Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ provides answers to basic questions about Telegram.
Check out our Advanced FAQ for more technical infomation.

General

Telegram Basics

Security

Secret Chats

Deeper questions

Other

Troubleshooting

Contact Telegram Support
Follow Us on Twitter
Advanced FAQ


General Questions

Q: What is Telegram? What do I do here?

Telegram is like SMS and email combined — fast, versatile and powerful. You can send messages, photos, videos and files of any type (doc, zip, mp3, etc) to people who are in your phone contacts and have Telegram. You can also create groups for up to 200 people. With Telegram you can do all of this on any number of your devices, both mobile and desktop.

Q: How is Telegram different from WhatsApp?

Unlike WhatsApp, Telegram is cloud-based and heavily encrypted. As a result, you can access your messages from several devices (including desktops!) and share an unlimited number of photos, videos and files (doc, zip, mp3, etc). Thanks to our multi-data center infrastructure and encryption, Telegram is also faster and way more secure. On top of that, Telegram is free and will stay free — no ads, no subscription fees, forever.

Q: Who are the people behind Telegram?

Telegram is supported by Pavel and Nikolai Durov. Pavel supports Telegram financially and ideologically, while Nikolai's input is technological. To make Telegram possible, Nikolai developed a unique custom data protocol, which is open, secure and optimized for work with multiple data-centers. As a result, Telegram combines security, reliability and speed on any network.

While the Durov brothers were born in Russia, as were some of the key developers, Telegram is not connected to Russia – legally or physically. Telegram's HQ is in Berlin.

See also: articles about Telegram

Q: Will you have ads? Or sell my data? Or steal my wife and enslave my children?

No.

Q: How are you going to make money out of this?

We believe in fast and secure messaging that is also 100% free.

Commercial companies frequently face the need to compromise their values for financial gain. This is why we made Telegram a non-commercial project. Telegram is not intended to bring revenue, it will never sell ads or accept outside investment. It also cannot be sold. We're not building a “user base”, we are building a messenger for the people.

Pavel Durov, who shares our vision, supplied Telegram with a generous donation through his Digital Fortress fund, so we have quite enough money for the time being. If Telegram runs out, we'll invite our users to donate or add non-essential paid options.

Q: What are your thoughts on internet privacy?

Big internet companies like Facebook or Google have effectively hijacked the privacy discourse in the recent years. Their marketers managed to convince the public that the most important things about privacy are superficial tools that allow hiding your online status, your public posts or your profile pictures from the people around you. Adding these superficial tools allows companies to calm down the public and change nothing in how they are turning over private data to marketers and other third parties.

At Telegram we think that the two most important components of internet privacy should be instead:

  1. Protecting your private conversations from snooping third parties, such as officials, employers, etc.
  2. Protecting your personal data from third parties, such as marketers, advertisers, etc.

This is what everybody should care about, and these are some of our top priorities. Telegram is a non-commercial project with an aim to create a truly free messenger, without the usual caveats. This means that instead of diverting attention with low-impact settings, we can afford to focus on the real privacy issues that exist in the modern world.

Q: How old is Telegram?

Telegram for iPhone was launched on August 14, 2013. The alpha version of Telegram for Android was officially launched on October 20, 2013. More and more Telegram clients appear, built by independent developers using Telegram's open platform.

Q: Which devices are supported?

Telegram is currently available for iPhones (iOS 6 and above) and Androids (2.2 and up). We support tablets and smartphones alike, as well as iPods (we don't have a dedicated iPad app yet, but Telegram works well on iPads too). There are also unofficial clients, including a web version and desktop apps.

We also have an open API for developers, should you want to build your own applications for other platforms. In the meantime, get your best friends to switch back to iPhones and Androids and use desktop computers.

Telegram Basics

Q: Who can I write to?

You can write to people, who are in your phone contacts and have Telegram. You can also write to whoever sends you a message and to people with whom you are in the same group, even if you don't know their numbers.

Q: How do I know, who in my contacts has Telegram?

Your contacts, who have Telegram, are shown at the top of your Contacts. They also have pictures.

Q: How do I invite my friends?

iPhone: The basic invitations are simple SMS messages. They will be charged as standard outgoing SMS by your carrier (unless sent via iMessage). Naturally, you have other options to bring your friends here. Try sending them a download link via any other messaging service: email, Facebook, WhatsApp, an actual telegram — you name it. The link: http:/telegram.org/dl/

Android: Go to Contacts — Invite Friends. Then choose an application via which you would like to send out invitations.

Q: Can I hide my ‘last seen’ time or ‘online’ status?

Not at the moment. We don’t have an ‘invisible’ mode, but we may add it in the future.

Q: What do the green ticks mean?

One tick — message sent (and is on our server, waiting for your friend to open Telegram), notification sent (your friend is notified, if he receives notifications).
Two ticks — message read (your friend opened Telegram and opened the conversation that had the message).

Q: How do I create a group?

iPhone: Start a new message (tap the icon in the top-right corner in Messages). Then ‘New Group’.
Android: Tap the … icon in the top-right corner. Then ‘New Group’.

Security

If you are an advanced user, you may find our FAQ for the Technically Inclined useful as well.

Q: How secure is Telegram?

Telegram is more secure than mass market messengers like WhatsApp and Line. We are based on the MTProto protocol (see description and advanced FAQ), built employing time-tested algorithms to make security compatible with high speed delivery and reliability. We are continuously working with the community to improve the security of our protocol and clients.

Q: What if I’m more paranoid than your regular user?

We've got you covered. Telegram’s special secret chats use end-to-end encryption, leave no trace on our servers, support self-destructing messages and don’t allow forwarding. About the only thing secret chats don’t have is cloud storage — they can only be accessed on their devices of origin.

Q: Get technical already!

Ok, you asked for it. We support two layers of secure encryption (server-client and client-client). Our encryption is based on 256-bit symmetric AES encryption, RSA 2048 encryption and Diffie–Hellman secure key exchange. You can find more info in the Advanced FAQ.

Q: Do I need to trust Telegram for this to be secure?

When it comes to secret chats, you don‘t — just make sure that the visualized key of your secret chat matches the one in your friend’s secret chat settings. More about this below.

Q: What if my hacker friend says they could decipher Telegram messages?

Anyone who claims that Telegram messages can be deciphered is welcome to prove that claim in our competition and win $200,000. You can check out the Contest FAQ to learn more.

Comments on Telegram's security outside the scope of the contest are welcome at security@telegram.org

Q: Can Telegram protect me against everything?

Telegram can help when it comes to data transfer and secure communication. But please remember that we cannot protect you from your own mother — or any other people that get physical access to your phone.

If you have serious reasons to worry about your personal security, we strongly recommend using only Secret Chats in official or at least verifiable open-source apps for sensitive information.

Secret Chats

Q: How are secret chats different?

Secret chats are meant for people who really want secure messaging. All messages in secret chats use end-to-end encryption. This means only you and the recipient can read those messages — nobody can decipher or intercept them, including us here at Telegram. Messages cannot be forwarded from secret chats. You can also order your messages to self-destruct in a set amount of time after they have been read by the recipient. The message will then disappear from both your and your friend's devices.

One last difference between secret and ordinary chats in Telegram is that secret chats are not stored in our cloud. This means you can only access messages in a secret chat on their device of origin.

Q: How do I start a secret chat?

Start a new message (tap the icon in the top-right corner in Messages). Then ‘New secret chat’.

Remember that secret chats are device-specific. If you start a secret chat with a friend on one of your devices, this chat will only be available on that device. If you log out, you will also loose all your secret chats. You can create as many different chats with the same contact as you like.

Q: How do self-destructing messages work?

The Self-Destruct Timer in available for Secret Сhats. To set the timer, go to Secret Chat Info (tap the small picture in the top-right corner of the chat screen), then Set Self-Destruct Timer to a desired time limit. The timer is applied to a message the moment it is displayed on the recipient's screen (two green ticks). As soon as the time runs out, the message disappears from both devices and leaves no trace.

Please note that the timer only applies to messages that are sent after the timer was set. It has no effect on earlier messages.

Q: What‘s this ’Encryption Key' thing?

When a secret chat is created, the participating devices exchange encryption keys using the so called Diffie-Hellman key exchange. After the secure end-to-end connection has been established, we generate a picture that visualizes the encryption key for your chat. You can then compare this image with the one your friend has — if the two images are the same, you can be sure that the secret chat is secure and no man-in-the-middle attack can possibly succeed.

Q: Why not just make all chats ‘secret’?

The idea behind Telegram is to bring something more secure to the masses, who understand nothing about security and want none of it. Being merely secure is not enough to achieve this — you also need to be fast, powerful and user friendly. Telegram is a secure and powerful alternative to mass market messengers and a fast and user-friendly alternative to secure messengers. Hence the two types of chats that we have: ordinary chats and Secret Chats.

The important thing to remember is that all Telegram messages are always securely encrypted. The difference between messages in Secret Chats and ordinary Telegram messages is in the encryption type: client-client in case of Secret Chats, client-server/server-client for ordinary chats. This enables your ordinary Telegram messages to be both secure and available in the cloud so that you can access them from any of your devices — which is very useful at times.

Deeper questions

Q: Why should I trust you?

Telegram is open, anyone can check our source code, protocol and API, see how everything works and make an informed decision. In fact, we welcome security experts to audit our system and would appreciate any feedback (security@telegram.org).

On top of that, Telegram is a nonprofit messenger, so commercial interests will never interfere with our mission.

See also: articles about Telegram

Q: Why not open source everything?

All code will be released eventually. We started with the most useful parts — a well-documented API that allows developers to build new Telegram apps, and open source clients that can be verified by security specialists.

Q: Can I run Telegram using my own server?

Our architecture does not support federation yet. Telegram is a unified cloud service, so creating forks where two users might end up on two different Telegram clouds is unacceptable. To enable you to run your own Telegram server while retaining both speed and security is a task in itself. At the moment we are undecided on whether or not Telegram should go in this direction.

Q: Can I use the Telegram API?

Yes. Developers for all platforms are welcome to use our protocol, API and even source code. Check out the Getting started section of the docs.

Q: Do you have a Privacy Policy?

Sure. Check this out.

Q: Can I translate Telegram?

Telegram is officially available in English, Spanish, German and Arabic on all platforms. The Android version now also supports Dutch and Italian (coming soon to iOS).

We are gradually expanding the list of official languages built into the apps, but there are other options as well. Telegram apps (Android 1.4.9 and up, coming soon to iOS) support external language packs. The .xml files for the Android app can be downloaded from this Transifex page. Of course, you can also change the language files in any way you like and thus create your own personal Telegram localization.

To apply an external language pack, send (or receive) the file as a document via Telegram, download it, then tap next to it to see the menu (tap next to the file, not on the file itself) then select ‘apply localization file’. You will see a language selection menu with the language from the file as one of the options. Yes, this is damn tricky, we'll simplify the process in the next versions.

Q: Can I help?

Yes, we are not a commercial organization, so we are looking for volunteers to help us with user support. If you would be interested in answering questions about Telegram to users from your country, contact Markus Ra on Telegram (just add the number +42 to your phone contacts and you should be able to see me).

Before you write to Markus, please check out the Telegram Support Initiative.
And no — he didn't create Telegram. He just wrote this FAQ.

Other Features

Q: How can I use emoticons in Telegram on my iPhone?

We support emoji emoticons. Simply enable the emoji keyboard in your iDevice‘s Settings (General – Keyboards – Add New Keyboard… – Emoji). Then switch to that keyboard whenever you’re out of words.

Q: Can I make calls or video calls via Telegram?

We are not working on these features at the moment.

Q: What happens if I change my phone number?

Each new phone number is a new Telegram account. So if you change your phone number, you won't be able to access your messages until you relogin. We may add some features later that would let you use multiple numbers, but for now it is not possible.

Q: How do I log out?

iPhone: Go to Settings, then Edit, then Log out.
Android: Go to Settings, then Log out.

Remember, that you can use Telegram on multiple devices. If you log out, you don't lose your messages.

Q: Can I delete my account?

If you would like to delete your account, you can do this on the deactivation page. Deleting your account permanently removes all your messages, groups and contacts. This action must be confirmed via your Telegram account and cannot be undone.

We are still working on our apps and will provide additional migration options in future.

Q: What happens if I delete my account?

As was just mentioned above, all your data will be flushed from our system: all messages, groups and contacts associated with your account will be deleted. That said, your contacts will still be able to chat in the groups that you have created and they will still have their copy of the messages you sent them. So if you want to send messages that can vanish without a trace, try using our self-destruct timer instead.

Termination of a Telegram account is irreversible. If you sign up again, you will appear as a new user and will not get your history or contacts back. People, who have your phone number in their contacts, will be notified. The new user will be a separate conversation in their messages list and their conversation history with this new user will be empty.

Q: How is the S-edition for Android different?

We ran a contest for Android developers, and two guys reached the finals. The N-edition won — it is now the official app for Android and is just called Telegram. The S-edition scored second and became an unofficial client.

The two developers had the same task and were offered identical design templates, so the distictions are not very dramatic. But both versions are being developed, and the S-edition sometimes introduces experimental features earlier — like animated .gif support, for example.

Troubleshooting

Login and SMS

Please make sure you are entering your mobile phone number in the international format. I.e.: +(country code)(city or carrier code)(your number).

If you are having registration or login problems, please contact us using this form.

Notification problems

iPhone:

  1. Go to Telegram Settings — Notifications and Sounds, make sure that notifications are ON in Telegram.
  2. Check that notifications are ON in phone Settings.
  3. Check, whether contact or group is muted.
  4. Shut down Telegram (go to home screen, hold home button, kill Telegram (swipe upwards), then go to phone settings, set alert style for Telegram to NONE. Relaunch Telegram, go to phone settings, set alert style back to banners.

Android:

  1. Go to Telegram Settings — Notifications and Sounds, make sure that notifications are ON.
  2. Check, whether contact or group is muted.
  3. If you are also using a different edition of Telegram (Official and the S-Edition), make sure that notifications are enabled in both versions.
  4. Make sure Google Play Services are installed on your phone.

No sound in notifications on Android:

  1. Go to Telegram Settings — Notifications and Sounds, make sure that sounds are ON.
  2. Make sure Google Play Services are installed on your phone.

Problems with contacts

If you know your friends have Telegram, but you can't see them.

iPhone:

  1. Temporarily change the name of the contact in phone contacts (add a few symbols, then change back again).
  2. If that doesn’t work, relogin: Settings – Edit – Log Out. Remember that logging out kills all your Secret Chats. Then log in again.

Android:

  1. Make sure you are using the latest version of the app.
  2. Relaunch the app (by terminating it from processes list and launching again).
  3. Temporarily change the name of the contact in phone contacts (add a few symbols, then change back again).
  4. Try to relogin.

Where did my Secret Chat messages go?

Secret Chats are established between the two devices they were created on. This means that all those messages are not available in the cloud and cannot be accessed on other devices.

Moreover, Secret Chats are also tied to your current login session on the device. If you log out and in again, you will lose all your Secret Chats.

Can't send photos or set profile pictures — iPhone

Please make sure Telegram has access to your Photos.
Go to your iPhone's Settings — Privacy, then find Telegram in the list and set in to ON.


Telegram Support

If you have any other questions, do contact Telegram Support (in Telegram go to Settings — Ask a question). If you can't log in to your account, please use this form.

Twitter?

Yessir. Follow us! @telegram
Our twitter account in Spanish: @telegram_es
Our Arabic-speaking users may find @telegram_arabic more interesting.