Since 2013, we've been expanding the definition of Group Chats, adding features like replies, mentions, polls, admin tools, statistics – and allowing hundreds of thousands of members per group. Many of these features were later incorporated into other apps and redefined how people communicate.
Today, Telegram groups get an entire new dimension with Voice Chats – persistent conference calls that members can join and leave as they please. Our 12th update in 2020 brings them to you just in time for remote Christmas carols.
Any Telegram group can now become a voice chat room that is always on. Voice Chats run in parallel to existing text and media-based communication, adding a live layer of ephemeral talk to the group. They can be used as virtual office spaces for teams or informal lounges for any community.
While Voice Chats are not group calls, they can achieve similar goals – at the same time offering flexibility instead of old school scheduling. In larger groups, they also provide serendipitous opportunities for talking to people.
Groups with active voice chats have a special bar at the top that shows who is talking at the moment (and even how loud they are). This can help you pick the right moment to join – like noticing your friends going over to the cooler.
After joining a voice chat, you are free to move around the app, browse conversations and send messages. You stay connected to the chat and the microphone controls remain on screen so that you can quickly mute and unmute yourself at any time.
If you're on Android, you can enjoy the full Voice Chat experience with a system-wide floating widget that shows your mic controls and who is currently talking, even when Telegram is in the background. Santa is on Android too – and he needs his sleigh navigator open at all times.
You can chat with whomever is online or invite more people via the handy menu. Voice Chats can accommodate a few thousand participants, which means they'll work for everything from consulting family members while out shopping to a massive live event.
Last but not least, Voice Chats show spectacular animations. To get these right, our designer had to sell his soul to the devil – and we think it was totally worth it.
To create a Voice Chat and find your own unique way of using them, open the profile of any group where you're an admin, tap (⋯) or (⋮) and select Start Voice Chat.
Like Telegram groups before them, we hope that Voice Chats will change the way people collaborate and keep in touch. In the coming weeks, we'll be refining them further, listening to your feedback, improving noise suppression, and adding more features like video and screen sharing.
On Telegram Desktop and in the native macOS app, you can choose a push-to-talk key for Voice Chats, to control your mic even when Telegram is not focused. At long last, we've found a use for your Caps Lock key.
Animated stickers on Telegram are optimized for efficiency and deliver smooth 180 frame animations with infinite resolution in less than 50 KB.
With today's update, stickers will load even faster than before – and show a shimmering outline of what you're about to see. Be careful not to blink though, or you'll miss it.
Users on Android devices can now move their Telegram app data from internal storage to their SD card, allowing those with minimal storage to save more media and files and maximize their Telegram experience.
Remember that you can always keep Telegram's storage footprint on your device incredibly small. See Settings > Data and Storage > Storage Usage.
We've added slick new animations throughout the Android app – when tapping the New Message button, opening profiles, managing chat folders and anywhere you see message counters.
If you're still on iOS, you can have Siri read incoming messages aloud in your headphones. Open iOS Settings > Notifications > Announce Messages and set Telegram to ON to stay up to date on your chats even while washing the dishes.
Android users can now quickly edit a photo which they've already sent to add effects, drawings or stickers with our powerful media editor. iOS users can tap the pen button to quickly edit and send back a photo they have received.
Each of these features was previously available only on one of the platforms, but now both iOS and Android offer equal opportunities for drawing moustaches on selfies.
When editing a message or caption, as you approach the maximum message length, a counter will appear showing how many remaining characters you have lef
No update is complete without even more animated emoji. As usual, simply send a message with a single emoji to get one of these in a chat.
There's a story in there somewhere about a cyber cowboy solving a murder mystery.
Many Telegram features started out as user suggestions. To help identify potential new features and locate bugs within the app, we're launching a public Bug and Suggestion Platform.
We'll be rolling out the ability to suggest new features and report bugs gradually to make sure each submission gets the attention it deserves. All Telegram users are already welcome to view existing entries and vote on them.
And that's all for today, we'll see you in 2021 or once we're done building the next big thing – whichever comes first.
December 23, 2020
The Telegram Team
P.S. The end of the year is normally a time to look back at the past 12 months. Instead, our founder Pavel Durov has just announced his strategy for making Telegram sustainable, to continue providing you with great features for decades to come.