Telegram is one the most popular messaging services across the globe, yet there are still many who do not know what it is all about. Telegram app is often name-dropped in discussions regarding online privacy and security, but aren’t all messaging apps secure?
The app is not a popular app like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger (despite their ties to Facebook) also have the fabled end-to-end encryption? In that case, the Telegram app is not as secure as you may think of. What makes Telegram so special?
What is Telegram?
Telegram is a multi-platform messaging service founded by Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov. It was first rolled out on iOS and Android dated back in 2013. Now has an estimated 500 million active monthly users.
Telegram’s user base tends to increase whenever a privacy scandal hits one of its larger competitors. What makes Telegram unique is its focus on privacy, encryption, and an open-source API. There are countless unofficial clients to go along with the official Telegram apps and web interface.
It also allows multiple devices to use the same account (verified by SMS), and multiple accounts on the same device.
How does Telegram App Work?
Telegram app core functionality is the same as most other messaging apps which include WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Signal among others.
You can message other Telegram users, create group conversations, call contacts, and send files and stickers. However, there are a few specific features that make it work differently from other messaging apps.
Firstly, Telegram’s headline feature is privacy, and to ensure this it employs end-to-end encryption. This is what stops those outside a two-way conversation, be it a company, the government, hackers, or someone else from seeing what has been sent.
In addition, the Telegram app only uses this encryption in calls and in its secret chats feature, not in regular chats. Those are only encrypted client to server.
Meanwhile, WhatsApp, the supposedly less secure service, has used end-to-end encryption in messages, calls, and video calls since 2016. In our opinion, you are not totally secure while using WhatsApp as it shares your content on Facebook.
The reason for this is Telegram’s enhanced use of the cloud. Essentially, it stores all of your messages and photos on a secure server. Unlike Signal, which stores your data on your device, in this case, we consider signal is more secure than the Telegram app. This means you can access them from any connected device, making Telegram much more multi-platform friendly than other chat apps like WhatsApp and Signal.
Not only that, another security feature is usernames. Instead of giving people your phone number, you can simply give them your username. This gives you better control over what information is out there, and how people can contact you in the future.
How to install Telegram App?
Installing and using Telegram App is very easy. You only need to follow simple and easy steps. Here is a simple step-by-step guide.
Step 1 ====> Download the Telegram app
Depending on your device(s), you will always get the app on your device. Below are the links to download Telegram app on your devices.
====> iPhone and iPad
====> Windows Phone (yes, even Windows Phone!)
====> macOS ; Mac App Store version
====> Chrome browser extension
====> You can also use the web version.
Note: Before using the desktop versions of Telegram, you have to set it up using a mobile app.
Step 2 ====> Register your Phone Number
As soon as you enter your phone number in the space provided, Telegram app will send your phone an SMS text message containing a code for number verification.
If you don’t enter the verification code within three minutes, Telegram will call your phone.
Step 3 ====> Enter the SMS Verification Code
The Telegram app will have a field into which you input the SMS verification code. Most of the time, this code will enter the provided place automatically as soon as you received the message on your phone.
Step 4 ====> Telegram may call your Phone Instead
A robotic voice will read out a five-digit code, which you can then enter into the app. This is optional, you only need to get the voice call if the message is not sent or received on time.
Step 5 ====> Enter at least your first name
Telegram app requires that you give it at least your first name. (It doesn’t have to be your real first name.) You can also add an avatar for more personalization. Other users can search for you by your username without needing to know your phone number
Step 6 ====> Let Telegram Access your Contacts
You can’t just type in a phone number and start messaging. You will need to grant Telegram app permission to access your contacts before you can message anyone. However, people who are not in your contacts can still invite you to Telegram chats.
Step 7 ====> Let Telegram Access your Files and Lockscreen (Optional)
Telegram app will ask you to let it access your photos, media and files so that you can use the app to send photos and other files.
It also wants to access your lock-screen so it can show you incoming calls. You can pass on both these options, but Telegram will be a lot more useful if you don’t.
Step 8 ====> Set a Separate Telegram PIN (Recommended)
Telegram does not require you to create a password or PIN to use the app. Just unlocking your phone will be enough to gain access to the Telegram app and your account.
But that is not secure enough, anyone can just pick your phone and access your Telegram account. To protect your Telegram account, set up a separate four-digit PIN. Here is how you get it done:
====> Go to the hamburger menu in the top left corner of the app
====> Select Settings
====> Privacy & Security
====> Passcode Lock.
You will have to enter the PIN, passcode, periodically to keep using Telegram, but you can change the amount of time before the passcode entry is required.
But be forewarned that if you forget the PIN, you will have to delete the Telegram app and start over again. Secret Chats will be lost, non-Secret chats that are stored on Telegram’s servers should be retrievable.
Step 9 ====> Add two-step verification (your Wish)
You can also set up Telegram app to require an alphanumeric password every time you log in on a new device.
Note: This is not the same thing as two-factor authentication and doesn’t provide the same amount of protection. Here is how you get it done:
====> Go to the hamburger menu in the top left corner
====> Select Settings
====> Privacy & Security
====> Two-Step Verification.
Then set up Two-Step Verification in the same Privacy & Security section.
You would better write down that password because if you forget it, you will be limited to using Telegram on only one device.
That is, you have succeeded in setting up your Telegram account on your mobile device(s) using Telegram app. All you need is your phone number and the phone that number’s connected to in order to receive the SMS verification code.
How to Use Telegram
You can use Telegram app to send messages, is as easy as selecting a contact and starting to write
Telegram Group Conversation
Before you start a group conversation, either you create a group or someone created a group and sends you a Telegram group link. Here is how you can create a new group on Telegram app.
====> To create a new group conversation, click on New Group
====> Select multiple contacts from your contact list.
Groups can contain up to 20,000 members, but they cannot be end-to-end encrypted, in that case, your conversation is not secured. Anything said in a Group chat can be read by Telegram. Telegram also offers voice Group chats.
Telegram One-on-One Chat
One on one chat is sending a message to someone on your contact list. Going is very simple and easy, you only need to follow simple steps.
====> Click on the new message button (pencil)
====> Select a contact
====> Start writing
By default, all communications are encrypted between your device and Telegram’s servers, and then between Telegram’s servers and your contact, but Telegram will be able to read your conversations.
Start a Telegram Voice or Video Call
This is just like WhatsApp, Telegram app lets you make voice and video calls. Here is how you do that on your devices.
====> Go to the hamburger menu on the top left
====> Tap Contacts
====> Select someone from your contact list.
====> Tap that contact
====> Then tap the three vertical dots on the top of the resulting screen
====> Now select either Call or Video Call.
If you have not already given Telegram permission to take pictures and record audio and video, now is the time.
Telegram Secret Chat
Telegram has the ability to set up Secret Chats with your friends. A Secret Chat matches the privacy and security of WhatsApp or Signal because the communications are fully encrypted from one device to the other, and Telegram will not be able to read your conversations. These processes only take a few steps as shown below. To start a Secret Chat
====> Tap the pencil icon
====> Now tap New Secret Chat
====> Then select the contact with whom you would like to have a Secret Chat.
Your phone screenshot functionality will be disabled during Secret Chats and messages send during Secret Chats cannot be forwarded to other users. You also can not access a Secret Chat on a device different from the one you started it on.
Set Secret Chats to Self-Destruct
Another thing about Telegram App is the ability to set secret chats to self-destruct. You can follow the step here to do so.
====> You need to click on the three-dot menu on the top right corner of the Secret Chat screen to set up a self-destruct timer.
This means that every message you send during a Secret Chat will have an expiration time before it disappears from the conversation. The timer can be set from anything from one second to one week.
Start a Telegram Channel
Starting a channel on Telegram app is very easy and simple. Here is what you need to do.
====> Just tap the pencil icon on the home screen
====> Then tap New Channel
====> You will have to give your new channel a name and can provide an optional description.
====> Then you decide whether your channel is private or public.
If it is public, any Telegram user can search for it by name. If it is private, you will be given a link that you can send to people who you want to invite.
How to Join a Telegram Channel?
Channels are like radio stations, broadcasting messages from a single source to an unlimited number of Telegram subscribers to those channels.
But you cannot respond to channel messages the way you could to a message broadcast on Twitter or Facebook. Channels can broadcast text, photos, videos, files and podcasts. They can be public or private.
To subscribe to a public Telegram channel, follow the steps bellow
====> You need to tap the magnifying glass icon at the top of the Telegram home page
====> Then type in the name of the channel you are looking for.
====> Select the right search result
====> You will be shown a preview of the latest posts to that channel.
====> If it looks appealing to you, tap Join at the bottom of the screen
That is all we have for you on Telegram App. We have covered various things you need to know about Telegram app. The article cover links to download Telegram on your devices, how to set your account, and other things you need to know about Telegram