Signal or Telegram: differences and comparison

telegram or signal. signal or telegram. That’s the dilemma many users who want to say goodbye to WhatsApp. What is the best alternative to the messaging application par excellence? In this comparison you will find out what you can expect from both, how they are similar and how they differ.

Signal and Telegram: How they are similar

While you might think you have two virtually identical apps in front of you, Telegram has some additional options that set it apart from the Signal concept. The latter focuses on more traditional messaging and is closer to WhatsApp’s approach. Yet there are similarities.

Main screen and chats

On the main screen of both applications you will see a list of active chats. You can also access archived chats from the main page. Both applications respect the design lines given by Google and place some of their actions on the bottom right of the screen. From here it is also possible to start the search engine.

Start screen of the two applicationsStart screen of the two applications

Also the chat screen follows the same pattern in both. At the top are buttons for calls and video calls. In the case of Telegram, you have to open the menu to access these functions. Below is the writing area and buttons for attaching other content. Images, videos, documents, contacts, location and voice memos are supported in both applications.

Chat screen with similar optionsChat screen with similar options

App settings

The respective settings areas of Signal and Telegram offer very similar options. Once you access it, you can manage notifications, customize how chats behave, connect new devices, or set the various privacy features. You will also find direct access to customer service for each application.

Signal and telegram settingsSignal and telegram settings

More common features

In addition, we find some unique common features in both applications. For example, you can save notes, files, and other content by sending them to yourself. Both applications allow private chats with you as the only participant. Likewise, Signal and Telegram behave similarly when it comes to creating groups, although the latter sets a limit of 200,000 participants, a far cry from the 1000 allowed in the first app.

Private soliloquyPrivate soliloquy

Signal and telegram: how they differ

The differences between Signal and Telegram are quite noticeable. In fact, there are at least two specifics you should know about.

Security and Privacy

Signal is an application totally dedicated to security and privacy. Telegram, on the other hand, is not as secure as some people think. The main difference between the two is the type of encryption. Signal uses end-to-end encryption by default. This means that the information we send is encrypted when it leaves our device and decrypted when it reaches the recipient. With this form of encryption, it is not possible to capture the content of a message at an intermediate point in the transmission process. Telegram, on the other hand, uses server-side encryption. Therefore, one can know Telegram’s decryption key and access the messages whenever the service sees fit. This problem can be solved by using secret chats. However, it would be interesting if point-to-point encryption were active by default.

When it comes to privacy, Signal only uses one piece of personal information to make it work: your phone number. This information is not otherwise related to you, so we can say that it is anonymous. Competitor Telegram links your contact details, address book and other identifiers to your profile. Of course, both apps are a far cry from WhatsApp’s data octopus, which collects an enormous amount of information. But Signal still remains a more private environment than Telegram.

Additional functions

Telegram is ahead of Signal when it comes to additional functions. As an example, let’s consider the channels and bots. The former are now becoming a very handy way to keep up to date. This hybrid form of mailing lists and groups is even used by government agencies to disseminate information of general interest to the population. And when we talk about bots, we mean intelligent conversational robots that provide us with practical answers, translations, word definitions, and more.

A bot and a discount channel in TelegramA bot and a discount channel in Telegram

Finally, thanks to its API, Telegram has managed to get several developers to very reliable alternative clients to create. For example, for Windows there is Unigram, which is an excellent general-purpose application with full platform support. In the case of Signal, you’ll have to settle for the official clients, at least for now.

Unigram, an alternative Telegram client on WindowsUnigram, an alternative Telegram client on Windows

In short, Signal and Telegram show more differences, or at least more important differences, than similarities. So which should be your next messaging app?

Signal or Telegram: which app should I use?

As this comparison made clear, Signal is a traditional, privacy-focused messaging app. It omits several functions that are redundant in many cases and focuses only on establishing communication between people. Signal is actually a lot more like WhatsApp than Telegram. The latter is ideal for obtaining information, interacting with bots and forming large communities. It offers a very versatile communication tool and is increasingly being used as a complement to Signal or WhatsApp rather than as an alternative.

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