Privacy & Security

6 big reasons why you should use Telegram instead of WhatsApp

WhatsApp is dominating the arena since the start of an era of digital messaging. Even Google’s messaging services like hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Microsoft’s Skype have not grown like WhatsApp. WhatsApp is now 10 years old. Is it still has the charms of being the favourite app? The chat service went to the peak of its popularity and usage especially after Facebook acquires it.

WhatsApp doesn’t have to be the default app for messaging when we have better choices now. Telegram is the worthy contender, has all the eligibility to replace WhatsApp with undeniable reasons. On a side note, I dumped WhatsApp in favour of Telegram a year ago. Let me reason out why you have to start using Telegram right now, based on my experience and perspective.

1. Privacy & Security

The first and foremost reason is privacy. As soon as I heard the news Facebook is acquiring WhatsApp, I had this mild discomfort of losing my privacy. Unlike Facebook, I use WhatsApp more frequently and on a daily basis. Despite the end-to-end encryption provided (in later days), the data is still in the hands of Facebook.

secret chats & self-destructing messages

As Telegram offers end-to-end encryption for normal chats, it has this option called ‘secret chats’ which harnesses the true device to device basis end-to-end encryption. Which means a message is only read by the intended user, only on the intended device he/she owns. These secret chats are never stored in Telegram’s servers like the normal chats. It has the options to make the message self-destruct after a particular time, which can be set globally to the whole secret-chat or for only the single message concerned.

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username vs phone number

Unlike WhatsApp, your phone number is not the primary identifier for your account. Telegram uses a username based identifier for every user. If the user wishes to hide his phone number, it is possible. Even people without your phone number saved in their phone can chat with you by only knowing your username. So, I don’t have to share my phone number to the unknown people and I don’t have to save other’s phone number in my contacts to chat. By the way, you can have your choice of username for your Telegram account (if it is not already taken).

2. Less Distracting

WhatsApp is now oversaturated in terms of the number of users. Too much of messages to consume and process. It is not acting as a chat-app now, it is more like a social network. Telegram is a clean chat app with pretty nice features yet focussing more on enriching the chat experience.

status updates

WhatsApp ‘Status’. Why? WhatsApp at its core is a chat app, it should stick to that. Now it’s like a cross-over of Instagram and FB Messenger. Even though I have the choice to ignore them, it is still annoying (just my personal opinion).

better group controls

Telegram group can hold up to 5000 users in a group, yet it is still very very less annoying compared to WhatsApp group which can only hold maximum of 255 users. Admins of Telegram groups can tweak the settings to leash the activities of the users. Admin can limit the frequency of the user posting message in a group. The group is more manageable than a WhatsApp group.

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3. Cloud storage

All your messages, media files like pictures shared, links, videos, documents and even any kind of file you share in the chats will be stored in the cloud. You can access them anytime by logging into the app, any number of times, from anywhere. No backups needed.

4. Media Exchange

quality/media compression

WhatsApp compresses the images before sending them to other users. This reduces the file size, at the same time reduces the quality of the picture/video. Telegram offers an option to send the media content as it as or after compressing.

file size – file type

WhatsApp limits the maximum attachment size to 16 MB, whereas Telegram offers whooping 1.5 GB for a single file. Telegram supports almost any file type to share and stored in their cloud.

5. Multi-session, Multi-account and Multi-platform

In Telegram, the same account can be logged in from more than one device. WhatsApp limits this to one device for one phone number. ( I don’t count WhatsApp web as multi-session as it needs the phone to be actively connected to the internet, even if you do chat only from the web version of WhatsApp). Telegram has a standalone app for Mac, Windows and all other major platforms, obviously for all smartphone OSes.

You can have more than one Telegram account (obviously with different phone number) and use it simultaneously in the same device. This is great for people who have separate accounts for work, personal and they don’t have to carry two phones for it. WhatsApp never allows you to access two profiles in a single installation.

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6. Channels, Bots

Telegram has a unique feature called ‘Channels’. It’s a more elegant and functional version of the ‘broadcast’ feature in WhatsApp. Channel allows two-way addition of users. Either the person who owns the channel can add the users or users can voluntarily subscribe to channels.

Bots is a unique, AI, Machine learning-based service dwells inside Telegram, which can be used to perform some simple tasks inside the chats. For eg., an image bot can pull images from the given name.

Can you trust Telegram? (Must Read)

WhatsApp will eventually try to monetize, so the Telegram. In one way or another, they have to earn money out of their service. There’s no free bread in this world. Telegram’s encryption model is criticized by many security experts. They store all our message data in cloud semi-permanently (you can adjust settings to auto-delete them) invokes some privacy concern and safety of the user data.

All their core development is closed, which means their security model and source code is not open for experts to certify its reliable and secure. So by all means, I am recommending to switch to Telegram, if you have WhatsApp on the other hand, Otherwise I don’t recommend both. I am not vouching for Telegram’s security promises.

Few things you miss if you switch to Telegram from WhatsApp

Read receipts in telegram won’t work like WhatsApp’s. WhatsApp has more than a billion active users while Telegram’s user base is in a couple of hundred million. So there is less chance you’ll find all your friends in Telegram.

Any doubts? Please put your thoughts in the comments section.

About the author

Sakthitharan Subramanian

Alpha Geek | Blogger | Former Web Developer & Designer | Productivity Enthusiast | Loves Minimalism | PhD in Computer Science