What is Telegram | How It is Different From Other Messaging Apps?

Telegram is a free, cross-platform, cloud-based instant messaging (IM) app service that provides end-to-end encryption like WhatsApp. It also provides the important features like sending messages, animated stickers, voice calling, video calling, VoIP, share an unlimited number of images, documents, media (2 GB per file), user locations, contacts, and music.

It was initially launched for iOS on 14 August 2013 and Android in the year October 2013. The application servers of Telegram are distributed worldwide to decrease data load, while the operational center is currently based in Dubai, UAE.

In January 2021, Telegram crossed over 500 million monthly active users. It was the 8th most downloaded app worldwide in the year 2020. After the announcement of WhatsApp’s New Privacy Policy, there is a huge increase in the download of Telegram App because it has better privacy policy than WhatsApp.

History of Telegram

Telegram was launched in 2013 by two brothers – Nikolai and Pavel Durov. Nikolai Durov created the MTProto encryption protocol that is the base for the Telegram Software, while Pavel Durov provided the financial support and infrastructure, with another partner Axel Neff joining as a second co-founder. The company and the application were started in Russia in 2013 and later moved to Germany.

In October 2013, Telegram announced it had 100,000 daily active users while in 2014, Telegram announced that it had reached 35 million monthly users and 15 million daily active users, which is a huge increase.

According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the number of monthly Telegram users as of October 2019 is about 300 million users worldwide.

On 8 January 2021, its founder Pavel Durov announced that Telegram was at “about 500 million” monthly active users.

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#22 Amazing Features of Telegram

There are many amazing and unique features of Telegram that makes it different from any other messaging app available in the market. Using these awesome features, you can make your chat and account super secure, store online unlimited amount of files using its cloud storage feature, make voice and video calls, share live locations with anyone, create polls, assign automated bots and much more.

So, let’s know in detail all of its amazing features and how to use them.


1. Account

For using Telegram App, users have to first register their phone number for sign up which is to be verified by SMS. Here users can add multiple devices to a single account and can receive messages on all of them simultaneously. All the connected devices can be removed individually or all at once. The registered mobile number can be changed at any time.

In addition to this, a user can set up a username that allows them to send and receive messages anonymously without exposing their phone number to anyone. Once created Telegram account, it can be deleted at any time. Also, accounts can be deleted automatically after six months of inactivity by default, which can be changed in settings from 1 month to 12 months range.

2. High Security

The most important feature of Telegram is its Security feature. It is based on the MTProto encryption protocol technology that is built upon time-tested algorithms which provides high-speed, reliable message delivery on weak network connections.

It supports two layers of secure encryption. Cloud Chats use server-client encryption while Secret Chats use an additional layer of client to client encryption. All content is encrypted in the same way whether it is media, text, documents or files.

The encryption is based on 2048-bit RSA encryption, 256-bit symmetric AES encryption, and Diffie–Hellman secure key exchange.

Telegram​ Security

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3. Unlimited Server Storage

Most important feature of Telegram is that it provides unlimited storage space, i.e., it has cloud storage facility. Means user can access any of their messages and data on any of the user’s connected devices at any time from anywhere. Even you can share large and high resolution images, videos, audio messages or any other files (up to 2 GB) without compromising its quality.

Also, user can create a group and can add upto 200,000 members in a single group. Once a message is sent, it can be edited up to 48 hours after the delivery and can be deleted at any time from both the sides. 

As telegram is a cloud-based messaging service, users have the option to schedule sent messages in personal chats.


4. Secret Chats

Telegram allows secret chat option using which users can access the messages only on the devices upon which the secret chat was initiated and the device on which the secret chat was accepted; secret chats cannot be accessed on any other devices. Messages sent within secret chats can be deleted at any time and can be set to self-destruct using timer feature.

Secret chats are not available for groups or channels.

telegram secret chat

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5. Create Channels

Channels are somewhere similar to groups except it is a form of one-way messaging where admins are able to post messages and files but other users are not. Any user is able to create, join and subscribe to any channels. Channels can be created for sending messages to an unlimited number of subscribers/audience. Users can join as well as can leave channels at any time as per their mood.

It also has a feature of Mute where users can mute a channel, meaning that the user will still receive messages, but won’t receive any popup notification.

For creating any channel, right swipe on the homepage, and click on “New Channel”. Then type your channel name, description, select channel type and create a unique URL. That’s it, your channel is created.

6. Make Video & Voice Calls

Telegram also provides end to end encrypted voice and video calling feature using which users can make voice and video call to any other telegram users without exposing their phone numbers.

It also has the feature of Picture-in-picture (PIP) mode through which users can simultaneously use the other functions of the app while still remaining on the call and are even able to turn their video off.

7. Instant View 2.0

Instant View is a way to view web articles and blog posts with zero-page load time. With this, Telegram users can read articles and blog posts from mass media in a uniform and easily readable way. Instant View pages support text and media of any type and work even if the original website was not optimized for mobile devices.

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8. Telegram Bots

Bots are Telegram accounts operated by a piece of program/code which is based on AI and machine learning at a low level. Bots can automatically respond to any messages, can be invited into groups and can be integrated into any other program. It can also handle monetary transactions provided by any type of payment gateway such as Debit card, Credit card, Razorpay, etc for different countries.


9. Create Custom Folders

Telegram also has the feature of custom folder using which users can filter out and put personal chats, groups, channels, contacts, non-contacts, and selected chats/groups/channels in different and customized folders.


10. Unlimited Stickers

Telegram has more than 20,000 stickers included in it server. Stickers are cloud-based and high-resolution images intended to provide more expressive emoji. When typing in an emoji, the user is offered to send the respective sticker instead. Stickers come in collections called “packs”, and multiple stickers can be offered for one emoji.


11. Group Voice Chats

It has a Group voice chat feature through which any admin can create a voice chat, which will be open to all the group members even if no one is currently using it. Admins has the authority to mute members by default or selectively. Push to talk option is also available on mobile versions and shortcut keys to mute and unmute on Desktop version.

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12. Share Your Live Locations

For either 15 minutes, one hour, or eight hours, Telegram users can share their live location with anyone rather than sending static locations every minute. This feature is useful when you are on a way or trying to contact with your friends at a large event. You can stop sharing your location at any time.

If more number of users is sharing their live locations within a group, they are shown on an interactive map.

To share your live location, choose “Location” from the attachment menu and click on “Share my location for…”.

Share Live Locations

13. Create APIs

Telegram has public APIs through which developers can access the same functionality as Telegram’s official apps to build their own messaging applications.

Telegram offers two types of APIs for developers which are free of cost.

Bot API: It helps you to build programs that use Telegram messages for an interface. For this you don’t need to have knowledge of MTProto encryption protocol. The intermediary server will handle all communication and encryption with Telegram API for you.

Telegram API: This helps you to create your own customized Telegram clients.

You don’t have to start from scratch to make Telegram apps. Telegram Database Library makes it easier to develop feature full and secure apps. It takes care of local data storage, details of network implementation, and encryption so that you can focus on design and interfaces.

Slow Mode in telegram

14. Slow Mode

If you are admin of any group then it must be very hard for you to manage the group due to explosive number of messages. To solve this problem, you can use slow mode feature.

Suppose you have enabled the “Slow Mode” and set an interval of 1 minute. Now members in the group can only send one message per minute. A timer will show them how long they have to wait before sending the next message. This helps to stop spamming of messages.

You can enable this option from the “Group Permission” section.

Slow Mode in telegram

15. Send Uncompressed Media Files

For sending uncompressed media in any other messaging platform, first you have to convert them in other formats like EXE, ZIP or PDF. But in Telegram you can send uncompressed media directly without converting them in any other format.

For sending uncompressed media, choose the items you want to send and then tap on three dot menu. Now select “send without compression”.

Send Uncompressed Media Files in telegram

16. Lock Your Conversations with Passcode

Most of us use third party locker apps to lock apps and private conversations so that is not accessible to anyone. But Telegram has its own lock function to hide private chats.

To lock your chats, go to “Settings”, then click on “Privacy & Security” and tap on “Passcode Lock”. Here you will be asked to set up a 4 digit code and confirm it. Once you set that, you will find additional options to “Unlock the app with fingerprint” and “Auto Lock” it after some time.

lock telegram chats

17. Create Polls

Polls are the feature of Telegram that work with channels and groups and have the option to be anonymous or visible. A user can enter multiple options into the poll.

Quiz mode can also be enabled where a user can select the right answer Telegram offers three kinds of polls:

Visible Votes: Creator can allow everyone in the group to see who voted for what.

Multiple Answers: It is another way to settle the score by allowing members to select multiple answers.

Quiz Mode: It can be used for MCQs type of question where user can select the right answer for their poll and leave it to the group to guess. Quiz bots can also be added to track correct answers.

For creating a poll in a channel or group, select the “Poll” option from the attachment menu. Type the question, add answer options and choose the configuration that fulfils your purpose.


18. Customize Theme and Message Corners

Telegram offers a lot of options for customization to help user to customize the apps’s appearance according to their taste.

Here is the list of interface element you can change:

  • Chat background
  • Message corners
  • Turn off/on the auto-night mode
  • Color-theme of the app
  • Display large emojis

In addition to these customization functions, you can even enable in-app browser that lets you to open external links within the app itself.

All these options are available under the “Chat Settings” section.

customize telegram theme

19. Drafts

Sometimes it happens that while you are typing any messages, someone interrupts you and after that you completely forget all about it. Here this draft feature helps you to finish you unfinished task. Your unfinished messages (drafts) are automatically saved and synched across all your devices.

That means you can start typing your messages on your Smartphone and can continue it on your desktop. This drafted message will remain in the editing area on all the synch devices until it is sent or deleted.

telegram Drafts

20. Hide Your ‘Last Seen’ From Certain Users

Telegram provides you an option where you can select who can see your last seen time. To set this, go to “Settings”, then go to “Privacy and Security” and then tap on “Last Seen & Online”. Here you will find the options to share it with everybody, or people in your contact list, or nobody, or add exceptions like “never share with” XYZ.

Similar options are available for sharing your phone number and profile photo. You can also select who can add a link to your account when forwarding messages, who can call you, and who can add you in groups without your permission.


21. Auto-Download & Auto-Play Media

Using this feature you can disable automatic media download and auto-play media to save your mobile data from any chat or group. In this way you can avoid downloading unnecessary photos, videos or any other files.

To enable it, go to “Settings”, then “Data and Storage”, and turn off automatic download “when using mobile data”, “when connected on Wi-Fi” and “when roaming”. You will also find options to turn off auto play media “GIFs” and Videos”.

telegram Auto-download and Auto-play Media

22. Edit Photos/Videos Before Sending Them

Many times, users use photo and video editor to edit their photos and videos before sending to someone on any messaging app. But in Telegram it has its own inbuilt photo/video editor. You can do it using Telegram’s intuitive interface.

For editing any photo/video, click on the “attach file” and select a file from the gallery, or capture a new one from the camera. Once you do that, you will see various options to edit the file before sending it to anyone. Here you can crop the picture, adjust colors, exposure, contrast, and add emojis and text to videos.


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