Telegram Artificial Geek Post Feature Image Lee Copp

What is Telegram? Secure and Private Cloud-Based Messaging

Telegram is a messaging app with a focus on speed and security, it’s super-fast, simple and free. You can use Telegram on all your devices at the same time — your messages sync seamlessly across any number of your phones, tablets or computers. With Telegram, you can send messages, photos, videos and files of any type (doc, zip, mp3, etc), as well as create groups for up to 200,000 people or channels for broadcasting to unlimited audiences. You can write to your phone contacts and find people by their usernames. As a result, Telegram is like SMS and email combined — and can take care of all your personal or business messaging needs. In addition to this, we support end-to-end encrypted voice calls.

Who is Telegram for?

Telegram is for everyone who wants fast and reliable messaging and calls. Business users and small teams may like the large groups, usernames, desktop apps and powerful file sharing options.

Since Telegram groups can have up to 200,000 members, we support replies, mentions and hashtags that help maintain order and keep communication in large communities efficient. You can appoint admins with advanced tools to help these communities prosper in peace. Public groups can be joined by anyone and are powerful platforms for discussions and collecting feedback.

In case you’re more into pictures, Telegram has animated gif search, a state of the art photo editor, and an open sticker platform (find some cool stickers here or here). What’s more, there is no need to worry about disk space on your device. With Telegram’s cloud support and cache management options, Telegram can take up nearly zero space on your phone.

Those looking for extra privacy should check out our advanced settings and rather revolutionary policy. And if you want secrecy, try our device-specific Secret Chats with self-destructing messages, photos, and videos — and lock your app with an additional passcode.

How is Telegram different from WhatsApp?

Unlike WhatsApp, Telegram is a cloud-based messenger with seamless sync. As a result, you can access your messages from several devices at once, including tablets and computers, and share an unlimited number of photos, videos and files (doc, zip, mp3, etc.) of up to 1,5 GB each. And if you don’t want to store all that data on your device, you can always keep it in the cloud.

Thanks to our multi-data centre infrastructure and encryption, Telegram is faster and way more secure. On top of that, Telegram is free and will stay free — no ads, no subscription fees, forever.

Our API is open, and we welcome developers to create their own Telegram apps. We also have a Bot API, a platform for developers that allows anyone to easily build specialized tools for Telegram, integrate any services, and even accept payments from users around the world.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Don’t forget to check out this paragraph for even more exclusive stuff.

Telegram why switch to Telegram
Telegram What can you do with Telegram

How old is Telegram?

Telegram for iOS was launched on August 14, 2013. The alpha version of Telegram for Android officially launched on October 20, 2013. More and more Telegram clients appear, built by independent developers using Telegram’s open platform.

Which devices can I use?

You can use Telegram on smartphones, tablets, and even computers. We have apps for iOS (9.0 and above), Android (4.1 and up) and Windows Phone. You can also use Telegram’s web version or install one of our desktop apps for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

How is Telegram going to make money out of this?

We believe in fast and secure messaging that is also 100% free.

Pavel Durov, who shares our vision, supplied Telegram with a generous donation, so we have quite enough money for the time being. If Telegram runs out, we will introduce non-essential paid options to support the infrastructure and finance developer salaries. But making profits will never be an end-goal for Telegram.

Q: What are your thoughts on internet privacy?

Big internet companies like Facebook or Google have effectively hijacked the privacy discourse in recent years. Their marketers managed to convince the public that the most important things about privacy are superficial tools that allow hiding your public posts from the people around you. Adding these superficial tools enables companies to calm down the public and change nothing in how they are turning over private data to marketers and other third parties.

At Telegram we think that the two most important components of Internet privacy should be instead:

  1. Protecting your private conversations from snooping third parties, such as officials, employers, etc.
  2. Protecting your personal data from third parties, such as marketers, advertisers, etc.

This is what everybody should care about, and these are some of our top priorities. Telegram’s aim is to create a truly free messenger, without the usual caveats. This means that instead of diverting public attention with low-impact settings, we can afford to focus on the real privacy issues that exist in the modern world.

Telegram Basics

Who can I write to?

You can write to people who are in your phone contacts and have Telegram. Another way of contacting people is to type their Telegram username into the search field.

You can set a public username for your Telegram account too. Other people will be able to search and find you by that username — and send messages to you even if they don’t know your number. You can learn more about usernames here.

How do I know who in my contacts has Telegram?

Your contacts, who have Telegram, are shown at the top of your Contacts. They also have pictures.

How do I invite my friends?

iOS: The basic invitations are simple SMS messages. They will be charged as standard outgoing SMS by your carrier (unless sent via iMessage). Naturally, you have other options to bring your friends here. Try sending them a download link via any other messaging service: email, Facebook, WhatsApp, an actual telegram — you name it. The link: https://telegram.org/dl/

Android: Open the app menu (swipe right in chat list) > Invite Friends. Then choose an application via which you would like to send out invitations.

Windows Phone: Go to Contacts > Invite Friends. Then choose an application via which you would like to send out invitations.

You can give your friends a t.me link with your username so that they can easily find you on Telegram even if they don’t have your phone number.

What do the green checks mean?

One check — message delivered to the Telegram cloud and your friend has been notified if he allows notifications.
Two checks — message read (your friend opened Telegram and opened the conversation with the message).

We don’t have a ‘delivered to device’ status for messages because Telegram can run on as many devices as you want. So which particular one would that check mean?

Can I hide my ‘last seen’ time?

You can choose who sees this info in Privacy and Security settings.

Remember that you won’t see Last Seen timestamps for people with whom you don’t share your own. You will, however, see an approximate last seen value. This keeps stalkers away but makes it possible to understand whether a person is reachable over Telegram. There are four possible approximate values:

  • Last seen recently — covers anything between 1 second and 2-3 days
  • Last seen within a week — between 2-3 and seven days
  • Last seen within a month — between 6-7 days and a month
  • Last seen a long time ago — more than a month (this is also always shown to blocked users)

Who can see me ‘online’?

The last seen rules apply to your online status as well. People can only see you online if you’re sharing your last seen status with them.

There are some exceptions because sometimes it is obvious that you are online. Regardless of the last seen settings, people will see you online for a brief period (~30 seconds) if you do the following:

  • Send them a message in a one-on-one chat or in a group where you both are members.
  • Read a message they sent you in a one-on-one chat.
  • Broadcast a “typing…” status to their chat with you or to a group where you both are members.

If you’re not sharing your last seen timestamp with someone and don’t do anything of the above, they’ll never see you online. Another way of achieving this is to block that person.

Can I delete my messages?

Yes. Previously, you could unsend your messages within 48 hours after sending them. As of Telegram 5.5, you can always delete any messages you sent or received in any one-on-one conversation (in groups, it’s still your own messages only). You can also clear the entire chat history on both ends. On Telegram, deleted messages do not leave a mark in the chat.

Together with privacy settings for forwarded messages, this makes exchanging Telegram messages similar to talking face to face (without a tape recorder). As a result, our users no longer need to worry about the data accumulating in their chats over the years. Both parties in a conversation now have full control over what does and what doesn’t belong to their online identity.

Can I make calls via Telegram?

Yes! Voice calls are currently available to users around the world.

How can I use emoticons in Telegram on my iOS device?

We support emoji emoticons. Simply enable the Emoji keyboard in your iOS device’s Settings (General > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard… > Emoji). Then switch to that keyboard whenever you’re out of words.

Groups and Channels

What makes Telegram groups cool?

Telegram groups can have up to 200,000 members each and are extremely powerful communication tools. Here are a few key features that make them stand out in the messaging world:

Unified history
Edit your messages after posting, delete them so that they disappear for everyone.

Cross-platform availability
Access your messages anytime, from any number of your mobile or desktop devices.

Instant search
Find the message you’re looking for, even among millions. Filter by sender to make searching easier.

Replies, mentions, hashtags
Easily trace a conversation and keep communication efficient, no matter the group size.

Smart notifications
Mute the group to get notifications only when people mention you or reply to your messages.

Pinned messages
You can pin any message to be displayed at the top of the chat screen. All members will get a notification — even if they muted ordinary messages from your group.

Moderation tools
Appoint administrators that can mass-delete messages, control membership, and pin important messages. Define their admin privileges with granular precision.

Group permissions
Set default permissions to restrict all members from posting specific kinds of content. Or even restrict members from sending messages altogether – and let the admins chat amongst themselves while everybody else is watching.

File sharing
Send and receive files of any type, up to 1,5 GB in size each, access them instantly on your other devices.

Public groups
Get a short link for your group and make it public, like t.me/publictestgroup. This way, anybody can view the group’s entire chat history and join to post messages.

Customization via bots
Create custom tools for any specific needs using our Bot API and Inline Bots.

What’s the difference between groups and channels?

Telegram groups are ideal for sharing stuff with friends and family or collaboration in small teams. But groups can also grow very large and support communities of up to 200,000 members. You can make any group public, toggle persistent history to control whether or not new members have access to earlier messages and appoint administrators with granular privileges. You can also pin important messages to the top of the screen so that all members can see them, including those who have just joined.

Channels are a tool for broadcasting messages to large audiences. In fact, a channel can have an unlimited number of subscribers. When you post in a channel, the message is signed with the channel’s name and photo and not your own. Each message in a channel has a view counter that gets updated when the message is viewed, including its forwarded copies.

How do I create a group?

iOS: Start a new message (tap the icon in the top right corner in Chats) > ‘New Group’.
Android: Tap the circular pencil icon in the chat list > ‘New Group’.
Telegram Desktop: Click the menu button in the top left corner > ‘New Group’.

Can I assign administrators?

You can add administrators to help you manage your group and define their privileges with granular precision.

iOS: Go to Group Info (tap the photo in the top right corner on the group‘s chat screen) > Edit > Administrators.
Android: Go to Group Info (tap the name in the header) > the pencil icon (in the top right corner) > Administrators.
Telegram Desktop: When in the group, click ‘…’ in the top right corner > Manage group > Administrators.

How do I add more members? What’s an invite link?

You can add your contacts, or using search by username.

It is easy to migrate existing groups to Telegram by sending people an invite link. To create an invite link, go to Group Info > Add Member > Invite to Group via Link.

Anyone who has Telegram installed will be able to join your group by following this link. If you choose to revoke the link, it will stop working immediately.

For more Telegram FAQ’s go here.

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