WhatsApp vs. Telegram: Who Wins the Battle of the Instant Messaging Apps?

WhatsApp vs. Telegram

It is fascinating to see how, over the decades, instant and personal communication has evolved from phone calls to Short Message Services (SMS) via mobile devices, later to messenger desktop clients, and more recently to messaging apps that can be downloaded, installed and set up in a matter of minutes.

Instant messaging and communications now go beyond the text alone. People like to have several features and options available for them, such as voice notes, video and voice calls, emojis or stickers, managing status changes, configuring privacy settings, and more.

These messaging apps have taken the world by storm in the last decade. There are numerous options, such as Viber, Skype, Telegram, WhatsApp, LINE, Snapchat, Google Hangouts, HeyTell, Voxer, Talkatone, and more. However, two of them seem to have separated from the pack among people’s preferences because of their functionalities, features, and added elements.

WhatsApp and Telegram have similarities and notable differences. One prioritizes a more personalized, customized communication with one’s phonebook, while the other makes sure to encrypt and secure all conversations while providing a much broader limit in group chats. Both, however, are perfectly valid options, so we will examine each one to try and determine which one is the best messaging app.

WhatsApp: the industry leader

The little dialog box surrounding the phone in green color is now a worldwide known brand and logo. WhatsApp is immensely popular, and it has reached all continents and most countries in the world.

People love WhatsApp because it is straightforward to install and use, and because it is linked to the user’s phone book so he doesn’t need to manually add each user: the app will detect all contacts that have WhatsApp installed and instantly add them to the list of available people to chat or start a group.

WhatsApp has numerous features and exciting offerings to its user’s community. They can start a group chat with up to 256 people in it, they can configure status changes – “Busy,” “At work,” or “available” are some of the most standard configurations – and, most recently, the app added the ability to post temporary photos and videos just like Snapchat and Instagram.

In short, WhatsApp is an instant messaging app designed for smartphone users. They can also engage in phone calls or even video chats, with no additional charges from their phone carriers. The chats are encrypted end-to-end, although there has been some security and privacy red flags since WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, a company that is notorious for gathering logs of users’ data for commercial purposes.

WhatsApp has multi-platform compatibility, as you can download and use the app in Android, iOS, and Windows Phones, as well as Windows and Mac desktop computers. It was created in January 2009, a good nine years ago.

Telegram: a worthy competitor

One of the risers in the people’s preferences when it comes to instant messaging apps, Telegram is now fighting with WhatsApp for the top spot thanks to it secure message system and amazing group chat features, among other things.

Telegram is cloud-based, and it excels in sending and receiving fast and secure messages. You can get it and use it on almost all devices and operating systems, including everyone in WhatsApp’s list.

Telegram allows users to send and share multimedia elements such as photos and videos, along with texts and emojis (in the form of stickers) with ease. However, the most impressive feature is its ability to host groups of thousands of people. Also, you can access channels for broadcasting to all audiences.

One drawback is that Telegram does not have the video chat or call feature available for users. However, it specializes in messages and in security/encryption of content to make for a safer experience. It is not a coincidence that Telegram has been linked with the rise of cryptocurrency.

Similarities between WhatsApp and Telegram

  • Both WhatsApp and Telegram focus on providing a perfect atmosphere for instant message exchange. Both provide the opportunity of sharing videos, photos, texts, expressions, and more.
  • WhatsApp’s message confirmation is better than Telegram’s since the two checks turn blue if the recipient has opened the chat with the last message, but both offer confirmation their own way.
  • Both Telegram and WhatsApp offer users the chance of erasing messages, as well as copying and forwarding them with ease. Also, both apps can provide end-to-end encryption for all communications and shared messages.

Differences between WhatsApp and Telegram

  • Both options have a group chat feature available. However, Telegram’s one is by far the bigger one, albeit not necessarily the best. It is a matter of tastes: Telegram can host groups of up to 100,000 people, whereas WhatsApp’s maximum is at 256. If you like to read and participate in hot, massive discussions, then you would prefer Telegram, but if you like a more organized and quiet space in which you won’t get lost in the shuffle, choose WhatsApp.
  • The expressions, as we have already stated in this article, are sought-after complementary tools for the conversation. People often express more using a face than a set of words, and instant messaging apps have taken notice. Telegram implements stickers, whereas WhatsApp uses regular emojis, which are smaller.
  • While Telegram doesn’t have the option to update status within the app or interface, Whatsapp does, and users love it. Better yet, for your privacy’s sake, the app allows only people you have in your contacts to see your updates. Telegram is more business-oriented while WhatsApp is better to enhance your social possibilities and connections.
  • When it comes to privacy and security, Telegram is better. WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, which is not so kind to people’s online privacy according to several reports: people continually point at Mark Zuckerberg’s company because it gathers users’ activity logs to build customer’s profiles and direct personalized ads. Telegram recently made news because it declined to give Russian governmental authorities its encryption keys.
  • The business model of both apps is not the same. WhatsApp, having Facebook as a parent company, has no clear path but there is no question that is earning piles of money. Telegram I focusing on the crypto universe instead, so there are excellent opportunities for growth and profit.
  • One thing that WhatsApp lacks and Telegram has is the availability of channels where people can access information without necessarily being in a group chat. Another point to Telegram, which is collecting them in bunches.
  • Both apps have similar data usage, but WhatsApp’s design and user interface are neater and friendlier than Telegram, so it gets the edge there. When it comes to file sharing, though, WhatsApp has a limit and Telegram’s is very difficult to surpass.
  • WhatsApp has the ability to back up chats. It has had it for quite some time, but recently, the company added Google Drive integration for more available storage space. Telegram does not offer this trait, although it does have secret chat availability. These conversations can’t be hacked under any circumstances.

The verdict: which one is better?

WhatsApp has the edge in popularity (evident in the number of users around the world) and in some usability features, such as video calls, backup availability, and message confirmation. However, Telegram offers secure encryption, better privacy functionalities, almost unreachable data sharing limit, channels, and bigger group chats. Gathering all the information, we have a tie!

In conclusion, instant messaging apps are taking the world by storm. There are dozens of quality options available in the online world, but WhatsApp is by far the most popular and widespread.

However, a competitor is slowly, but surely, rising up the leaderboard: Telegram’s exciting features are closing the gap with WhatsApp, with some circles even considering it a better and more complete alternative.

Ali is a freelance journalist with 5 years of experience in web journalism and marketing. He contributes to various online publications. With a master degree, now he combines his passions for writing about internet security and technology. When he is not working, he loves traveling and playing games.

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