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The Ultimate Safety Guide to Choosing Between Telegram and WhatsApp

Wondering about who might be peeking at your chats? Check out our exclusive guide to discover the tangled web of messaging apps like Telegram and WhatsApp. Discover which app truly champions your privacy and secures your conversations against prying eyes. Ready to make an informed choice for your digital security?
by Chris Allmer | Dec 27 2023

Welcome to the future, where messaging applications serve as tools and gateways to intricate cyber universes. In this futuristic odyssey, we find ourselves at a crossroads between two digital realms: Telegram and WhatsApp.

As we orbit these tech planets, the burning question is: “Who has their eyes on our messages?”

In our “Telegram vs WhatsApp” guide, we’re digging deep into what these apps can do and how they handle your privacy. Are they secure messaging apps for your private chats, or are there hidden risks to your personal information? Let’s find out.


Telegram vs WhatsApp: An Overview

What is Telegram?

Since its inception in 2013, Telegram has risen to prominence as a messaging app that champions privacy and security. Its standout features include optional end-to-end encryption in “secret chats” and the ability to send self-destructing messages, catering to users who put a premium on privacy. 

Beyond security, Telegram’s cloud-based architecture allows seamless access across multiple devices. It’s also equipped to handle large group chats, making it a versatile choice for both personal use and professional communication.

What is WhatsApp?

WhatsApp, joining the Meta (formerly Facebook) family in 2014, stands as one of the world’s most-used messaging apps. Its appeal lies in its simplicity and reliable delivery of messages. 

Offering end-to-end encryption by default, WhatsApp ensures that all user communications are secure, fostering trust and peace of mind. Its integration with the larger Meta ecosystem further smooths out the user experience, making it a go-to choice for those already utilizing other Meta services.

Features Telegram WhatsApp
Launch Year 2013 2009
User Base Over 700 million active users Over 2 billion active users
Encryption and Privacy
  • Optional end-to-end encryption in Secret Chats
  • self-destructing messages
  • messages can be prevented from being forwarded
  • Default end-to-end encryption for all services
  • tracks user location, habits
  • blocked contacts for optimization
Data Usage Policy Does not use end-to-end encryption by default; can access messages in default mode; Secret Chats offer more security Collects phone numbers, contacts, location, and user habits; subject to Meta’s data policies
Group Chat Capacity Up to 200,000 members Up to 1,024 members
File Sharing Limit Up to 2 GB per file (in the free version) 16 MB for photos/videos, 100 MB for other files
Online Status and Last Seen Shows online status by default; option to hide Shows online status; option to hide
Self-Destructing Messages Available in Secret Chats Not available by default
Bots and Automation Offers self-installed bots for various functions Does not offer bots
Animated Stickers and GIFs Supported Supported
Managing and Saving Messages Sort and organize chats into folders; Save messages feature Automatic backup to phone memory and cloud; manual backup option
Cloud Synchronization Yes, supported across multiple platforms Yes, with memory usage manager
Additional Security Features Private chats can’t be forwarded; Secret Chats with self-destruct mode Online status can be hidden; WhatsApp images, videos, GIFs, audio, documents can be stored in private folders
Language Available in 19 languages:
English, Arabic, Belarusian, Catalan, Dutch, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Malay, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Uzbek
Available in 30 languages: English, Arabic, Bengali, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Marathi, Norwegian Bokmål, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Linux
  • Desktop
  • Android
  • iOS
  • KaiOS 2.5.0
  • JioPhone / JioPhone 2
  • Desktop
iTunes rating 4.1 • 178.6K Ratings 3.0 • 315 Ratings

Let’s now look at WhatsApp and Telegram separately and focus on their key features and the data privacy in these chat apps:

How to Stay Safe on WhatsApp

Ensuring Your Privacy and Security on WhatsApp

WhatsApp has integrated robust safety measures into its app. By focusing on end-to-end encryption and offering additional features for enhanced security, WhatsApp empowers you to communicate with confidence.

End-to-End Encryption: Your Conversational Fort

At the heart of WhatsApp’s security measures is end-to-end encryption. This chat app privacy feature ensures that only you and the person you’re communicating with can read what’s sent.

Not even WhatsApp has access to these messages. This encryption happens automatically, requiring no special settings or setups, providing peace of mind that your conversations are private and secure.

Taking Control of Your Privacy Settings

WhatsApp gives you the power to tailor your privacy settings to your preferences. Here’s how you can manage them:

  1. Last Seen and Online Status: You can choose who sees when you were last online or if you’re currently active on the app.
  2. Profile Photo and About Information: Control who can view your profile photo and the personal information in your ‘About’ section.
  3. Read Receipts: You have the option to turn off read receipts, although this means you also won’t be able to see if others have read your messages.

Blocking and Reporting: Shield Against Unwanted Interactions

  • Block Unwanted Contacts: WhatsApp allows you to block contacts you don’t want to communicate with. Blocked contacts cannot call or send messages to you.
  • Report Spam or Abuse: If you encounter spam or abusive behavior, you can report these contacts directly within the app.

Two-Step Verification: An Extra Layer of Security

Two-step verification adds another layer of protection to your WhatsApp account. By enabling this feature, any attempt to verify your phone number on WhatsApp must be accompanied by a six-digit PIN that you create. This helps prevent unauthorized access to your account.

Using WhatsApp Responsibly

Staying safe on WhatsApp isn’t just about the features provided; it’s also about how you use the app. Here are some tips for responsible usage:

    • Be Cautious with Personal Information: Be mindful of your personal information in chats or groups.
    • Verify Messages Before Forwarding: Misinformation can spread quickly. Verify the authenticity of messages before forwarding them.
    • Respect Others’ Privacy: Just as you value your privacy, remember to respect the privacy of others.


Features WhatsApp Telegram
Encryption Default end-to-end encryption for all communications Combination of 256-bit AES, 2048-bit RSA encryption; end-to-end encryption in Secret Chats
Privacy Settings
  • Last Seen and Online Status controls
  • Profile Photo and About Information settings
  • Manage ‘Last Seen’ and online status
  • Control over profile picture and bio visibility
  •  Block unwanted contacts
  • Report spam or abuse
  • Block users
  • Report malicious behavior
Two-Step Verification Available for added account security Available for enhanced account protection
Message Control
  • Ability to delete messages for everyone
  • Read Receipt settings
  • Self-destruct timers in Secret Chats
  • Messages in Secret Chats can’t be forwarded
User Responsibility Tips
  • Caution with personal information
  • Verify messages before forwarding
  • Share information wisely
  • Respect others’ privacy
Additional Features
  • User-friendly interface
  • Integration with Meta services
  • Powerful photo/video editing tools
  • Animated stickers and customizable themes
Responsible Use Resources Guides on protecting your account and using WhatsApp responsibly Resources on securing your account and safe messaging practices

And if you’re a concerned parent pondering over the safety of your child on these messaging platforms, we invite you to take a look at our article: Qustodio vs. Bark: A Guide on How to Find the Best Parental Control App.

In this guide, we take an in-depth look at both apps to determine which one provides the most effective protective shield for our young ones. Read more about these essential tools and how they can help you stay informed and proactive about your child’s online safety.

How to Stay Safe on Telegram

Securing Your Communication on Telegram

Telegram offers a suite of security features that allow users to maintain privacy and control over their conversations. With its unique blend of security and user-friendly features, Telegram encryption ensures that your privacy is always in your hands.

Robust Encryption: Your Digital Safe

  • Layered Encryption: Telegram’s security is built on a combination of 256-bit symmetric AES encryption, 2048-bit RSA encryption, and Diffie–Hellman secure key exchange. While standard chats use client-server/server-client encryption, secret chats use end-to-end encryption, ensuring only you and your recipient can read the messages.
  • Secret Chats: This feature is for those seeking extra privacy. Messages in secret chats can’t be forwarded, and you can set self-destruct timers on messages, making them disappear after a set time, leaving no trace.

Customize Your Privacy

  • Control Your Footprint: Telegram lets you manage who can see your ‘Last Seen‘ and online status. You can also adjust who can find you on Telegram with your phone number and who can add you to groups.
  • Profile Privacy: Choose who can see your profile picture and bio, keeping your personal information under wraps if you choose.

Defend Against Unwanted Contacts

  • Blocking Unwanted Users: Telegram allows you to block users, preventing them from sending you messages or viewing your profile.
  • Reporting Malicious Behavior: Have you encountered spam or harassment? Report it directly in the app, helping keep the Telegram community safe.

Two-Step Verification: Fortify Your Account

  • Extra Security Layer: With two-step verification, anyone trying to access your Telegram account will need your password and an additional PIN that you set up.

Responsible Use of Telegram

  • Share Wisely: Be cautious about your personal information, even in encrypted chats.
  • Verify Before You Forward: Misinformation can be rampant. Ensure the authenticity of information before forwarding messages.
  • Respect Privacy: Just as you value your privacy, be considerate of others’ privacy in your interactions.

Take Control of Your Digital Privacy with Blinkist

As we navigate the complex landscape of digital communication, understanding and protecting our privacy has never been more crucial. The choices we make on platforms like Telegram and WhatsApp have a significant impact on our digital footprint.

If you want to deepen your understanding of these critical issues, we recommend exploring “Understanding Digital Privacy” curated by the Blinkist Curators. This insightful collection dives into the intricacies of digital privacy, helping you gain a clearer perspective on how to safeguard your online presence. 

Don’t let your personal data be an open book. Click here to start your journey towards better digital privacy with Blinkist:


WhatsApp vs Telegram: The Pricing

Both platforms offer their core services for free. However, each platform also presents unique pricing strategies for additional features beyond the standard offerings, catering to different segments of their user base.

How Much is Telegram Premium?

  • Pricing Variability: Telegram Premium‘s cost varies by country. Typically, it’s priced around $4.99, or 5.49 euros. In India, it’s expected to be in the range of 250-388 rupees.
  • Enhanced Features: Subscribers of Telegram Premium enjoy a suite of advanced features. While the basic functionalities of Telegram remain free, the premium tier offers perks like

            – accelerated download speeds

            – capability to send larger files

            – exclusive access to special stickers and content.

  • Subscription Basis: This service operates on a monthly subscription model.
  • Payment Methods: Subscription payments can be made via the Google Play Store for Android users and the Apple App Store for iOS users.

Telegram continues to provide its standard messaging services free of charge, with the premium subscription being a voluntary upgrade for enhanced features.

How Much is WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business?

Unlike Telegram, WhatsApp does not offer a premium model for individual users. However, it does feature WhatsApp Business, tailored for small to medium-sized businesses.

  • Business-Focused Features: WhatsApp Business includes specialized tools like

            – business profiles

            – advanced messaging options

            – product catalogs

  • Cost for Businesses: The app itself is free, but businesses using WhatsApp Business API are charged per 24-hour conversation. This cost varies based on the type of conversation and the business’s location.

WhatsApp maintains its free model for individual users, providing the same standard features without a premium tier.


The Pros and Cons of Telegram and WhatsApp

Telegram and WhatsApp, each with their own unique features and privacy settings, offer different advantages and drawbacks.

Pros of Telegram

  1. Enhanced Privacy Features: With optional end-to-end encryption in secret chats and self-destructing messages, Telegram puts a premium on user privacy.
  2. Large Group Capacity: It can support group chats of up to 200,000 members, ideal for large-scale communication.
  3. Higher File Sharing Limit: Telegram users can share files up to 2 GB.
  4. Customizable Interface: Offers a more personalized experience with customizable themes and animated stickers.

Cons of Telegram

  1. Non-Default End-to-End Encryption: Regular chats do not use end-to-end encryption by default.
  2. Potentially Complex for New Users: Its wide range of features can be overwhelming for new users.
  3. Lesser User Base: Telegram has a smaller user base compared to WhatsApp, which might limit your contact reach.

Pros of WhatsApp

  1. Widespread Usage: With over 2 billion active users, WhatsApp is more likely to be used by people you know.
  2. Default End-to-End Encryption: All messages and calls are end-to-end encrypted by default.
  3. User-Friendly Interface: Known for its simplicity and ease of use.
  4. Integration with Meta Ecosystem: Offers a smoother experience for users who are already part of the Meta network.

Cons of WhatsApp

  1. Data Privacy Concerns: Being part of Meta, WhatsApp’s data policies are subject to the broader data usage policies of the parent company.
  2. Limited File Sharing Capacity: WhatsApp has lower limits on the size of files that can be shared.
  3. No Self-Destructing Messages: This feature is not available in standard chats.

Let’s take a detailed look:

Pros Telegram WhatsApp
Enhanced Privacy Features Optional end-to-end encryption in secret chats, self-destructing messages Default end-to-end encryption for all messages and calls
Group Chat Capacity Supports up to 200,000 members in a single group chat Supports up to 1,024 members in a single group chat
File Sharing Limit Can share files up to 2 GB 16 MB limit for photos/videos, 100 MB for other files
Customizable Interface Highly customizable with themes, bots, and stickers Standard, user-friendly interface with limited customization
Cons Telegram WhatsApp
Encryption Default Regular chats do not have end-to-end encryption by default All communications are end-to-end encrypted by default
User Interface Complexity Wide range of features might be overwhelming for new users Simple and intuitive, easy for new users
User Base Smaller compared to WhatsApp Over 2 billion active users, more widely used
Data Privacy Concerns Less intrusive in terms of data collection Part of Meta, subject to broader data usage policies
File Sharing Capabilities More generous file-sharing limits Limited file-sharing capabilities compared to Telegram
Self-Destructing Messages Available in Secret Chats Not available in standard chats


Conclusion and Our Final Recommendation

After a comprehensive analysis of Telegram and WhatsApp, it’s clear that each platform has unique strengths and areas of concern.

If you prioritize enhanced privacy features, extensive file-sharing capabilities, and a customizable interface, Telegram is an excellent choice. Its optional end-to-end encryption in secret chats and the ability to support large group capacities make it suitable for users who seek advanced features and high levels of privacy.

However, remember that it has a potentially complex interface for new users and a smaller user base than WhatsApp.

On the other hand, if you value a simple, user-friendly interface, widespread usage, and consistent end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp is the way to go. Being one of the most used messaging apps globally, it offers the advantage of a larger user base, making it likely that more of your contacts are already using it.

The integration with the Meta ecosystem can also be a plus if you’re already using other Meta services.

However, be mindful of the data privacy concerns due to its association with Meta and its limited file-sharing capabilities.

We’ve learned in our messaging app comparison “Telegram vs WhatsApp” that no app is perfect, and the best choice depends on your individual needs and how you use these platforms. And, while you are making a decision about the future of your messaging style, take a look at the collection “Understanding Digital Privacy” we have mentioned before; click here to get it for free:

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