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Telegram vs. WhatsApp: which Messenger to use?

WhatsApp is the undisputed leader when it comes to messaging, mainly because of its huge user base. Since being acquired by Facebook, the social media giant has tried to integrate many features corresponding to its other social media apps such as Instagram and Facebook. With this implementation, WhatsApp has absorbed the flavors of a social media platform and now far from being a simple messaging platform. While many users have appreciated the additional features, it may distract those who want to use the app for a simple and meaningful conversation and here another great messenger enters the scene: Telegram. Telegram is a simple cross-platform messaging service with a security approach and a variety of extra features such as programmable bots, which allow users to completely customize the way they communicate with others.

Almost throughout 2018, Facebook suffered fires from regulators and lawmakers around the world over the massive and infamous violation of Cambridge Analytica. Meanwhile, Telegram has also faced legal disputes with Russian authorities for denying users' private encryption keys. So if for your privacy concerns or simply to take a break from the usual noise on WhatsApp, Telegram may be able to redeem you. However, this does not in any way mean that WhatsApp is behind, and both messaging apps have their merits and demerits.

Both WhatsApp and Telegram support similar features such as support for stickers, picture-in-picture viewing, as well as basic messaging features, but are, at the same time, distinct from many other features. In this article, we intend to highlight these differences to help you make a clear distinction between the two and also to allow you to choose which could be the best messaging service to meet your needs. Let's start with the user base, should we?

User base

Before starting the battle between WhatsApp and Telegram, let's take a look at the difference between the number of users using the two apps. A wider user base translates into a more lucid end user experience, fewer experimental features and a better customer service channel.

In January 2018, WhatsApp would have had 1, 5 billion active users while a couple of months later, Telegram reported having 200 million monthly active users – less than 15% of the number of users served by WhatsApp. Despite the much smaller user base, Telegram prides itself on the fact that since its inception in 2013, it has not shared even a single byte of user data with third parties, which may seem compelling especially following concerns on Facebook to remove encryption. in the name of helping the government fight the fake news.

Comparison functionality

WhatsApp and Telegram, both boast some unique features that differentiate them from each other. So, let's take a look at their notable features:

WhatsApp: so unique?

The icon for adding participants disappears when you have four participants

Opened in 2016, the video calling feature of WhatsApp has become increasingly advanced over time and the messaging platform has recently added support for video calls within WhatsApp groups. Using this feature, you can call up to three other people – adding up to four users including yourself. You can simply start a new group video call directly from any WhatsApp group by tapping the Phone icon in the top bar and then adding the participants to the call.

Of course, this feature is not as beautiful or attractive as the FaceTime group call, which allows up to 32 participants, but the WhatsApp group video calls and group video calls are a useful and reliable function.

Over the course of the day, WhatsApp allowed users to add short text messages that are displayed on their profile. While the option is still there, WhatsApp has added the option to upload Snapchat-style stories that can live for 24 hours and are automatically deleted afterwards. A user can publish text, images, GIFs or videos as WhatsApp states and can also view the states uploaded by their WhatsApp contacts in the same window.

When adding text states, users get options to change the font style and background color of the state. Unlike Instagram, it is still not possible to add special moments to the highlights, but at last year's F8 conference Facebook announced that it will allow users to publish Spotify's "Now Playing" as WhatsApp status. As per the latest news, WhatsApp could show ads to users in the Status tab to generate revenue from WhatsApp.

WhatsApp the most used messaging platform and last year, its parent company, Facebook, decided to exploit it and allow companies to use the platform for sending messages or notifications intended to market their products and services. Although WhatsApp Business is designed with the communication needs of small businesses in mind, it can be a very useful tool not only in sending promotional and information messages, but also as a great platform for customer support.

With WhatsApp Business, small and medium businesses can view insights and metrics on customers and set up automatic messages for the small hours. Recently WABetaInfo has leaked a new feature concerning the connection of external accounts with WhatsApp Business to help users recover their accounts in case of forgotten or lost passwords.

While the free service for business owners, WhatsApp charges business users who take more than 24 hours to reply to a message. Apparently, companies are required to commit and respond via WhatsApp. The app currently limited to Android and the iOS app in progress.

Download WhatsApp Business (free)

In the wake of fake news and other misleading information on the platform, WhatsApp has introduced a new feature to help users identify suspicious links that could be used to spread incorrect information. The feature also warns users when it suspects that a potentially malicious link may cause unwanted software, malware or bloatware to download to their smartphone.

WhatsApp also uses its popularity to conquer another relatively foreign category for a messaging platform. In February 2018, WhatsApp began testing its payment function in India, where the UPI (unified payment interface) protocol in use that allows users to send and receive money using payment apps to and directly from their bank accounts. without needing to transfer it to a wallet app first.

The feature was then available for WhatsApp beta users in India (as well as for non-beta users who are invited by existing users), allowing them to transfer money using UPI. However, any further developments hit the wall after the Reserve Bank of India made it necessary for all financial transaction data to be stored on servers within the country itself and not overseas. At the moment, the function remains limited to a small group of users, but if you want to try it, you can use our guide on how to get WhatsApp payments working.

WhatsApp recently introduced the ability to format texts, which is a rather interesting feature. now it is possible to format texts in bold (* text *), italics (_text_), bold and italics (* _text_ *) and strikethrough (~ text ~).

Telegram: so unique?

Telegram's "secret chat" feature allows you to converse with end-to-end encryption among other security options. There are notifications for screenshots available and it is not possible to forward a message from a secret chat. You can also set a self-destruct timer, which will destroy your messages after a specified period of time. If you are looking for a secure messaging experience, secret chat has you covered.

Secret chat now prevents users from taking screenshots and even obscuring screen recording

  • Share different types of files up to 1.5 GB

There is no correspondence for Telegram's file sharing capabilities as it is possible to send almost all types of files including documents, zip, PDF etc. On the messenger in addition to the normal multimedia files. On Telegram, it is possible to send files up to 1.5 GB, unlike WhatsApp, where it is possible to share files up to a meager 100 MB (limited to 16 GB for multimedia files).

Telegram offers plenty of options to customize the app interface, including the ability to change the color of each individual GUI (graphical user interface) element. You can do it by going up Settings-> Chat Settings-> Theme . Telegram also supports the option to download themes created by other users. You can simply search for channels dedicated to themes and directly install a theme created by other users.

  • Automatic night mode

In addition to allowing you to choose or customize the interface color scheme, Telegram also has an option to automatically switch from a light to a dark theme. You can plan the times for this or assign a threshold brightness level so that the interface automatically changes the theme when the brightness drops below a certain level.

  • Two-factor authentication

To maintain the security and confidentiality of your messages every time you switch to a new device, you can enable two-factor authentication by selecting Settings-> Privacy and Security-> Two-Step Verification . Once the function is enabled, you will be asked to enter a password, in addition to the SMS authentication code, every time you install and configure a telegram on a new device.

In addition to the password, Telegram will also ask you for your email ID as it will be the only way to recover your account in case of a forgotten password. You can also add a hint so that you can retrieve your password in case you forget it.

Telegram can be very effective for sharing mini blogs as it has an integrated reader mode for viewing links. In addition to simply viewing the links, you can also change the font style and size, as well as the background color in Instant View 2.0. To make the articles compatible with Instant View, developers must implement the code in the back end of their website. However, if you want to write basic articles and share them mainly via Telegram, you can create Instant View articles using Telegraph Telegram bot.

  • Multi-device access

Thanks to its cloud-based synchronization feature, Telegram supports multi-device sessions, so you can start chatting on one device and continue on another. All messages are also synchronized between devices in real time, therefore fast and efficient. You can even check your active sessions in the app to learn about the devices where your Telegram account may be active.

  • Super groups and public channels

Telegram includes Super Groups, which can hold up to 1000 members along with fantastic public and private channels. Channels essentially broadcast to a wider audience and can contain unlimited members. When you send a message through a channel, the message is sent through the channel name. A public channel has its own username and can be searched and added by any Telegram user. A user can even send dumb messages to channels along with the ability to edit sent messages.

Telegram robots are basically Telegram accounts created to perform certain tasks. Each bot has its own set of commands and features. For example, @Pollbot can be used to create surveys in groups, @Storebot useful if you want to search for other interesting robots . Many useful and different robots are available on the Telegram bot or you can search for robots directly from the app.

  • Block chats and ability to hide the last seen for a particular contact

The possibility of hiding the last view in Telegram very similar to the implementation of WhatsApp, but there is a small twist. Telegram allows you to hide the last visa for certain contacts. So instead of hiding your last visa for everyone, you can simply hide it from a single contact or other. In addition, you can block your chats on Telegram with the passcode function, so that no one else reads your personal messages.

Have you ever wanted to edit the message you just sent? Well, offer typos, since Telegram now allows you to edit the messages you send. You can simply hold down a message you sent and press the "edit" icon to start editing the text. The modified messages will have a modified banner on them.

While Telegram is not a payment provider in itself, it supports payments on the platform with the help of bots. These robots cannot collect payments directly from your Telegram account, but they can help you generate invoices, payment reminders and interfaces with which anyone who can pay them can be directed to the desired platform. Payment robots can be used to accept payments via credit cards and services such as CLICK, Payme, Paymentwall and more. However, to create a payment bot, you will need to use Telegram's Bot API and you will need sufficient coding capabilities. So even if you can't really pay your friends and family with Telegram, companies can add payments to their bots which will make it easier to shop using Telegram robots.

Telegram eliminates WhatsApp in functionality

When it comes to functionality, Telegram wins it by a significant margin, as it offers some unique features that definitely make a difference when it comes to usability. While WhatsApp has group video calls and end-to-end encryption for all chats, Telegram clearly has the top option with its self-destruct timer, multi-device support and tons of other small but unique features (internal media player, bot, Instant View 2.0, etc.). However, WhatsApp is slowly adding a number of fantastic features and already in beta testing a lot of fantastic features that could surely make it better than Telegram. Well, here's hoping that Telegram would also raise the stakes.

Safety

The security of chats on WhatsApp has been constantly questioned despite the platform introducing text message encryption in 2014, and subsequently revising it to complete end-to-end encryption in 2016. Last year, the co- WhatsApp founder Jan Koum had to give up a disagreement with the Facebook forum on privacy and encryption and since then, there have been doubts about the company sacrificing encryption and reading users' private messages to show them ads to the inside the messenger.

On the other hand, Telegram, which also includes user-to-server encryption in normal chats and user-to-user encryption in secret chats, faced the wrath of a lower Russian court that imposed a ban on Telegram to deny to share the private encryption keys of their users and therefore not to follow the orders of the Federal Security Service of Russia (FSB). Telegram contested this order and the Russian Supreme Court imposed a fine of 800,000 rubles (~ $ 12,000) on the company for non-compliance. The messaging app remained closed in the country.

Additionally, special features like secret chats and self-destruct timers make chats safer and even more difficult for privacy defenders to intercept. It shows us that, unlike WhatsApp, Telegram is not willing to compromise users' privacy and security to collect financial profits, making us support it when it comes to security. Also, since WhatsApp chats for Android users are stored on Google Drive, these chats are not encrypted, which means that an attack on your Google account (or Google Drive in general) can result in data loss.

Furthermore, while WhatsApp may have to forgo encryption in countries like India, where the government wants to control digital habits, Telegram may not easily fall under the target due to its relatively smaller user base. Altogether, Telegram takes a leading role on WhatsApp in terms of security .

Performance and ease of use

There is no clear winner here, as WhatsApp and Telegram perform very well, although Telegram can sometimes be faster in sending a message due to its cloud sync feature. When it comes to usage, both WhatsApp and Telegram are very easy to use, with similar work apps. However, Telegram's gesture-based user interface makes things faster and more fun.

However, if you want a faster Telegram user interface, you can check out the Telegram X app, which pretty much like a beta version of the app. It comes with faster animations, a relatively relaxing and accommodating user interface, smaller icons and a dark theme by default. It also receives many experimental features before qualifying to access the main Telegram app.

Platform compatibility

WhatsApp available on mobile devices, web and also offers desktop clients for Mac and Windows. Comparatively, Telegram has desktop clients for Windows, macOS and even Linux. In addition, Telegram also has a web app on the Chrome Web Store and, given its open source nature, third-party Telegram applications are also available – although we recommend that you be careful when using a Telegram client by an unknown or unidentified developer. .

Telegram wins here because it offers independent apps for all platforms, unlike WhatsApp, which requires the mobile app to be running for desktop and web clients to work. Furthermore, it is possible to have multiple instances of Telegram running simultaneously while WhatsApp limited to only one mobile app and one desktop client simultaneously.

WhatsApp vs. Telegram TL; DR

Whatsapp

Professionals:

  • Group video calls
  • Massive user base
  • End-to-end encryption everywhere
  • Support for small businesses

Versus:

  • Limited file sharing
  • Not as feature-rich as Telegram
  • Chat on Google Drive unencrypted
  • Owned by Facebook

Telegram

Professionals:

  • Overall more feature-rich
  • Bot and excellent file sharing
  • Greater platform compatibility and multiple instances simultaneously
  • All chats have been automatically saved to the cloud
  • Better for privacy

Versus:

  • No support for video calls
  • A smaller user base

Telegram is more feature-rich and secure, but WhatsApp has multiple users

WhatsApp is now catching up with Telegram in most categories and Telegram's relatively smaller user base is not too convincing. While we hope that Telegram's user base will grow rapidly, it is not likely that it will overtake WhatsApp at any time. WhatsApp is testing and rapidly adding new features these days, and new ones keep popping up. For example, WhatsApp is testing the status preview on iOS for video states, similar to the long press option for previewing on Instagram.

It is clear that Telegram offers a better experience, but you may feel out of reach as many users still prefer to use a single messenger and this WhatsApp. If convincing your family and friends a demanding task, WhatsApp is the most convenient option, of course.

Finally, if you are concerned about your privacy, Telegram cannot compromise and give up encryption before WhatsApp. Thus, using Telegram makes more sense if you want to transmit sensitive information or are in a country / region where the authorities have oppressed citizens' voice and concerns.

These are our recommendations which, we hope, will help you decide between Telegram and WhatsApp, or even help you judiciously divide between the two apps. Do you think we missed vital information? Tell us in the comments below.