After Telegram expanded its group size to 200,000 members, it is slowly transforming from a secure messenger app to a WhatsApp rival. The messaging app also features some lesser-known features that will help you get the most out of it. By taking advantage of these options, you can help keep your data private and add your own personal touch when customizing.
1. Change Telegram’s Color Theme or Create Your Own
Staring at the same colors for too long can be depressing. That can quickly be taken care of by changing Telegram’s theme colors. Go to “Settings -> Chat Settings” and choose any of the default colors.
If you want to create your color scheme, scroll all the way to the right to get to the last pentagon icon composed of multiple color circles. Tap on the icon to pick your own color if you are not satisfied with the default offering. Here, you will have the option to select the colors of Telegram’s three key elements:
- Accent Color
- My Messages
You can lead your finger across the color range for each element, increasing or decreasing the lightness degree of each color with the bottom slide. Once done, tap on “Save.” Keep in mind that this will overwrite whichever default color theme was active, indicated by the circle within a circle icon.
2. Enable Secret Chats
If whatever you want to talk about with someone is extremely private, this is where secret chats come in. When you create a secret chat with someone, it’s not listed on Telegram’s servers. These secret chats will have end-to-end encryption and will self-destruct.
Once you tap on the user’s avatar you wish to contact, their profile will open up. Tap on the three upper-right vertical dots icon and “Start Secret Chat.”
To set the exact timer for self-destruct messages, tap the clock icon (input field on iOS, top bar on Android).
3. How to Have Various Profile Pictures Available Simultaneously
Unlike WhatsApp, Telegram allows you to have various profile pictures uploaded to your account. This allows you to easily switch between your profile pictures.
Whenever you tap on the image/video icon to extract the new avatar, this will be saved as your profile picture. Then, you can just slide between the five of them. To access your profile, tap on the three horizontal bars in the upper left corner, next to “Telegram.”
To browse through your profile pictures, tap on your current profile picture and choose the profile image you want to use. If you tap on the camera icon, you’ll only see the options to add a new profile picture from the camera or Gallery or to delete the current image.
Once you are settled between the profile images, tap on the three upper-right vertical dots icon and tap on “Set as main.”
4. Share Your Current Location in Telegram
If WhatsApp can do it, why wouldn’t Telegram? Instead of trying to explain to your friend where you are, just send him/her your current location. You can do this by opening the chat and tapping on the paper clip icon.
The location button is the green button on the bottom row. Let’s say you’re in a bad part of town and want someone to know where you are at all times. Right below the “Send My Live Location” button, there’s an option to send your location as you move in real time. Otherwise, if you want to let them know where to meet, browse through the map of your area and “Send selected location.”
5. How to Delete Sent Messages
Don’t worry, if you accidentally sent a love note to your gardener instead of to your spouse, you can quickly erase it. Just long-press on the message and tap on the Trash icon at the top.
Confirm the deletion by tapping on DELETE. If the other user hasn’t seen the message yet (only one checkmark present), you can also check the box “Also delete for XX.”
6. How to Customize Your Telegram Notifications
By going to “Settings → Notifications and Sounds,” you can make all sorts of changes to how you would like to be notified, depending on who is contacting you. For example, you can enable LED color for notifications, preview the message, customize the notification sound and reply to messages from your home screen.
You can also personalize group notifications as well with the same options as previously mentioned. “Add an Exception” is a wonderful option to make some users in a group more special than others. Under voice calls, you can decide how long you want your phone to vibrate when a call comes in. You can choose from options such as default, short, long, and only if silent.
7. Limit the Size of the Files You Receive on Mobile Data
Although you can see the file size of any file type when you join a group, Telegram allows you to further customize and automate your data usage, depending on whether you go mobile or Wi-Fi.
Go to “Settings → Data and Storage,” select the network type, and choose the kind of file you want to limit with the file size slider.
Both videos and files can be set to a maximum limit of 2GB. If you think video thumbnails are enough to judge whether you want to watch them, you can disable “Preload larger videos,” which will save you up to 2MB per video.
You can also set a limit size for photos, voice messages, video messages, music, and GIFs. On top of that, you can make these limits apply to different categories across contacts, private chats, group chats, and channels.
Telegram has features that many may wish WhatsApp had. With rising WhatsApp privacy concerns, there is no better time to switch over. Surpassing 500 million users in 2021, Telegram has a bright future ahead as both an encrypted messenger and social media outlet.
Hopefully, these hidden gems will enhance your Telegram experience further; you just have to dig a little deeper in the app’s settings. Did I miss a tip or trick? Share it with us in the comments.