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What is Telegram, what devices can you use it on and how safe is it?

This page was translated using AI and machine learning.

(Pocket-lint) - Consumers are more aware than ever of their own personal information and privacy. With the recent revelations about how social networks manage (or improperly manage) our personal information, more and more safer ways to stay in touch are turning.

In the past, using a secure messaging service usually meant compromising on functionality, fun, and convenience. But it doesn't have to be that way. One app in particular is perhaps more popular than others: Telegram. Probably because, in terms of chat features and privacy, it proves that you can actually have your cake and eat it too.

What is telegram?

  • Cross-platform, fast messenger

Telegram is a secure, convenient messaging app that is cross-platform and works on all of your devices. Thanks to the instant synchronization function, chats are up-to-date on all devices at the same time.

While you use your phone number to initially set up an account, you're not limited to having it on one phone. You can run it on multiple devices at the same time without logging out of others.

Using a phone number to set up also means other people can easily contact you if they have the app. No new PIN codes, email addresses or account handles are learned. If they have your number on their contact list, they can send you messages wherever you are and whatever device you are using.

What platforms can you use it on?

  • Android / iOS apps for smartphones
  • Available in the Huawei App Gallery
  • Desktop version for Mac / Windows / Linux
  • Web browser version too

One of the great things about Telegram is that it is available on just about every major operating system, be it a Mac, Windows, or Linux computer, an iOS or Android smartphone, or even a Huawei phone.

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If you use an iPad or iPhone, you can download the app from the App Store. For Android devices there is an app in the Play Store and Telegram X with a slightly different user interface, but which performs the same functions.

You can download the app directly to your PC or Mac by going to Telegram's download page.

If you're using a Chromebook, you can still use it by either going to the web browser version of the chat tool or, if your Chromebook supports it, downloading the Android app from the Play Store. The browser option is of course also available to anyone who wants to use it but does not want to install it on their computer.

Is it any good (What can you do with it?)

  • Sticker packs (animated and silent)
  • No file size restrictions
  • Telegram groups with a size of up to 200,000
  • Customize the look
  • Fast / instant synchronization between devices

It's not as popular or as widespread as apps like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp (also known as Facebook), but it has a lot of features that make it fun and easy to use. It's not just a boring secure text messenger.

As with any good messenger app, you can have individual or group chats, these group chats being suitable for up to 200,000 members. You can also send and receive files, images, and data without any limitation on the size or number of files. You can also make voice or video calls so it really is a full featured app.

One of the fun parts of the app is the collection of downloadable sticker packs. Some are animated, some are still, but they'll appear automatically when you use an emoji so you can replace those yellow, static faces with fun animation if you want. With connections like Star Wars, Avengers, Wizarding World, and other popular characters, there is no shortage of ways to express emotions.

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It's also customizable, so you can choose which colors and gradients to use in your chats, from changing the background shade to customizing the color of the speech bubbles in chats.

Probably the best feature is how fast and reliable it is. New messages appear on all of your devices at the same time, and all updates are virtually instantaneous. So if you need to switch from phone to desktop (or vice versa) it's easy and convenient.

In recent updates, the app has added features such as: For example, multiple pinned messages in chats, which can be useful when chatting in large groups or when sharing a shopping list with your partner / roommate. Live locations can be set up to notify you when you're close to a friend when you want to meet. Sending multiple music files will automatically create a short playlist.

How safe is it?

  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Secure key exchange
  • Do not use "people nearby".

Very. In fact, this is why so many people have been drawn to it lately. According to its own FAQ page, it is more secure than WhatsApp or Line by default. Regardless of whether you chat in one-to-one or group chats and use two levels of secure encryption.

Server-client encryption is used to encrypt and protect your messages in the cloud, while Secret Chats use end-to-end client-client encryption between two people on two devices and do not store the messages in the cloud at all.

It's worth noting that these secret chats will only appear on the devices on which the chat was started. So you cannot read or answer these conversations on the desktop / tablet or any other place where you are logged in.

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None of your data - whether it is messages, media, or shared files - can be decrypted if it is intercepted by your ISP or the owners of any Wi-Fi routers / networks that you may be using.

Telegram is so confident of its security that there is a competition where anyone who wants can try to decrypt messages and data. If they can do it, they'll get $ 300,000.

In addition, Telegram has a bounty system where users who identify security areas that need improvement are rewarded between $ 100,000 and $ 100,000 if their suggestions are then implemented.

Now there's a little hole in Telegram's armor and it's a feature called "people around". It's off by default, but when you turn it on, Telegram users near you can see you and send you a message.

People with the wrong motives and skills could find your exact location or just use it to target you with scams, as researcher Ahmed Hassan found. To be extra safe, don't use this feature.

How much does it cost to use?

  • Free to download
  • No in-app purchases or subscriptions
  • No advertising

Actually nothing. In fact, that's another point that makes it so attractive. There is currently no download fee and no in-app purchases. In addition, there are no ads in the apps. Telegram is not a for-profit company. Telegram does not sell your data or use it for target advertisements (since there is none).

The money came from a tech tycoon named Pavel Durov, and at the time of writing, that original donation is still going strong. Telegram says if money is ever run out of money it could start adding non-essential paid options in the future to keep developers in jobs and keep their infrastructure going.

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What is the takeaway? (TL; DR)

The short version to all of this is that Telegram is convenient, fun, fast and safe. The fact that the company has no interest in making money from your personal information or selling ads means that you are not dealing with a company whose sole purpose is to make money with your information (as opposed to to most other third-party messenger app providers). .

You might even be surprised to see how many friends you already have there. The number of users is constantly growing.

Writing from Cam Bunton.