Telegram is a well-known instant messaging application available on multiple platforms. The service is available on multiple platforms including Android, iOS, and Web using any compatible browser. Telegram claims to offer supreme encryption to ensure the data of its users and the messages exchanged by them are completely secure.
Telegram has also made the source code of their applications open-source allowing other knowledgeable users to go through the code and point at issues. Telegram is also not owned by a big corporation such as Google or Facebook and this means that you can be less skeptical about your data being used for advertising and other privacy-related concerns.
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Telegram claims to have over 200 million active users which are still just a fraction of the 1 billion-plus users on Facebook-owned WhatsApp messenger. While the number of users seems low for now it is gaining an increasing share in the instant messaging apps industry and is expected to grow rapidly over the years to come.
Telegram is one of the best encrypted messaging apps and offers a cross-platform, end-to-end encrypted cloud-enabled distributed messaging without any ads spying on your messages. The service is similar to Apple iMessage but offers more reliability and has dedicated apps for all platforms including Mac, PC, Linux, iOS, and Android.
The Telegram app also allows you to set up secret chats or conversations with messages that destruct themselves like on Snapchat giving you added privacy. Telegram has, however, been criticized by some information security experts commenting that cryptography is untested and that it is not secure enough to be used people transferring sensitive information. Telegram has also been amidst controversies as the favorite app used by the ISIS group.
How to Use Telegram
The process to use Telegram on your device is very simple, start by downloading the app from your available official App Store or from the Telegram website. Telegram is available for iOS, Android, Windows, Linux, Mac, Chrome, and on the Web. You will have to first set up the app on a phone before being able to use the app and service on a desktop-based app client or web client.
How to Install and set up Telegram
- Once you have the Telegram app installed on your mobile phone open it and proceed to the registration by entering your phone number
- Telegram will make an automated call to your phone number to test if your phone number is valid, you do not need to accept this call as it is automated and Telegram detects the incoming call and automatically validates your account, you might alternatively receive an SMS OTP code in some cases
- You will now have to grant the basic permissions to Telegram to access your media, and more so it can show you the files from your gallery within the app if you happen to send or receive images on Telegram.
- Once you are done with the set up you can go to the settings section of the Telegram app and add an additional password or two-factor authentication.
- Go to the hamburger menu on the top left corner and navigate to the Privacy & Security section of the Settings app. Here you can open the Passcode section and set up a 2FA verification in the same section
- You can now proceed with the installation of the Windows, Chrome, or macOS client and use Telegram on your desktop, or Mac.
How to Use Telegram
Using Telegram is very simple and similar to WhatsApp and other instant messaging apps. You can easily select a contact and start messaging. To start a solo conversation, tap on the new message icon indicated by a pencil and select a contact to start sending messages. By default, all the conversations are encrypted to the highest standard by Telegram.
You can also have group conversations in the Telegram app, just click on the new group option and then select multiple contacts from the list of contacts. You can also have secret chats on Telegram with your friends. This is similar to the regular chat except that your phone screenshot functionality is disabled similar to as we have seen in the Incognito mode of the Chrome browser these days.
You can also click on the hamburger icon menu to the top right corner of the secret char to set up a self-destruct timer for the messages. This means that each message you send will have an expiry time and the message will disappear from the conversation after that time. The timer range can be anything from one second to one week.
The app also has an option to destroy your account and all personal data if you do not use the app for more than six months, this is an easy option and useful if you forget about the app. The app is very simple to use and comes with a lot of the basic functionality needed in any instant messaging app.
There is also an option to un send or delete a message, the anonymous forward option can be enabled so that when someone forwards the message it does not link back to your account and instead only displays a name.