Telegram vs WhatsApp

Mike Townsend
3 min readFeb 3, 2021


Comparing two of the largest chat apps

WhatsApp vs. Telegram

I’ve been thinking about this article for a long time.

In my personal and work life I use chat apps a lot, and I’ve recorded the tiny differences between Telegram and WhatsApp.

The decision of which app to commit to is a significant one, considering the countless hours we spend in them.

I wrote this article because I couldn’t find another one out there.

Ways Telegram is better than WhatsApp

Basic chat functionality

  • You can pin messages in groups in Telegram, you can’t in WhatsApp
  • You can edit message in Telegram, can’t in WhatsApp
  • You can pin unlimited chats in Telegram, only 3 in WhatsApp
  • Telegram allows sending of any kind of file, WhatsApp blocks GIFs (WTF?!)
  • Telegram allows account creation without a SIM card, WhatsApp requires it.
  • WhatsApp forces you to add people to “contacts” before messaging, Telegram offers a global search by username.
  • Telegram has a whole suite of custom stickers, silent messages, folders, statistics, and integrated polls… WhatsApp does not.
  • WhatsApp relies on phone storage, so when your phone is full, no WhatsApp.
  • Clicking a user in a group brings up their profile in Telegram, not in WhatsApp.

Developer functionality

  • Telegram has a robust open API and bots, WhatsApp API is closed
  • Telegram has 1000’s of bots, from games to education to finance tools.
  • Telegram offers Telegram passport, a unified authorization method for services that require personal identification, WhatsApp has nothing similar.

Group Chat Functionality

  • Group admin can control whether new members can see chat history, WhatsApp they can never see chat history
  • Group admin in Telegram can delete messages from members, WhatsApp can’t.
  • Telegram has basic groups where everyone can change settings, WhatsApp does not, all groups allows for Supergroups (custom URL name, 100,000 limit,
  • Telegram allows you to delete messages anytime, WhatsApp limits to only 1 hour after posting in groups (you could see how this could get bad).
  • Telegram offers “Channels” which is a group where no one can see other members, and only the admin can post messages. WhatsApp offers broadcast lists, which allows you to spam 256 individuals at once.

Security and Privacy

  • Telegram has “secret chats” which can only be read on 1 device, WhatsApp is encrypted, but Facebook is planning to launch ads in 2020.
  • Telegram is open source, WhatsApps is not (making it less secure).
  • Telegram’s founder is strongly opposed to government backdoors, WhatsApp has has major security breaches because of implementing backdoors.

Leadership Team

  • WhatsApp founder, Brian Acton, sold to Facebook for $22 Billion in 2014, and now denounces the company and Mark Zuckerberg specifically.
  • Telegram chat search is far more advanced than WhatsApp.
  • Telegram has a saved messages channel for you alone to use, WhatsApp doesn’t
  • Telegram launched a $1.7B ICO and has extensive plans to integrate blockchain

Desktop Version

  • Telegram allows you to share links to messages, WhatsApp doesn’t
  • Telegram has normal groups, supergroups, and channels
  • Telegram lets you see who invited people to groups, WhatsApp doesn’t
  • Telegram you can remove the message, joining or leaving groups
  • Telegram has channels to post messages 1-way, WhatsApp doesn’t
  • Telegram has far more advanced search features (search by media type, by person, by date), WhatsAp just has search by text



Mike Townsend

Healthcare entrepreneur: Founder @goharvey @HomeHero. @Zingplatform (acq. BigCommerce)