WhatsApp Messenger is undoubtedly the giant in instant messaging space but if there’s one competitor that comes close to matching its experience, it has to be Telegram. Telegram Messenger has always been touted as the ultimate WhatsApp alternative and it has been slowly gaining a decent user base, what with 100 million monthly active users presently. So, it’s obvious that people like pitting WhatsApp against Telegram and that’s what we are going to do as well. Without wasting any more time, let’s find out which messenger service is better. The Facebook-owned WhatsApp or Telegram?
Both WhatsApp and Telegram are essentially very similar services at the core, as they let you send text, media among other files with ease. However, there’s a lot of disparity when it comes to other features. So, let’s do a detailed comparison to get a more clear idea of the difference between Telegram and WhatsApp. Let’s start with the user base, shall we?
While the user base might not seem very important, it actually makes a huge difference when it comes to the end user experience. There’s no points in guessing who has the bigger user base. WhatsApp currently boasts of more than 1 billion monthly active users, which is a long way ahead of Telegram’s 100 million landmark. This is the prime reason of Telegram’s user base not multiplying at a faster rate because even though we love Telegram, we don’t have enough friends to converse to on the platform. On the other hand, everybody uses WhatsApp, which makes it the clear winner in this category.
WhatsApp and Telegram, both boast of some unique features that differentiate it from another. So, let’s take a look at their notable features:
WhatsApp: What’s unique?
WhatsApp obliviated SMS and it recently rolled out its calls feature to make life tougher for operators. WhatsApp Calls makes use of your mobile data or WiFi bandwidth to call any contact available on WhatsApp. The calls work like a charm if you have a decent internet connection. Moreover, it also has a low data usage mode, which saves you some bandwidth.
WhatsApp brings you detailed info when it comes to messages like read receipts, time when a message was read and more. The app displays double ticks when a message lands on the recipient’s device and it turns blue when it is read. The messenger also lets you check the exact time when a message was read. While Telegram includes read receipts with double ticks, it lacks other aforementioned features.
Backup of Chats
WhatsApp has had the ability to backup chats since forever but it recently enhanced the feature by bringing Google Drive integration. You can backup your chats to the Google Drive account of your choice, so that even when you change your phone, you can restore your older chats. There’s also ability to email chats, archive chats or star a specific message, which comes in handy at times.
You can put status messages on your profile in WhatsApp, which can be viewed by anyone in your contacts list. These messages come in useful when you want to convey something to your entire contact list. Sadly, Telegram lacks this very cool feature.
WhatsApp recently introduced the ability to format texts, which is a pretty cool feature. You can now format texts in Bold (*text*), Italics (_text_), Bold & Italic (*_text_*) and strike through (~text~).
Telegram: What’s unique?
Telegram’s “secret chat” feature lets you have a conversation with end-to-end encryption among other security options. There are notifications for screenshots taken and you can’t forward a message from a secret chat. You can also set a self-destruct timer, which will destruct your messages after a specified time. If you are looking for a secure messaging experience, Secret chat has got you covered.
Share different file types up to 1.5 GB
WhatsApp recently included ability to send PDF files but that is no match to Telegram’s file sharing abilities. You can almost any file types including documents, zip, PDF etc. on Telegram along with the usual media files. Also, you can send files up to 1.5 GB, unlike WhatsApp, where you can share files up to a meagre 160 MB.
Thanks to its cloud based sync feature, Telegram supports multi-device sessions, so you can start chatting on one device and continue it on another. All the messages too are synced between devices in real time, so it’s quick and efficient. You can even check your active sessions in the app to know the devices in which your Telegram account might be active.
Super groups and public channels
Telegram includes Super groups, which can hold up to 1000 members along with cool public as well as private channels. Channels are essentially broadcasting to a larger audience and it can hold unlimited members. When you send a message through a channel, the message is sent through the channels name. A public channel has its own username and can be searched & joined by any Telegram user. A user can even send mute messages in channels along with the ability to edit sent messages.
Telegram Bots are basically Telegram accounts created to do certain tasks. Every bot comes with its own set of commands and features. For instance, the @Pollbot can be used to create polls in groups, @Storebot comes in handy if you want to search for more cool bots. There are tons of different & useful bots available on Telegram bot store or you can search for bots directly from the app as well.
Unlike WhatsApp, Telegram supports stickers. The app lets you create your very own stickers through the @Stickers bot. You can preview and choose from different stickers available through third party websites, Reddit threads or even a third party app.
Lock chats and Ability to hide last seen for particular contact
The ability to hide last seen in Telegram is very similar to WhatsApp’s implementation but there’s a little twist. Telegram lets you hide last seen for particular contacts. So, instead of hiding your last seen for everybody, you can simply hide it from a single contact or more. Also, you can lock your chats on Telegram with the passcode feature, so that no one else reads your personal messages.
Edit Messages and Mention People
Ever wanted to edit the message you just sent? Well, bid adieu to typos, as Telegram now lets you edit sent messages. You can simply press hold on a message you have sent and hit the “edit” icon to start editing the text. The edited messages will have an edited banner on them.
Moreover, Telegram now lets you mention people in groups, so you’ll get a notification if someone mentions you in a group even if you have muted that group.
When it comes to features, Telegram wins it by a slight margin, as it brings some unique features that surely make a difference when it comes to usability. WhatsApp calling and backup of chats to Google Drive are great features but if you can live without them, Telegram is clearly the superior option with its secret chats, multi-device support along with tons of other small yet unique features (internal media player, image editor). However, WhatsApp is slowly adding a number of cool features and it’s already beta testing video calls and that could certainly make it better than Telegram. Well, here’s hoping Telegram too ups the ante.
WhatsApp did not really have a great rep when it comes to security but things have changed now, with the latest version of the app bringing end-to end encryption. The app encrypts all the chats & data like voice messages, media etc. end-to-end, which means that not even WhatsApp can read your messages.
Telegram, on the other hand, is based on MTProto Mobile protocol and brings end-to-end encryption with “Secret chats”. It also has the cool self-destruct feature and notifications to users when a screenshot is taken by the recipient. Moreover, Telegram is open-source, so anyone can check the app’s source code, API or protocols to find any security flaws. In fact, Telegram had once offered $200,000 to anyone who would hack their encrypted protocol.
While Telegram does bring quite a few security features, WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption on all its data is a huge winner for the users.
Performance and Ease of use
There’s no clear winner here, as WhatsApp and Telegram both perform admirably well although Telegram can be sometimes quicker in sending a message due to its cloud sync feature. When it comes to usage, both WhatsApp and Telegram are very easy to use, with similar working apps. However, Telegram’s gesture based UI makes things quicker and fun.
WhatsApp is available on mobile devices, web and it also recently started offering desktop clients for Mac and Windows. Comparatively, Telegram has desktop clients for Windows, OS X and even Linux. Moreover, Telegram also a web app available on the Chrome Web Store and since it’s open-source in nature, there are third party Telegram apps available as well. However, Telegram wins it here because of the fact that it offers independent apps for all platforms, unlike WhatsApp, which requires the mobile app to be running for the desktop and web clients to work.
- Backup chats
- Massive user base
- End to end encryption everywhere
- Limited file sharing
- Not as feature-rich as Telegram
- Overall more feature-rich
- Bots and great file sharing
- Better platform compatibility
- No calls support or ability to backup chats
- lacks user base
Telegram is more feature-rich but WhatsApp has more users
As you might have noticed, WhatsApp is now catching up with Telegram in most of the categories and Telegram’s low user base isn’t helping the app’s cause either. While we do hope that Telegram’s user base grows rapidly, we do know that it’s not happening anytime soon. WhatsApp has been adding new features quickly these days and it has also removed its yearly subscription fee, so there’s no stopping to it.
To sum things up, it’s clear that Telegram offers a more great experience but you will have to convince your friends and their friends to use it extensively. If you can’t do it, WhatsApp is the more convenient option of course. Plus, WhatsApp is really making things tough for its competitors with its new features.
Well, that’s what we think but we would love to know your opinion too, so do tell us whose side are you on when it comes to Telegram vs WhatsApp. Let us know in the comments section below.