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    12 January 2021

    Nafisa Akabor

    The top features of Telegram

    Telegram has seen a spike in downloads this week after Whatsapp announced updated terms and conditions. We highlight some of the top features found on Telegram.

    Telegram has seen a spike in downloads this week after WhatsApp announced updated terms and conditions that let Facebook collect user data if you agree to it. With that in mind, we look at some of the top features found on Telegram.

    1. Last Seen and Online: This feature lets you toggle it to “nobody”, which is great because sometimes when you’re on WhatsApp to reply to something urgent, others see you and assume you have time for a long chat. My worst! Additionally, Telegram’s levels of privacy are granular. I also love that you can choose if your name will appear on a forwarded message or not.

    2. Variety of themes: On iPhone, you can find this under Settings > Appearance and on Android it’s under Settings > Chat Settings. iPhone has four options: Classic, Day, Night and Tinted; whereas Android has five options: Classic, Day, Dark, Night and Arctic. Once you choose a theme, you can then set your own colours. I’ve noticed Android only has a setting to choose a two- or three-line chat list view. You can also add your own background and other options to personalise to your preference.

    3. Secret Chats: Telegram will let you create a ‘secret chat’ with anyone, and it supports end-to-end encryption, no trace on Telegram servers, has a self-destruct timer – from seconds to days (up to a week) – and doesn’t support forwarding. It will also notify you if the person took a screenshot. However, I could only take a screenshot on iPhone, not on Android, LOL! As its name suggests, Secret Chat is best for discussing something extra-confidential between you and another person, hence the end-to-end encryption. It will only sit on your respective phones, nowhere else.

    4. Usernames: You can set a public username if you don’t want to give out your number. This means anyone who knows what it is can message you. I see how it has both pros and cons, the latter being that it opens you up to receiving spam or messages from randoms. I had one some time ago and deleted it. But if you have a business or think it’s safe, go with it.

    5. Multiple Profile Pics: You can have a carousel of profile pics for people to scroll through, so if you can’t decide on a favourite pic, just put up a variety.

    6. Send Without Sound/Schedule Send: If you know someone is busy and want to send them a message but it’s not urgent, you can send it without using a sound notification. Or you can schedule ‘send a message’ for later. I’ve lumped these two together because after you type your message, you tap the up arrow next to it and these options come up.

    7. Saved Messages: You can save a bunch of important info, like links, documents, numbers etc under ‘saved messages,’ which is then accessible on other devices, for example, your PC/laptop, without saving it in the cloud or mailing it to yourself.

    8. Proxy: If this is important to you for whatever reason, you can connect via a proxy server. But it’s also useful if you’re in a region that’s blocked and you still want to use it. You can find it under Settings > Data and Storage > Proxy. It’s in the same location on both iOS and Android.

    9. Stickers: I love emojis, animojis and stickers. I’ve been waiting to use my Keanu Reeves sticker pack for years! You can add a wide variety – think The Witcher, ’90s gadgets, Freddy Kruger, Silver Age Batman, Great Minds, Velociraptor, The Virus, etc. Artists/developers can add their stickers to the platform.

    10. Folders: You can create folders and add chats, contacts, non-contacts, groups, channels or bots to it. If you use Telegram for business and personal purposes, this is a great way to separate them and quickly access what you need. I created Friends and Family folders, which are easy to access next to “All Chats” and filter important messages to see first.

    11. Automatically Delete Account: You can set your own time frame to automatically delete your account if it’s inactive. This can be found under Settings > Privacy and Security > Automatically delete my account. You can choose a period from one, three, six, or 12 months away.

    12. Terminate Sessions: If your phone gets stolen, you can go to Settings > Devices and see a list of all active sessions on your account and terminate them.

    I’ve not even touched on many of the basic features you’re used to on WhatsApp that are still available on Telegram. The 12 listed features are those I think are cool to know about as a new user.

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    - This article was originally published on https://www.nafisa.co.za/telegram-features/

    Nafisa Akabor