WhatsApp vs Telegram: which is the best messaging app?

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When we think of instant messaging, WhatsApp and Telegram are the first apps that come to mind. From sending unlimited free messages to sharing various forms of media, WhatsApp and Telegram provide instant access to online communication tools that anyone can access from anywhere.

Since both apps offer similar functionality, users often ask: which one is better? While both have pros and cons, which app you should use most often depends on what you’re trying to get from an instant messaging app.

Take a look at this table for an instant comparison between the most popular and frequently used features of WhatsApp and Telegram.

WhatsApp Telegram
Call from the home page Send almost any type of media
Use on a smartphone or the web platform Accessible via multiple devices
No secret discussions End-to-end encrypted hidden chats
Messages can be scheduled to disappear Full secret chats with full control
16MB for media files and 100MB for documents Any file type up to 2 GB
Groups of up to 256 members Groups up to 200,000 members
Must use a phone number to add contacts Can add contacts anonymously with just a username

Ease of use

Whether you use instant messaging apps for work or to keep in touch with family and friends, ease of use is one of the most important features to look out for.

WhatsApp and Telegram are both fairly intuitive to use, with all of the chat options lined up right on the home page. WhatsApp also has the call tab available right in front, which can be a handy feature for users who spend a lot of time on calls.

You can start a chat by clicking a button at the bottom right of both apps. Creating a group is just as easy. The difference is in the actual chat experience. Telegram allows you to send a wide variety of media types, including hundreds of animated stickers and emojis. It also lets you share larger files (more info below), providing a smoother chatting experience.

Characteristics

Features can make or break your user experience, so here are the main features of WhatsApp and Telegram (along with their differences) to help you find what would best suit your needs.

To sychronize

If you want to use the same app on different platforms, Telegram would be a better fit for you. It syncs your chats and files across different devices so that you can use the same account on separate smartphones. WhatsApp does not offer this option. If you sign in to your WhatsApp account from another device, you are automatically signed out of your old device.

Secret Discussions

Telegram has become popular for its unique feature – secret chats. These are end-to-end private encrypted conversations that can be deleted for both users. WhatsApp does not offer a similar functionality, so we recommend that you choose Telegram if you want more privacy.

Self-destruct timer

Telegram self-destruct timer.

WhatsApp recently introduced “messages that disappear”, which is another of Telegram’s most popular features. When chatting on Telegram, you can set a timer to automatically delete messages after a specified period of time. So once your conversation is over, the chat is automatically deleted for both parties. Now, WhatsApp has a similar functionality, but it’s nowhere near as comprehensive and customizable as Telegram.

File sharing

If you are sharing large files like movies, songs, and videos, you will need a platform with relatively large file sharing options. When comparing the two apps, Telegram is clearly the winner in this regard. Telegram lets you share files up to 2GB, while WhatsApp limits it to 16MB for media files and 100MB for documents.

Groups

Instant messaging apps let you enjoy conversations with large groups at once. But what size of group can you create using WhatsApp and Telegram? Telegram allows you to create a group of 200,000 members, while WhatsApp limits groups to 256 participants.

Privacy

For users who engage in sensitive conversations, or even for everyday users who want to keep their chats and personal information private, security and privacy settings can be crucial.

This is another area where Telegram is clearly a winner. The app allows you to chat with anyone without needing their phone number or other personal data. This way you can remain anonymous and have full control over how your information is shared or not.

Download the Telegram app.
Jakub Porzycki / NurPhoto via Getty Images

If you need more chat privacy, secret chats on Telegram can help. Secret chats do not allow users to forward messages or take screenshots, so your data is quite safe. Keep in mind that people can always use another device to take a picture of the cat externally.

WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption for chats and calls, so it’s more secure than the average text messaging app. However, it is owned by Facebook so that the company can access the data collected when using WhatsApp.

WhatsApp vs Telegram – which is better?

While individual needs play a huge role in choosing the best instant messaging app given the features, Telegram is a clear winner. It has more comprehensive and efficient features, making your chat experience safer, easier and more enjoyable.

It doesn’t mean that WhatsApp is bad. It is still one of the best and most popular apps. It has over 2 billion monthly active users. Telegram is much less popular with only around 550 million users this year. So if you want to talk to most of the users on one app, WhatsApp may be a better choice for you. However, if you want to bet on privacy and cool features, there’s nothing like Telegram.

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