Telegram vs. WhatsApp: Is Telegram as Good as WhatsApp?

Telegram V Whatsapp

Even though it may be hard to admit for some, WhatsApp is the king when it comes to messaging. With more than 2 billion active users, it seems that WhatsApp has no real competitor. However, some users have opted for an alternative with more and better options and one that cares about their privacy. The alternative is Telegram.

With Facebook investing billions on WhatsApp, there is no doubt that WhatsApp’s success was assured. Nonetheless, if we compare WhatsApp to Telegram from a technical standpoint, the former comes up short.

Find out what you’ve missed by not giving the lesser-known messenger apps a chance they deserve.

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Telegram Has a Better Desktop App

While Telegram has not been around as long as WhatsApp, it’s still considered a great desktop app. Telegram supports Windows, Linux, and Mac. Moreover, if you don’t feel like installing any software, you can also use Telegram on your favorite web browser by logging in to your Telegram account.

Those who have used either WhatsApp web or the desktop app know all too well how tricky it is to make it work consistently. It constantly has to be open to keep it working. Otherwise, you have to sync it with your smartphone, again! That is not very convenient if you have six or seven more tabs open as well. Telegram’s web app works well, and it also offers you all the functions you would find in the Android and iOS apps.

Moreover, the WhatsApp desktop app often stops working altogether, requiring a full reinstall. For a corporation that has effectively infinite resources, this doesn’t inspire confidence. No matter how many times people post reports and solutions to this chronic problem, it doesn’t seem to be going away.

Chats That Self-Destruct

If you are worried about the privacy of your conversations, Telegram offers end-to-end encryption. In other words, the messages never go through Telegram’s servers. The messages are encrypted and decrypted in the user’s device.

You can also start chats that self-destruct. You can program the chats to self-destruct after a certain amount of time, and once the time is up, that message is gone. Telegram can also let you know if the other person has taken a screenshot of your conversation so that you know who you can and can’t trust.

While WhatsApp has the equivalent in the form of Disappearing Messages, the user has to enable it to auto-delete messages after seven days.

Greater Media Flexibility

In every instant messaging service, you can upload images, but Telegram has taken it one step further. Along with allowing users to take either a picture or choose one from the gallery, it also allows them to look for one directly from the Web, or create their own stickers.

You can search for images and GIFs that will reproduce once they are in the conversation. The same applies to videos, and you can see the exact size of each attached video before you decide to play it. Don’t you just love Telegram already?

Telegram Has a Drastically Greater File Size Limit

Up until 2017, you couldn’t send a wide range of file types on WhatsApp, including Word and Excel files, PDFs, and various video formats. After catching up with Telegram, you can now share any file type on WhatsApp. However, Facebook is still stingy when it comes to the maximum file size that can be shared.

While Telegram allows for a file size of up to 2 GB, WhatsApp only gives you a minuscule 100 MB or just 16 MB for videos recorded with WhatsApp. This means you would have to take advantage of third-party cloud storage services, such as Google Drive or OneDrive, to then share as links.

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With Telegram, you don’t have to include third-party apps if you want to send large files. You can easily send and receive large files with ease. This is something that WhatsApp lacks.

Usernames Instead of Phone Numbers

If you don’t want to share your phone number to talk to someone, no problem. You can choose a username, and through that, anyone can add you to their contacts. This is a great way that Telegram respects your privacy. WhatsApp users have no choice but to add to their contacts list the person they want to talk to, even if it is someone who is selling something on eBay.

Telegram Is Completely FREE

Once you download Telegram, you can use it for as long as you want without worrying about paying a fee. To make it more competitive, the WhatsApp pricing scheme had been tweaked with the elimination of a $1 annual fee. However, given Facebook’s past practices, users should expect some form of WhatsApp monetization, most likely in the form of ads. Nonetheless, as Telegram grows in popularity, it may follow the same monetization route.

Telegram Supports Bigger Groups than WhatsApp

WhatsApp users can only enjoy groups of up to 256 users, but Telegram’s limit is up to 200,000. If you have more than 500 friends you want to keep in contact with, then you’re all set with Telegram.

Eliminate Your Account from the Web

Losing or having your phone stolen can be a real pain – unless you have an app installed where you can wipe your phone clean. Whoever gains access to your phone will be able to see everything, and that includes your conversations.

Telegram allows its users to eliminate their accounts on the web app and erase everything. With this option, there is no doubt that Telegram gives its users peace of mind when it comes to their private information.

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With WhatsApp, it may take up to 90 days to permanently delete your account. More importantly, in January, WhatsApp announced the change of its privacy policies for business accounts, which received a massive backlash, as WhatsApp is set to be more tightly integrated with Facebook. Needless to say, previous privacy scandals involving Facebook triggered an exodus of users to Telegram and other secure messenger apps.

Wrapping Up

It is clear that the one who should be the king here is Telegram and not WhatsApp, but hopefully, as more people get to know Telegram, they will see a huge difference between the two messengers. Telegram offers a superior alternative while costing you nothing in return – for now.

Rahul Nambiampurath Rahul Nambiampurath

Rahul Nambiampurath started his career as an accountant but has now transitioned into working full-time in the tech space. He is an ardent fan of decentralized and open source technologies. When he's not writing, he's usually busy making wine, tinkering with his android device, or hiking some mountains.

7 comments

  1. From their FAQ: “Telegram usernames are public and choosing a username on Telegram makes it possible for people to find you in global search and send you messages even if they don’t have your number.”

    This is a shame – sounds like a good messaging app otherwise.

    1. Actually there is a nice big button to block them when they message you.

      And generally about the article: Telegram also has Super-groups (up to 1000 members), channels & bots

    2. Hi John,
      It is a great messaging app and like Luca Weiss said, you can always count on the block button. Have you given it a try? =-)

  2. I don’t get why Telegram doesn’t encrypt messages by default. For me, this renders it unusable. I want a messenger that’s 100% secure, not that could be secure. Also, I hear that, among experts, its cryptography is considered questionable. I’m now using Signal and (mostly) Threema.

    1. Hi Terry,
      Every messaging app has its pros and cons, Telegram is no different. Thanks for suggesting Signal and Threema. I will give them a try.=-)

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