When you think of instant messaging apps, one name will pop into your head before all others: WhatsApp.
It’s understandable. It was the first messaging app that was widely adopted around the globe. And, despite the privacy concerns associated with owners Facebook, it regularly receives upgrades, improvements, and new features.
But WhatsApp has ruled the roost for too long. Today, there are much better alternatives out there.
One of the best alternatives is Telegram. But what makes it so unique? In this piece, we’re going to introduce to some of the features that make it the only instant messaging app you need.
1. Edit Messages
“Hi sweaty, where are we going for dinner tonight?”
I know you meant “sweetie,” you know you meant “sweetie,” and your partner knows you meant “sweetie.” But it’s still embarrassing!
Wouldn’t it be great if you could quickly fix your typo before anyone saw it? It would even prevent rage-messages sent to your boss or partner after an argument.
Telegram offers this exact feature.
To edit a message in Telegram, press and hold on the message you want to change. After a few seconds, a context menu will appear. Click on the Edit button and you’ll be able to tweak to your heart’s content.
The other person will see an on-screen indicator; they know you changed something. But there’s no way for them to see the original.
2. Secret Chats
Smartphones are a hotbed of private information. And perhaps the most revealing part of the phone is your message history.
Telegram combats the issue with its Secret Chat feature.
There are lots of reasons why you might want to chat in secret. Perhaps you’re planning a surprise party for a family member and you don’t want them to see a revealing notification on your phone accidentally. Maybe your involved in a romantic liaison which you don’t want other people to find out about. Or perhaps you’re just a privacy fanatic.
Secret chats use end-to-end encryption, are not recorded in any way on Telegram’s servers, and self-destruct off your phone after an allotted period of time. The forwarding option is also disabled.
Of course, if you’re hype-conscious about your security, you could use this method of chatting for all your conversations.
3. Send Large Files
How many times have you tried to send a photo, video, or document on WhatsApp, only to be greeted with the dreaded “File too large to send” message?
It’s because WhatsApp limits you to a maximum file size of 16 MB. In today’s world of 4K videos and high-definition music, it’s a paltry amount.
Telegram, on the other hand, can send files up to 1.5GB in size. That covers almost everything you would realistically want to send from one mobile device to another.
4. Watch YouTube Videos While Chatting
If your friends are anything like mine, you’ll receive several “must-watch” YouTube videos per day. Very few of them transpire to be anything close to must-watch.
Imagine a world where you can start watching the video to see if it’s entertaining whilst simultaneously berating your friend for wasting your time with another video of a dog running into a glass door.
Well, Telegram can do it easily. Tap on the thumbnail of the video link to start playing the video. To continue chatting while the video is playing, click on the Picture-in-Picture icon.
5. More Members in a Group
For most of its life, WhatsApp only let you add 100 members into a group chat. Then, in February 2016, the limit was increased to 256. Users rejoiced.
However, 256 users pales into insignificance alongside Telegram’s offering. Instead of a couple of hundred, Telegram lets you add 100,000 members.
Called “supergroups,” they have a unified message history, pinnable messages, and replies, mentions, and hashtags.
To upgrade a regular group into a supergroup, open the group chat and tap on Edit in the upper right-hand corner of the page. On the next menu, select Convert to Supergroup.
6. “Last Seen” Exceptions
We shudder to think how many arguments have been started by Last Seen messages and blue ticks on WhatsApp.
Unfortunately, WhatsApp doesn’t offer a way to customize who sees the information. It’s either everyone or no one.
Telegram provides a much more nuanced approach. You can be selective about who will know the last time you were online.
To choose who can see your status, open Telegram and go to Settings > Privacy and Security > Last Seen. Under Who can see your Last Seen time choose My Contacts.
Below Add exceptions, you can tap on Always Share With and Never Share With to make your selections accordingly.
7. Add Stickers to Photos
Yes, we know it’s annoying to see a pig’s nose and a dog’s ears pinned onto so many photos these days, but some people seem to love it.
If adding stickers to photos floats your boat, Telegram excels. It offers a fun photo editing feature that’s similar to Snapchat.
8. Hide Telegram Media
One of the most annoying aspects of WhatsApp is how quickly it clogs up your phone’s gallery app. What should be a fun roll of family snaps and pictures of beautiful scenery is packed with repetitive memes and stupid jokes.
In WhatsApp, you can stop media from downloading automatically, but you can’t see a preview first. You just get a blurred image and have to gamble whether it’s worth saving.
Telegram approaches the puzzle differently. You can choose to download all the media you receive so you’ll never overlook something important, but you can prevent the app from adding it to your phone’s gallery app.
Go to Settings > Messages > Save to gallery to set up the feature.
Which Are Your Favorite Telegram Features?
These eight features conspire to put Telegram in a class of its own at the head of the instant messaging apps. None of its competitors come close in terms of either features or ease-of-use.
Which Telegram features stand out to you? Which ones help to make Telegram the only instant messaging app you need?