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Telegram: Everything you need to know about the messaging app

Telegram Guide
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Have you recently installed Telegram or are you still looking for an alternative to WhatsApp? In this article, NextPit explains everything that you need to know about Telegram. We will cover everything from tests to comparisons and tutorials, so do take some time and check out our complete Telegram guide in order to master this powerful instant messaging app.

What is Telegram? Are my messages properly encrypted from end-to-end on Telegram? How does Telegram compare to WhatsApp or Signal? How do Telegram bots work? NextPit can answer all of these questions in this ultimate Telegram guide.

This central hub will gather all content that NextPit has written about Telegram while redirecting you to our articles based on your requirements. This guide will be updated regularly as more articles about Telegram are published by our editors.


Telegram: What is it?

Telegram is a free messaging app that was launched in 2013 by brothers Pavel and Nikolai Durov, who previously founded VKontakte. VKontakte is best described as the Russian version of Facebook. Currently, the company behind Telegram is based in Dubai.

Telegram currently claims to have 500 million active users each month. According to SEO blog Backlinko, "25 million new users joined Telegram during a 72-hour peak in January 2021. That equates to about 8.33 million new registrations per day. And over 100 million new users started using Telegram in January alone. In fact, Telegram's user base has grown at a rate of more than 40 percent every year since its launch in 2013."

In its early days, Telegram played the role of being one of the best alternatives to instant messaging apps to perfection. The app had a rebellious, anti-system spirit that was instilled by its founders, who were themselves politically engaged against the "Russian establishment" which got them into trouble with the authorities.

These days, however, Telegram has toned down a whole lot, preferring to please the majority instead, ranging from the average Internet user to industry professionals. Telegram remains more focused on data protection and privacy, while being an instant messaging application that is more mainstream than Signal as it offers itself as a credible alternative to the giant that everyone knows: WhatsApp.

Telegram: How does it work?

Telegram functions like a classic instant messaging app. You can send messages to other users, create group conversations, make voice and video calls, and send files and stickers.

However, it is not a carbon copy of your generic instant messaging app with one main differentiating factor: Telegram has a watertight privacy policy in addition to other features that are specific to the application, including chat options, personalization, and data encryption matters.

Finally, Telegram is not dependent on any big tech company or any of the GAFAM, unlike WhatsApp that is owned by Facebook. However, its founder Pavel Durov announced at the end of 2020 that he plans to monetize Telegram by integrating ads as well as in-app purchases.

Is Telegram secure?

All of Telegram messages are always encrypted. Messages in secret chats use end-to-end or client-client encryption, while normal chats use client-server/server-client encryption and are stored encrypted on the Telegram cloud.

But what does this mean in practical terms? Take WhatsApp or Signal for instance: everything is end-to-end encrypted. This means only you and the person you are chatting with can read your conversation. When it comes to Telegram, normal chats are encrypted between the client and the server, and on the server itself, but conversations are technically accessible from the cloud.

Only messages sent in a secret chat are end-to-end encrypted.

How and where do I download and install Telegram?

You can use Telegram on smartphones, tablets, and even computers. Telegram offers apps for iOS (9.0 and above), Android (4.1 and above), a native macOS app, and a universal desktop app, Telegram Desktop, which runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux. Telegram Web can also access your messages via your browser.

Here are all the links to download the latest version of Telegram:

How do I use Telegram? Tips and tricks

Telegram offers some features that its two competitors sorely lack in addition to plenty of customization options. Do take note that Telegram offers an official Telegram Tips channel with its own tips and tricks.

At NextPit, we do have a complete user guide to get started on Telegram and how to optimize your experience if you are already adept and navigating through the application. This article compiles all of our tips and tricks as well as the hidden features in Telegram.

We will expand this section with individual tutorials to answer specific questions over the course of time.

We do have our fair share of tips and tricks for mastering Telegram / © New Africa /

Basic Telegram tips

Here, we explain how to create a Telegram account, how to hide your phone number, how to block someone on Telegram, or how to use Telegram with multiple accounts simultaneously. Discover all of our basic Telegram tips and tricks here. Further articles:

Privacy tips on Telegram

This section will teach you how to remain incognito on Telegram. How to start a secret chat, how to lock your chats or how to delete your Telegram account. Find all our privacy tips and tricks on Telegram here. Further articles:

Personalization tips on Telegram

Here are all our tips to customize your Telegram messages and interface, ranging from your profile picture to stickers, chat backgrounds and bots. Find out all about our Telegram customization tips and tricks here.

Telegram vs. Signal vs. WhatsApp: Which is the best messaging app?

Along with Signal, Telegram is one of the most well-known alternatives to WhatsApp. There are elements that help distinguish or compare the three instant messaging applications between them, with many concerned about message encryption, backups and data storage, as well as features such as video calling, group management, etc.

NextPit will soon offer you complete comparisons which will be grouped under this segment accompanied by a clear and understandable comparative table. In the meantime, you can already check out our article on 8 reasons to ditch WhatsApp for alternative like Telegram. Also don't miss our overview of the best WhatsApp alternatives in 2021.

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How Telegram compares to other messaging apps like WhatsApp and Signal / © NextPit

That's it for this complete guide concerning the Telegram instant messaging application for now. Like any wonder of the world, it will not be built in a day. I will regularly and personally update this article by adding guides, tutorials, tests and comparisons that I will publish in due time.

The goal is to provide you with a hub, a repository of sorts that gathers everything that NextPit has published about Telegram. My colleagues at NextPit are also preparing similar central pages for both WhatsApp and Signal.

I'm also always open to your suggestions and even requests to improve this article. Do you have a specific question or concern about Telegram? Do let me know in the comments and I will try to answer it.

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Antoine Engels

Antoine Engels
Senior Editor

Black belt in specs sheet analysis. OnePlus fanboy in (slow) remission. Average estimated reading time of my articles: 48 minutes. Tech deals fact-checker in my spare time. Hates talking about himself in the 3rd person. Dreams he was a gaming journalist in another life. Doesn't get the concept of irony. Head of editorial for NextPit France.

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