Instant messengers have bulldozed the humble old SMS, with WhatsApp largely being credited for hitting the final nail on the coffin for SMS. With its simple interface and a multitude of features like the ability to easily send images, audio and video – something that was way ahead of its time and having introduced it at a time when no other messaging app could boast of something similar, spun the wheels in WhatsApp’s favour helping it achieve an undisputed monopoly in almost all areas of the world.
Telegram on the other hand rose not portraying itself as a competitor to WhatsApp but rather focusing heavily on the aspect of privacy and security – possibly being the first mainstream messaging app to offer end to end encryption.
Both apps are tried and trusted by millions of people all across the world and you honestly can’t go wrong no matter whose bandwagon you’re in but it’s worth arguing that each of the apps individually excel in certain areas and can arguably be said to better than the other. So which if these two messaging apps do we thing is better? Read along the head to head analysis to find out our pick between the two!
WhatsApp was founded in 2009, a year when arguably both the SMS and Instant messenger apps were at their peak however its sheer simplicity coupled with an array of highly useful features caused it to disrupt markets of both categories helping it gain a monopoly is the mobile messaging domain. WhatsApp’s popularity led to Mark Zuckerberg acquiring them for $19 Billion dollars despite having a homegrown product – Messenger as its competitor. However Facebook’s acquisition led to mane question marks being drawn and eyebrows being raised when WhatsApp waived off its yearly subscription fee and became a free app which raised questions on how they’d generate profits but more on that later.
Telegram, introduced in 2013, was founded by a Russian entrepreneur as an open source software supported by multiple platforms ranging from smartphones to even PCs. It had a very different approach to WhatsApp focusing more on features and of course privacy and encryption while also maintaining simplicity. The app saw an impressive growth rate over the years and is still steadily growing and even getting support from a large faction of people seeking an alternative to WhatsApp.
Telegram vs WhatsApp – Head To Head
Privacy and Security
WhatsApp accounts are directly linked to one’s phone number so if someone adds you into a public group, everyone in that group can get access to your phone number.
Telergam on the other hand lets you create a user id and your phone number is not displayed in other group chats and channels thus protecting you from spam and unwanted people from getting access to your phone number.
All of WhatsApp’s messages are encrypted with the industry standard 128 bit OpenWhispers encryption standard however despite of this, they do share metadata with Facebook in order to target you with relevant ads while you use Facebook, which now owns WhatsApp. Plus a 2017 report by the Guardian also exposed a certain security flaw on WhatsApp that allows someone on their backend to view all your messages despite the encryption.
Telegram on the other hand performs their encryptions on their home grown protocol – MTProto which has drawn criticisms from many tech experts questioning the move instead of going for an industry standard encryption system however as per Telegram’s claim, their encryption systems have still not been penetrated by any person and they’re even offering a hearty reward to anyone who manages to crack it. Telegram however by default the messages on Telegram are not encrypted and that includes all group chats and channels (more on that later) and to use the encryption you have to select the option to enable a secret chat, something which the regular user is often unaware of.
Verdict – It’s a tough call as both these apps have their flaws in this area when it comes to encryption but Telegram seems to have a better reputation till now and better privacy when it comes to hiding your phone numbers so advantage Telegram on this area. But if you’re looking for the best encrypted instant messenger, we suggest you to go for Signal, as recommended by Edward Snowden.
Backup and Sync
All of telegram’s messages by default are synced to their servers allowing you to use the app from multiple devices across multiple platforms without the need to explicitly backup or sync the data manually. This is super convenient when you use Telegram across multiple devices however this is the reason why the group chats are not encrypted as end to end encryption is only possible across two unique devices.
WhatsApp initially used to backup data locally but has now introduced clous based backup which is quite cumbersome and very slow requiring frequent backups with the restore process being too slow. Many have lost their precious messages and media while switching to WhatsApp on their new phones but Telegram ensures all your data is safely backed up on the cloud.
Advantage – Telegram
Group chats are unencrypted by default with no options for encryptions. But on the other hand, it comes with a host of features, including the option to create supergroups with support for thousands of members. Users have the option to pin messages and create custom URLs for the group which can then be embedded on websites and sent in emails in order to invite more people. Telegram also supports its now infamous bots to be added to these groups facilitating the ease of taking polls and and adding interactive games.
WhatsApp on the other end only allows for the creation of groups with up to 256 members, but it duly makes up for it by offering end-to-end encryption by default.
Telegram also has Channels which are an effective medium to share messages and files by a single user to many people. Since messages are stored on the server, any user can join a channel and see all of its previous messages
Advantage – Telegram
Video and Voice Calls
WhatsApp offers video and voice calls while Telegram only offers Voice calls at the moment which are end to end encrypted however the absence of Video calls is a big miss.
Advantage – WhatsApp
WhatsApp allows you to share Images and Video (16MB Max) and now has quite recently introduced the ability to share documents sizing at max 100MB. You can also send audio recordings as well.
Telegram on the other hand allows you to send ANY file type with max size limit being 1.5GB. Since the files are all stored on the cloud, you can use the app as a great option for backup as well and can be sure that you’ll not lose your precious files ever.
Advantage – Telegram
WhatsApp recently has launched their own set of emojis seen on Android devices which personally feel quite ugly compared to the earlier default ones like the ones on iOS devices.
Telegram still retains the old emoji style which we think is much better and it’s always good to have the same set of emoji across all devices
Advantage – Telegram
Delete and Edit Sent Messages
WhatsApp may have recently added a delete message feature but you cannot delete a message more than 7 minutes old and deleting a messages leaves a message is deleted sign in the chat history. In Telegram you can not only delete messages anytime but also edit them after you’ve once sent them!
Advantage – Telegram
WhatsaApp is the number one messaging platform and you are sure to have all your friends and acquaintances on the App.
Telegram has a much lesser user base than WhatsApp so you’ll need to plead your friends to make the switch in case you’re thinking of doing so.
Advantage – WhatsApp
Verdict – If we look at the common features across most apps, except barring the fact that Telegram has less users and lacks Video calling, Telegram has a clear edge over here and we would easily stand out as the winner. Now we look at the features unique to both the apps to make a better judgement.
This is where we introduce you to the features unique to both platforms which will help you decide which one’s better and should you consider switching between the two
- Status – Facebook copied snapchat’s basic functionality into WhatsApp after removing the option of text status updates and again reintroducing them back but WhatsApp statuses which are text, image or video that disappear after 24 hours is massively popular and Telegram does not have any feature like that
- Text Styling – WhatsApp allows you to send texts in bold , italic, strikethrough, underlined etc.
- Read Receipts – Read receipts allow you to see when was your message read by the person in a normal chat or even in a group where you can see who all read your message and at what time. Telegram doesn’t have this feature although you can know if you’re message was seen in normal chats, it’s not possible in group chats
- Stickers – Telegram lets you use stickers created by others or you can create your own stickers and publish them so that others can use them
- Ability to see previous Messages on Groups and Channels – You won’t miss out on previous messages that had happened in groups and channels.
- Secret Chats – Secret Chats allow users to chat in an encrypted form and has features like self-destruct after a certain timeout.
- Profile Picture Gallery – All of the profile pictures you uploaded are stored as an album where people can swipe and see them!
- Bots – Most telegram groups and channels can feature bots that let you interact with them with commands. Many cool bots and useful bots are available
WhatsApp clearly is a Goliath in the world of Instant Messengers and its loyal userbase speaks volumes about its unmatched popularity among user who enjoy its service however Telegram is a solid and robust alternative to WhatsApp with many distinct features that clearly shows its superiority over WhatsApp when it comes to the features department. However at the end of the day, user base does matter a lot and this is the exact reason why Telegram, despite arguably having better and more useful features fails to go neck and neck in hopes of toppling it as the world’s most popular instant messenger.
All in all, we can say it’s surely worth it to make a switch to Telegram in case your friends are willing to do the same and trust me – once you get use of the nifty features of Telegram, there really is no looking back to other instant messengers available in the market!