Signal vs Telegram: There is a Difference

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WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps out there, with over five billion downloads on the Google Play Store alone. However, the messenger is losing users at a rampant rate because of the privacy havoc it created by updating its privacy policies.

Signal and Telegram, two messenger apps known to follow good privacy practices, are consequently witnessing a sudden surge in installations. Signal, in fact, has climbed to the top free apps category on the App Store in India.

Why you should stop using WhatsApp?

Based on WhatsApp’s new privacy policy, the messaging app will mandatorily share users’ data with Facebook that started February 8th. Users have no choice but to accept the changes unless they wish to stop using the app.

So what does all of this mean? WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, will now be turning all your communication logs, contacts, recordings of voice texts and actual texts over to Facebook for profile building and monetization.

What do Signal and Telegram Have in Common?

Signal and Telegram both advertise themselves as private and secure. Neither is owned by a big tech company. Signal is owned by a non-profit organization, while Telegram is owned by a for-profit company.

Both Signal and Telegram are chat apps with all the standard features, from stickers to photo and file transfers to voice and video calls.

Signal and Telegram both offer apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android. Each is free, and a phone number is all you need to sign up for either. Both offer optional desktop apps so that you can chat on a Windows PC, Mac, or Linux system, giving you the option to chat on your computer with its full keyboard.

Signal Has Better Privacy Features Than Telegram

Signal is built from the ground up for privacy, and it shows. All conversations and other communications on Signal are end-to-end encrypted between devices running Signal. The company in charge of Signal, the Signal Foundation, couldn’t even see your messages if it wanted to.

Telegram offers optional end-to-end encryption. You have to start a “Secret Chat.” In Signal, everything is a secret chat—by default, and always. All Telegram messages are encrypted between you and the Telegram server, but the company in charge of Telegram could technically view your messages on its server if it liked—unless you start a “Secret Chat.”

Also, in Telegram, you can’t have a group “Secret Chat.” You can only get end-to-end encryption in conversations between two people. Unlike Telegram, Signal offers encrypted group chats.

All your Signal conversations are stored only on your device by default. In Telegram, they’re stored on Telegram’s servers and can be synchronized between your devices. (You can still use Signal between multiple devices and synchronize messages from one device to another. But you can’t just log into Signal on the web and find all your conversations right there.)

Signal is completely open-source—both the code for the Signal clients and the code for the Signal server can be found on GitHub. The code for Telegram’s apps is open-source, but Telegram’s server software is not open-source.

Most security researchers have argued that Signal’s encryption protocol is better and more bulletproof than Telegram’s MTProto encryption protocol. That alone is the reason Signal is favored if you have the need for total security.

The Signal app is developed by the Signal Foundation, a non-profit organization funded by donations. Signal also has other built-in features around privacy, including the ability to automatically blur faces in the photos you send.

Telegram Has Some Niceties Signal Doesn’t Offer

While Signal has the clear advantage when it comes to privacy, Telegram offers a variety of convenience features that Signal doesn’t have.

In Telegram, you can have up to 200,000 people in a group chat. In Signal, you can only have up to 1,000 people. But in reality – how many of us have 200,000 friends or acquaintances we’d like to chat with at the same time? Or even 1,000?

In Telegram, you can transfer files up to 2 GB in size. In Signal, you can only transfer files up to 100 MB in size. While that is a difference, not many people have the need to transfer huge files through a chat app.

Overall, the Telegram app also has a shinier interface, with more available sticker packs, animated stickers, and customizable background images for your conversations. As of January 11, 2021, Signal started working on adding many of these features. If you need smiley faces and emoji’s to communicate, then you’ll have them.

Signal vs. Telegram: Which Should You Use?

If you’re serious about maximum privacy for your communications, you should pick Signal. It’s built from the ground up to be as private as possible by default. It’s clear why (as of early January 2021) Signal is beating Telegram on the App Store charts.

The last catch is that end-to-end encryption only works if the person you are chatting with is using the same app. Otherwise, they work just like the standard chat app that comes with your phone.

Of course, which service you end up using depends on which service your friends, family, coworkers, and other people you want to talk to use. You might even end up using both to talk to different people. Feel free to give both a try.

Ultimately, both Signal and Telegram beats WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger when it comes to privacy. Neither app is linked to Facebook, as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are. Both Signal and Telegram are much more secure than SMS, which allows your cellular carrier to see every message you send.

Be Safe – Backup Your Data Regularly!


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