Telegram recently surpassed 500 MILLION downloads in the Google Play store. And in this post, we’ll show six awesome Telegram features that make it better than WhatsApp
WhatsApp is the biggest IM app in the world. It has over five billion downloads to date, meaning almost two-thirds of the global population are actively using the app right now. Given this huge number, you’d think most companies would just give up and let WhatsApp rule the roost, right?
Wrong! There are plenty of alternatives to WhatsApp available, and one of the best ones is Telegram, an IM app that recently surpassed half a billion downloads inside the Google Play Store, or Signal which is the most secure IM on the planet. And in this post, I’ll detail a bunch of Telegram features that not only make it extremely useful as an IM but also better than WhatsApp in some cases.
Telegram Features (That WhatsApp Doesn’t Have)
- Multiple Phone Numbers – You know how WhatsApp will only let you use one phone number? Even though many phones support dual-SIMS? It sucks, right? Well, Telegram gets around this by letting its users use multiple phone numbers, so you could have a personal and business account inside the same Telegram account. Nice!
- Secret Chats – If you care about your privacy, or you don’t want your chats stored and saved on a server, Telegram is a great option. Inside Telegram, you can have secret chats that self-destruct after a certain period of time and are not stored on Telegram’s servers. This ensures all sensitive chats remain completely secure and secret.
- Telegram Bots – Like Slack, Telegram features thousands of bots that you can use to make your life easier. It has bots for the weather, for finding out what music is playing, and pretty much everything else in-between. All you have to do is download the ones you want to use and put them to work.
- Share Live Location – Telegram gives you the ability to share your location with your contacts. All you have to do to share your location in Telegram is open the attachment setting and select share location. This is a great feature for kids and anyone that lives in a rough area. It’ll give your contacts peace of mind and, if the worst happens, help the authorities track you down. It’s also handy for finding your friends in the park as well.
- Proxy Servers – Are you ULTRA conscious about your online security and privacy? If so, you’ll love the fact that Telegram lets you set up proxy servers that will hide your location just like a VPN. To set up a proxy server in Telegram, go to Settings > Data Storage > Proxy Settings and then enter your details.
- Telegram Runs Natively on Windows, macOS & Linux – Regardless of what PC/Laptop you’re using, you will be able to download Telegram for it. Telegram has a native application for macOS, Linux, and Windows. And it all syncs up with your phone’s app too.
Also: Telegram Isn’t Owned By Facebook
This is a big one. If you care about the internet, you should care than more and more internet is being sucked into fewer and fewer pockets. Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp. Alongside its actual social network, Facebook controls way too much internet activity. And the company isn’t exactly trust-worthy at the best of times.
For this reason, I think it is good for the general health of the internet to have and use viable alternatives to things like WhatsApp and Instagram; this is why TikTok and Telegram are great – they pull some of the power away from Facebook.
I use WhatsApp, so I’m not saying DO NOT use it, but I do think it is great that viable alternatives to it are now readily available. The less power Facebook accumulates in the coming years, the better. Telegram is a relatively new upstart, but its growth is impressive – zero to half a billion in a few short years is no joke.
Let’s just hope that Facebook doesn’t try and snap it up as it does with everything else!
Who Owns Telegram Then?
Telegram is owned by the same people – Nikolai and Pavel Durov – that founded Russia’s #1 social network, VK. Telegram was first launched in 2013 but is not based in Russia anymore, apparently this was done to evade “problematic regulations”, and the company now has headquarters in Dubai, following brief residencies in London, Berlin, and Singapore.
On the subject of whether Telegram is safe, the company claims its platform is more secure than WhatsApp – both in terms of encryption and from a data-perspective. Here’s the official line via Telegram on the security measures it uses on its platform:
All Telegram messages are always securely encrypted. Messages in Secret Chats use client-client encryption, while Cloud Chats use client-server/server-client encryption and are stored encrypted in the Telegram Cloud (more here). This enables your cloud messages to be both secure and immediately accessible from any of your devices – even if you lose your device altogether.
Is it safer and more secure than Signal? No, but that’s not exactly a deal-breaker. Both platforms, given WhatsApp’s recent changes, are infinitely preferable to Facebook-owned WhatsApp.
Things To Keep In Mind…
Here’s the thing, Telegram is arguably better than WhatsApp; it has more features, is more secure, and is generally more useful as an IM – both for individual chats and group chats.
But the one area where it CANNOT beat WhatsApp is the numbers. Everybody uses WhatsApp, so when you use WhatsApp, you know you’ll be able to connect with all your contacts and friends. Conversely, Telegram is newer and no way near as popular.
Key Telegram Stats – Users, Market Share & Future Plans
- Telegram is aiming for 1 billion users by 2022
- Telegram app has been downloaded 365 million times (2019)
- Iran has 50 million Telegram users
- Telegram is popular in Hong Kong; In 2019, there was a 323% increase year-on-year during the pro-democracy protests
- 15 billion Telegram messages were sent in a single day (February 2019)
This means that if you download Telegram today, most of your contacts will not have it or use it. This means you’ll have to send an invite to them and hope they accept it. If they don’t, you’ll have to continue using WhatsApp alongside Telegram to speak to certain contacts.
And even with the best features in the world, as well as market-leading security and privacy, that gap just looks too big for Telegram to cause any issues for the facebook-owned WhatsApp.
You never know though, maybe things will change – maybe by 2025, it’ll be Telegram that is number one? WhatsApp came out of nowhere, after all, and look where it is now?
Who’s to say that can’t happen again?
Telegram is available for iPhone and Android – you can download Telegram for iPhone here and Telegram for Android here.
And check out How To End-To-End Encrypt WhatsApp Backups! And take a look at How To Make Your Sent WhatsApp Messages Disappear!
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.