WhatsApp is popular, especially in countries like India where not many people use services like iMessage, either because they don’t have an iPhone or even if they have an iPhone, they are reluctant to use iMessage. Globally, WhatsApp has 2000 million users, whereas Telegram has 400 million users worldwide. On April 4, 2020, Telegram announced that the platform has touched the 400 million user mark whereas back in July 2019 itself, WhatsApp had the same number of users, only from India. Yes, in 2019, WhatsApp had 400 million users right here in India, whereas in 2020 Telegram has just achieved the 400 million user milestone. Though the Facebook-owned Instant Messenger gets the job done for most people, I feel that there are plenty of reasons why I stuck to Telegram and don’t rely on WhatsApp at all, except for the fact that WhatsApp Payments has rolled out recently which lets me pay bills easily via UPI. I’m gonna list out ten big reasons why you should switch to Telegram as well.
1. Freedom from sharing the phone number
Though Telegram and even apps like Signal use a phone number as the primary identifier for their users, and WhatsApp is no exception, in this case, Telegram lets users pick a different kind of identifier- A username. Yes, you can create a username on Telegram and just share that with people so that they can text you. This is way more convenient than WhatsApp as I don’t find it very comfortable to share my phone number with any random guy because, in India, WhatsApp Spam is a huge problem. I am well aware of the fact that if WhatsApp is suddenly banned in India and the whole userbase shifts to Telegram, the spam issue will arise. However, I’m more comfortable sharing username compared to my phone number with some random guy on the web, because usernames can be changed, but changing phone number is kinda impossible for most people who have got everything linked to their phone numbers- Bank & Social Media accounts, Aadhaar, Income Tax, LPG Subsidy, UPI & Instant Mobile Payment Service, FASTag by NHAI (Toll-Tax) and more. I have my phone number linked to Facebook and Twitter as well, but when someone asks me to share my profile, I don’t drop my phone number so that they can save it in their contacts and find me on these platforms, rather I just share my username and they connect to me easily, without any hassle, and worry that I have shared my phone number with someone I just met online. Since 2014, usernames have been an integral part of Telegram, ensuring the privacy of users.
2. Cloud backup
WhatsApp doesn’t store all your photos, videos, and files in the cloud when you send those to any of your contacts but Telegram does. Once you send any kind of file to anyone, that file will be there in the chat and both the sender and the recipient can choose to download the file anytime. On WhatsApp, when you send a file to someone, that file is stored only for a month. That is a bit of trouble. Sometimes I need to find a document my friend sent me quite some time ago and when I find it, I can’t access it. I will have to ask him to send the file again. With Telegram, this hassle is gone as I can get all my text messages, images media files & documents saved on their cloud. I can access the file from any device doesn’t matter via which device I sent or received the file. On WhatsApp, backing up a chat is somewhat helpful but when you have data amounting to a few GBs, backing up and restoring chats is a painful process.
3. A better multiplatform & multidevice support
WhatsApp is available for Mac, Windows, Android & iPhone whereas Telegram apart from these platforms supports Linux as well. This might not be impressive to many but what makes Telegram better is that all of its clients work flawlessly without connectivity issues. Especially with the ability to stay logged into multiple devices where each device won’t rely on the primary device to communicate. In simple terms, you can just signup on Telegram using your phone and then you can use the Telegram desktop client to communicate while your phone is lying somewhere in your house.
With WhatsApp, it’s compulsory that your phone must be connected to the internet to relay your messages to the desktop client whereas Telegram’s desktop client doesn’t have any such dependencies. We have been hearing about similar multidevice support for WhatsApp as well, but as things are going at a slow pace, that may not be a reality anytime soon.
4. No crazy media compression
This is something I hate the most about WhatsApp. Most of the time some people will send your photos via WhatsApp instead of using a reliable service like Google Photos and WhatsApp will heavily compress the images. The point I’m making here is simple- If your phone’s camera can capture images in resolutions like 24-megapixel, 48-megapixel, 64-megapixel, and beyond, why should you compress the image? Image compression has also ruined social media for many, and Facebook & Instagram are the biggest examples of how media compression can ruin the quality and details of a photo. On Telegram, you can choose to send photos and videos in their original resolution rather than compressing and ruining the quality. As data prices are down and now in India, the data prices are one of the cheapest in the world, I don’t understand why the hell WhatsApp doesn’t introduce a better option to users to opt-out of compression. Surely you can still send the uncompressed files by choosing to send a file as a document, but then the recipient can not view files directly from WhatsApp.
5. Telegram Channels
Groups are there on WhatsApp as well as Telegram, though Telegram supports groups with up to even 5000 members, where WhatsApp allows only up to 256 participants. Channels on Telegram are just like groups but with one-way communication. You can just create a channel on Telegram and share updates or news related to any topic without revealing your phone number or any other personal details. Channels are most helpful to get updates from media as well as the Government. In India, the Government as well as media are now moving to Telegram starting their own channels for various causes. For example, when the COVID-19 pandemic started, the Government of India started MyGov Corona Newsdesk to share information and updates. However, the Government of India has a kinda love-hate relationship with Telegram.
Similarly, Indian Express has a channel on Telegram via which I get news. I created a small group on WhatsApp just to share some of the shopping deals and offers with some friends and family members, but the issue is that despite I made sure that it’s only me who can share product links to stop spamming and messages, as they added other people via the group invite link, they might get my phone number and text me anytime they want. With a channel on Telegram, there is no such issues and it serves the purpose completely!
6. Telegram Bots
You won’t find someone who primarily uses Telegram and doesn’t talk about bots. There are many bots on Telegram which are helpful in various situations. I brag about these bots often but my most favorite bot is definitely the Reverse Search Bot. There are some other great bots like FiletoBot, GetMediaBot, File Converter, IFTTT Bot, and many more. These are just some of the examples of Telegram bots that can help you a lot in getting many things done.
7. Secret chat & self-destructing messages
Secret chat on Telegram lets users chat while enforcing end-to-end encryption and a timer. In a secret chat, if the timer is set to ten seconds, once the message is received and read, the message will vanish after ten seconds and there is no way one can access those texts in the future. This is great for sharing sensitive or very private information, making sure that the recipient doesn’t leak anything. Lately, Facebook Messenger has also taken a similar path, but we all know how much Facebook cares about the privacy of its users.
8. Edit Sent Messages
Typos are common. While social media services like Facebook & Instagram let users edit posts, there is no option to edit a message you just sent containing a type that might be embarrassing like when you tried to inform your friend that you went hunting ducks but you typed something else instead of ‘Duck’. Twitter has no clue regarding typos and hence you won’t find the option to edit even your tweets, but on Telegram since 2016, users are able to edit their messages even after the message has been sent. This is something very helpful, not just in the case of typos but when you want to add something to an existing message to provide more context to the guy at the other end.
9. Multiple Account Support
Telegram clients, irrespective of the platform can handle multiple accounts. If you’re someone who wishes to keep different accounts, let’s say one for work and another one for personal communication, you can signup for two accounts and use them simultaneously on any Telegram client of your choice, be it on Android or even desktop, while to use two different WhatsApp accounts on a phone, you either need manufacturer-provided app cloning tools or you need to clone the app! However, app cloning has its own limitations and is not always reliable.
10. Message Scheduling
You’re back home and feeling tired, but you don’t want to miss wishing your friend on his birthday. On WhatsApp, there is no way you can schedule a message, but on Telegram, you can do that too. You just need to type your message or add some media in the chat and press and hold the send button to get into scheduling settings from where you can just set the perfect time for your birthday wish!
Here are the ten reasons why I think more and more people to move to Telegram over WhatsApp. Lack of cloud storage is a big issue and media compression is terrible on WhatsApp, even though the world is more cloud-oriented and mobile data or Wi-Fi is no longer scarce. I hope this article helped you know and explore a better WhatsApp alternative. If you enjoyed reading it, do share it with your friends, especially those who send photos over WhatsApp. With 2020, the year of pandemic ending, I’m hopeful that Telegram will get more feature-rich and more people would love to try this awesome messaging app. This year, we hardly published many articles or reviews, still, we wish you all the readers a very happy new year and hope that 2021 gets better for everyone.