and users do not need to grant the application access to their Address Book to begin messaging.
While Telegram’s privacy and security features are impressive, WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is already built into the service and does not require the initialisation of any separate conversation type.
Privacy-minded users who prefer disappearing messages and screenshot prevention would benefit from Telegram’s offering, but the average user may be better suited to the accessibility and native features of WhatsApp.