WhatsApp made users share their data with Facebook last January. There was an large exodus of the chat app, with many users switching to free messaging platforms. Two of the most popular alternative messaging apps are Telegram and Signal. They both make up our top list of encrypted messaging apps.
Signal and Telegram are different in many ways, and will benefit different users. Let’s compare them.
Signal vs. Telegram vs. Signal: Which one is more secure?
Signal is the best choice if security is your top priority.
Security is a clear winner for Signal. Signal is the clear winner in security. All Signal messages are encrypted by default. This means that only you and those you’re chatting to can see your messages.
Telegram messages and voice calls do not have encryption at all, as only a few of them have it. Telegram employees, law enforcement, and others may be able to see the rest. Below, we’ll discuss the different message types in greater detail.
Signal’s open source encryption protocol can be viewed by anyone. This means that any flaws in the protocol can be quickly identified and corrected. WhatsApp also uses its encryption.
Telegram’s MTProto 2.0 protocol is used for encrypted Secret Chats. It is open-source on Telegram’s client side. Although Telegram’s homegrown encryption tech has a less track record than Signal’s, many information security experts believe that it is more secure that MTProto1.0 (opens new tab).
A December 2020 academic research paper that examined Telegram’s Telegram MTProto 2.0 protocol was published. It was deemed fundamentally sound. The paper stated that further investigation was necessary “in order for this protocol suite to be deemed definitely secure.”
Telegram collects more data than Signal, but Signal stores far less information about its users. Signal stores only the date you created your account, and the time you connected last. Telegram may store your IP address, which can be used to locate you, as well as the names of people and times that you spoke with them. This is important when authorities arrive at the service provider’s premises with a search warrant.
Signal chats can be started by entering the number of another person. However, Telegram requires access to your contacts in order to message anyone.
Signal is the best choice for those concerned about big tech spying on private conversations.
Signal is owned by a foundation that supports non-profit organizations, but Telegram’s founders, Pavel and Nikolai Durov (Russian billionaires) are the creators of VK, Russia’s most popular social networking site. Their brothers are no longer living in Russia. Telegram’s London headquarters is home to many of its central operations, but it has its London headquarters.
Signal vs. Telegram: Installation and ease-of-use
Both apps are easy to install: First, download the software, then register with your phone number and then enter the verification code via SMS. Telegram may call you with the code in some cases.
While both platforms require you to provide a first name in order to complete your profile, neither platform requires that it be your actual name. Signal allows you to use an alias, or an emoji. When you click on Allow app permissions, you will be asked if you wish to allow access to your contacts and other information.
Signal will then ask you to create a pin. This is an optional step, but highly recommended for Telegram. It can be found under Settings > Privacy and Security > Passcode Lock.
You must first create an account using the mobile app before you can enable a desktop version or Telegram. Signal offers a QR code that allows you to link other devices. Telegram offers a similar QR code but you can also use your mobile number and an SMS verification code.
Signal used to require you to create an account when you changed your phone number. You can now port your account to another number if you still use the same phone. You can transfer your account to another phone (opens new tab) that uses the exact same number as the previous one. As long as you aren’t switching from Android to iOS, or vice versa.
You can change your phone number in Telegram (opens new tab) much easier than you might think. As long as the phones are all using the same number, it’s not a problem to change them. You’ll need to keep your Telegram password secret.
Signal vs. Telegram: Features
When it comes to chat options, both apps are very similar.
Individual messages:Signal individual messages are encrypted by default. Telegram’s basic one to one chats are not. You will need to create a Secret Chat if you want Telegram to protect your messages.
Group chatsBoth platforms provide a group messaging option. Signal’s chats are encrypted from end to end, while Telegram’s does not. There is no Secret Chat equivalent for groups. Telegram can allow up to 200,000 members to join a group. Signal groups can contain up to 1000 users.
Voice and Video Calls:Both platforms offer voice and video calling capabilities. Signal allows you to make encrypted calls individually or with up to 40 people in a group.
Telegram offers end-to-end encrypted one-on-one video calls as well as voice-chat that allows large groups of people to have conversations where members can come and go. Telegram’s group voicechats are encrypted between the client device (i.e. a phone or desktop) and the server. However, the encryption does not extend to one end of the conversation. Telegram’s servers are accessible to anyone who wants to listen.
Disappearing message:Signal messages can be made to disappear in chats between individuals or groups within five seconds to one month. Telegram offers a similar self-destruct feature that’s not only available for Secret Chats but also for regular chats.
Signal offers fewer privacy features than the other bonus privacy options. An image-blur tool allows you to hide faces from photos and videos. This is useful if you are sending media from protests. The screen lock setting requires you to enter your password or biometric access in order to unlock the app. Telegram also has one.
Telegram allows you to choose to delete shipping or payment information that was communicated in chats, to send unsend messages which deletes them both for the sender as well as the recipient, and to automatically destruct your account if it is not used for a certain period.
Telegram is also more social media-oriented, with its Channels function as well as a host of other settings that we’ll discuss below.
Channels enable users to broadcast messages to unlimited subscribers, including text, images, podcasts, and files. Channel messages can only be sent one way, similar to a radio station. Subscribers cannot reply to channel messages. Channels can be either public or private/invite only.
Signal vs. Telegram: User experience
Telegram offers a lot more customization options, making it the best choice in this area. You can change font size, color themes, emojis, animations, and notifications.
If you send multiple songs at once, the app will create playlists and launch them in its media player. With People Nearby ( , not privacy-friendly), you can create polls and quizzes as well as edit photos and videos.
Signal is a simpler app that allows you to send simple text, media, and voice messages securely. However, it recently added animated stickers and expanded its range of emojis. Signal is simple to use and does not require any customization.
Signal vs. Telegram: Verdict
The choice between Signal or Telegram is ultimately up to you. Signal is the best choice if security and encryption are top priorities, regardless of which features you choose.
Telegram is a good choice if you need to send encrypted messages on occasion and use social-network-style features. If you want all your communications to be encrypted, you will need to select Telegram’s Secret Chat option. .