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Telegram vs WhatsApp: Differences Between The Two Popular Messaging Apps

Updated on October 2, 2016
Alessio Ganci profile image

Alessio is not one of Google Top Contributors in Google forums by chance: technology is one of his favorite topics! Check his articles here!

Messaging For Free

In the past SMSs were the fastest way to communicate with other people: each message used to cost a few bucks, so that chatting like it happens with WhatsApp was impossible, unless two people were willing to spend a fortune just to stay in touch. Today situation is very different, as with a internet connection everyone is able to chat by using an online service. Among the various messaging apps WhatsApp is surely one of the most famous and used all around the world: by providing each user with the ability to send unlimited messages to other ones for a little yearly fee (which now has been removed, so that the service is completely free), the service started to gain popularity until he definitely became one of the most popular apps used by everyone in the world.

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Do you still use SMSs?

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Alternatives To WhatsApp

Many alternatives to WhatsApp have been developed during the years, for people who were in search of more features or who just wanted to stop paying for the yearly WhatsApp fee (when it was still applied, even if I do not imagine paying a few bucks a year was a big problem, considering people were not paying for SMSs anymore). Solutions like Google Hangouts, Skype, Facebook Messenger, even if all of these always used to keep users tied to a specific ecosystem (Hangouts requires a Google Account and Messenger can be used with a Facebook profile). Apple Messages is even impossible to use outside an iOS or Mac device, so that you cannot chat with friends having an Android or Windows Phone device. So other alternatives, less tied to a specific ecosystem, have been developed: Kik & WeChat (two apps more oriented to provide users with a tool they can use in order to know new people) and finally, Telegram, one of the most known complete alternatives to WhatsApp. What is the difference between it and the popular messaging app owned by Facebook company?

Groups

Groups are a popular feature allowing users to share a space in which chat together: they are good especially in order to stay in touch with groups in real life, or just to know other people
Groups are a popular feature allowing users to share a space in which chat together: they are good especially in order to stay in touch with groups in real life, or just to know other people

WhatsApp groups are made in order to simply let multiple users to stay in touch together in a shared space, with one or more administrators enabled to add and remove people. Telegram groups are something different: they do not only provide a shared area for a specific number of users, but they are set in order to work like complex communities, like forums: on Telegram administrators can add bots performing automatic operations inside a group (for example, temporarily blocking people flooding), they can write rules and pin them at the top of the chat and much more. The reason is quite simple: Telegram is not meant only to help friends stay in touch, but it can be also used to stay in touch with other people. Also WhatsApp can be used in order to know other ones, however this requires you to give your phone number to other people, while on Telegram usernames are available, so it is clear it is an app specifically designed to allow users to stay in touch with everyone. That is the reason also groups are more complex and offer more options and moderation tools, making them looking similar to complex web communitires.

More Settings

Telegram offers you more settings in order to customize your messaging experience. In addition to giving you more privacy settings (by providing you with the ability to set up a username for your account and with more flexible options in order you can choose who can see your online status, your photo and your status message) it enables you to lock app with a code (without the need of downloading external apps) and it also allows you to set 2-step verification in order to better protect your account. Finally Telegram can be run on mutiple devices, so that you are not tied to a single phone. Encrypted chats were also another typical feature offered by Telegram, even if WhatsApp started to add something similar, by automatically encrypting conversations among users.

Telegram is a popular alternative to WhatsApp
Telegram is a popular alternative to WhatsApp

Cloud Syncing

WhatsApp enables you to backup your chat history to the cloud (allowing you to choose a cloud service and automatically syncing your chats with it), while Telegram offers you the ability to save single messages to a specific area, which is automatically synced with cloud servers.

Calls

In this case, no comparison can be done: calls are not currently supported by Telegram, so only WhatsApp currently allows you to make web calls to other users.

Quick Poll

Do you prefer WhatsApp or Telegram?

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What Should You Choose?

Telegram has a lot more features than WhatsApp, but it does not offer web calls: you may consider it if you have no interests in VOIP (for example, if you already have a good phone plan and you do not need other calling options) and if you are looking for a solution in order to stay in touch with many people, not only your strict friends. Telegram has still less users than WhatsApp, so that completely switching to it is impossible, unless all your friends are using it. Anyway, both apps are great and offer different features, so that you can also keep all of them and use WhatsApp with your friends, while Telegram with other ones using this service.

© 2016 Alessio Ganci

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