This FAQ provides answers to basic questions about Telegram.
Check out our Advanced FAQ for more technical infomation.
Telegram is a messaging app with a focus on speed and security, it’s super fast, simple and free. You can use Telegram on all your devices at the same time — your messages sync seamlessly across any of your phones, tablets or computers.
With Telegram, you can send messages, photos, videos and files of any type (doc, zip, mp3, etc), as well as create groups for up to 200 people. You can write to your phone contacts and find people by their usernames. As a result, Telegram is like SMS and email combined — and can take care of all your personal or business messaging needs.
Telegram is for everyone who wants fast and reliable messaging. Business users and small teams may like the large groups, desktop apps and file sharing options. Since Telegram groups can have up to 200 members, we support replies, mentions and hashtags that help maintain order and keep communication in large communities efficient.
Those looking for extra privacy should check out our advanced settings and rather revolutionary policy. And if you want secrecy, try our device-specific Secret Chats with self-destructing messages, photos and videos — and lock your app with an additional passcode.
Unlike WhatsApp, Telegram is cloud-based and heavily encrypted. As a result, you can access your messages from several devices at once, including tablets and computers, and share an unlimited number of photos, videos and files (doc, zip, mp3, etc) of up to 1,5 GB. 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.
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.
You can use Telegram on smartphones, tablets and even computers. We have apps for iOS (6 and above), Android (2.2 and up) and Windows Phone. You can also use Telegram's web version or install one of our desktop apps for Windows, OSX and Linux.
You can log in to Telegram from as many of your devices as you like — all at the same time. Just use your main mobile phone number to log in everywhere.
Our API is open for developers, should you want to build your own applications for other platforms.
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
We believe in fast and secure messaging that is also 100% free.
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 and add nonessential paid options to break even. But making profits will never be a goal for Telegram.
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:
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.
All Telegram chats and group chats are private territory of their respective participants and we do not process any requests related to them (in case of Secret Chats it's not even technically possible).
But sticker sets and bots on Telegram are publicly available. If you find sticker sets or bots on Telegram that you think are illegal please ping us at email@example.com
Our mission is to provide a secure means of communications everywhere on the planet. In order to be able to do that in places where it is most needed (and also to continue distributing Telegram via AppStore and Google Play), we have to process legitimate requests to take down illegal public content in Telegram (sticker sets, bots). For example, we can take down sticker sets that violate intellectual property rights or porn bots in the countries where pornography is illegal.
User-uploaded stickers sets and bots by third-party developers are not part of core Telegram UI. So whenever we receive a complaint from third parties regarding the legality of this public content at firstname.lastname@example.org, we typically perform necessary legal checks and take it down.
You can write to people, who are in your phone contacts and have Telegram.
You can also select a public username for your Telegram account. Other people will be able to search and find you by that username — and send messages to you even if they don't know your number. You can learn more about usernames here.
Your contacts, who have Telegram, are shown at the top of your Contacts. They also have pictures.
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: https://telegram.org/dl/
Android: Open the app menu (swipe right in chats list) — Invite Friends. Then choose an application via which you would like to send out invitations.
Windows Phone: Go to Contacts — Invite Friends. Then choose an application via which you would like to send out invitations.
You can give your friends a telegram.me link with your username, so that they can easily find you on Telegram even if they don't have your phone number.
One check — message delivered to the Telegram cloud and your friend has been notified, if he allows notifications.
Two checks — message read (your friend opened Telegram and opened the conversation with the message).
We don‘t have a ’delivered to device' status for messages, because Telegram can run on as many devices as you want. So which particular one would that check mean?
iPhone: Start a new message (tap the icon in the top right corner in Chats). Then ‘New Group’.
Android: Tap the circular pencil icon in the chats list. Then ‘New Group’.
Windows Phone: Tap the “+” button on the bottom bar. Then ‘New Group’.
Broadcasts allow you to send the same message to up to 100 of your contacts at once. Unlike in a group, the recipients won't know about each other and will receive the broadcast as an ordinary message from you. Once a broadcast list has been created, it can be re-used to message the same set of contacts again.
To create a broadcast list:
iPhone: Start a new message (tap the icon in the top-right corner in Chats). Then ‘New Broadcast’.
Android: Tap the circular pencil icon in the chats list. Then ‘New Broadcast’.
Windows Phone: Tap the “+” button on the bottom bar. Then ‘New Broadcast’.
You can choose who sees this info in Privacy and Security settings (introduced in Telegram for Android 2.0, and iOS version 2.7.2).
Remember that you won‘t see Last Seen timestamps for people with whom you don’t share your own. You will, however, see an approximate last seen value. This keeps stalkers away, but makes it possible to understand whether a person is reachable over Telegram. There are four possible approximate values:
We specialize in sending messages, large media and files — and we do this better than anyone out there.
We may enable voice calls if we see significant demand in the future. The technology necessary for encrypted calls has indeed been created in our R&D dungeons.
But for now we see many things that could still be revolutionized in messaging. And messaging is obviously trending at the moment, so our focus remains in that area for now.
We support emoji emoticons. Simply enable the emoji keyboard in your iOS device‘s Settings (General – Keyboards – Add New Keyboard… – Emoji). Then switch to that keyboard whenever you’re out of words.
You can set up a public username on Telegram. It then becomes possible for other users to find you by that username — you will appear in contacts search under ‘global results’. Please note that people who find you will be able to send you messages, even if they don't know your number. If you are not comfortable with this, we advise against setting up a username in Telegram.
Usernames and search by username are supported in most of the official apps — you can set up a username in Settings.
Once you've set up a username, you can give people a telegram.me/YourUsernameHere link. Opening that link on their phone will automatically fire up their Telegram app and open a chat with you. You can share username links with friends, write them on business cards or put them up on your website.
This way people can contact you on Telegram without knowing your phone number.
You can use a-z, 0-9 and underscores. Usernames are case-insensitive, but Telegram will store your capitalization preferences (e.g. Telegram and TeleGram is the same user). The username must be at least 5 characters long.
You don‘t have to get one. Remember that Telegram usernames are public and choosing a username on Telegram makes it possible for people to find you in global search and send you messages even if they don’t have your number. If you are not comfortable with this, we advise against setting up a username.
No. Neither party will see another‘s phone number. This is similar to the case when you message a person who you’ve met in a Telegram group.
There is one exception to this: just as in case of all Telegram messages, if you have somebody‘s number saved as a contact and you send them a message, your number also becomes visible to them. Just like with SMS. This happens regardless of how you open the conversation with that person — via the contacts menu, global search by username, telegram.me link, or from a group’s members page.
Go to Settings and save an empty username. This will remove your username, people will no longer be able to find you via search. This will not affect existing conversations.
Telegram usernames are distributed on a first come — first serve basis.
We understand that certain usernames are part of an online identity for some of us. If your desired username is already taken, we will be happy to help you acquire it, provided that you have that same username on at least two of these services: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
Please contact our in-app Support if you have more questions (Settings — Ask a question). Notice that Telegram support is done by volunteers (so please be nice).
If you're a developer, you may also find our Bots FAQ useful.
Creating Telegram bots is super-easy, but you will need at least some skills at computer programming. If you‘re sure you’re up to it, our Introduction for Developers is a good place to start.
Unfortunately, there are no out-of-the-box ways to create a working bot if you are not a developer. But we‘re sure you’ll soon find plenty of bots created by other people to play with.
If you don‘t want a bot to send you messages, feel free to block it – same as you would block a human user. Some Telegram clients have a ’Stop Bot‘ button right in the bot’s profile.
That said, most bot developers offer commands that silence the bot, check its /help for clues.
Yes. Bots are no different from human users that you meet in groups for example. They can see your public name and profile pictures and they can see messages you send to them, that's it. They don't see your phone number (unless you decide to give it to them yourself).
Naturally, any bot should be treated as a stranger — don't give them your passwords, Telegram codes or bank account numbers, even if they ask nicely. Also be careful when opening files sent by bots, same as you would deal with ordinary humans. Example: If a bot sent us a file called OpenMe.exe, we probably shouldn't open it.
Bots can work in two modes when you add them to groups. By default, bots only see messages that are meant for them. In this case, you‘ll see ’has no access to messages' in the group members list next to the bot.
Some bots need more information to work, so developers may disable privacy mode. In this case the bot will see all messages sent to the group and you will see ‘has access to messages’ in the members list next to the bot.
If your group contains very sensitive information, maybe it‘s better to avoid adding bots you don’t trust 100%.
Sorry, we don‘t have any official bots and don’t build them ourselves. We‘ve mentioned a few bots created by the platform’s beta testers in our blog. Maybe you'll like them?
There is no official store at the moment, so you‘ll have to ask your friends or search the web for now. We’re pretty sure you'll find some bots to play with.
If you are an advanced user, you may find our FAQ for the Technically Inclined useful as well.
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 upon time-tested algorithms to make security compatible with high speed delivery and reliability on weak connections. We are continuously working with the community to improve the security of our protocol and clients.
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.
We support two layers of secure encryption. Server-client encryption is used in Cloud Chats (private and group chats), Secret Chats use an additional layer of client-client encryption. All data, regardless of type, is encrypted in the same way — be it text, media or files.
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.
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 (email@example.com).
On top of that, Telegram is a nonprofit messenger, so commercial interests will never interfere with our mission.
See also: articles about Telegram
Comments on Telegram's security outside the scope of the contest are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
Telegram can help when it comes to data transfer and secure communication. This means that all data (including media and files), that you send and receive via Telegram, cannot be deciphered when intercepted by your ISP, network administrator or other third parties.
But please remember that we cannot protect you from your own mother if she takes your phone. Or from your IT-department if they access your computer at work. Or from any other people that get physical or root access to your phones or computers running Telegram.
If you have 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, preferably with a self-destruct timer. And don't root or jailbreak your phone.
Using a rooted or jailbroken device makes it easier for a potential attacker to gain full administrative control over your device — root access.
A user with root access can easily bypass security features built into the operating system, read process memory or access restricted areas, such as the internal storage. Once an attacker has root access, any efforts to mitigate threats become futile. No application can be called safe under these circumstances, no matter how strong the encryption.
Secret chats are meant for people who want more secrecy than the average fella. All messages in secret chats use end-to-end encryption. This means only you and the recipient can read those messages — nobody else can decipher them, including us here at Telegram. Messages cannot be forwarded from secret chats. And when you delete messages on your side of the conversation, the app on the other side of the secret chat will be ordered to delete them as well.
You can order your messages, photos, videos and files to self-destruct in a set amount of time after they have been read or opened by the recipient. The message will then disappear from both your and your friend's devices.
All secret chats in Telegram are device-specific and are not part of the Telegram cloud. This means, you can only access messages in a secret chat from their device of origin.
iOS: Start a new message (tap the icon in the top-right corner in Messages). Then ‘New secret chat’.
Android: Swipe right to open menu, then ‘New secret chat’.
WP: Tap + in the chats list, 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 lose all your secret chats. You can create as many different secret chats with the same contact as you like.
The Self-Destruct Timer is available for Secret Сhats only. To set the timer, simply tap the clock icon (in the input field on iOS, top bar on Android, chat info page on WP), 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 checks). As soon as the time runs out, the message disappears from both devices and leaves no trace.
Photos sent with short self-destruct timers (< 1 minute) can only be viewed while you're holding your finger on them — and we will notify both parties whenever a screenshot is taken.
Please note that the timer only applies to messages that are sent after the timer was set. It has no effect on earlier messages.
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.
Always compare pictures using a channel that is known to be secure — it's safest if you do this in person, when meeting offline in the real world out there.
While all Telegram messages are always securely encrypted, messages in Secret Chats use client-client encryption, while cloud chats use client-server/server-client encryption and are stored securely encrypted in the Telegram Cloud (more here). This enables your cloud messages to be both secure and immediately accessible from any of your devices, you can also easily find them using server search — which is very useful at times.
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. This allows Telegram to be widely adopted in broad circles, not just by activists and dissidents, so that the simple fact of using Telegram does not mark users as targets for heightened surveillance in certain countries.
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.
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.
Sure. Check this out.
One is our native OSX app, the other is the OSX version of our multiplatform client— Telegram Desktop. Both are official. Both started out as unofficial apps by two different developers and vary in design and functionality.
The OSX app features native OSX design and supports secret chats. Telegram Desktop is optimized for photo and document sharing, as well as sending long text messages. Try both and pick one that suits your day-to-day Telegram usage best.
Telegram is officially available in English, Spanish, German, Dutch, Italian, Arabic and Portuguese on all platforms.
We are gradually expanding the list of official languages built into the apps, but there are other options as well. Telegram apps support external language packs. The .xml files for the Android app and Localizable.strings files for iOS 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 via Telegram (attached as ‘file’), download it, then tap on it to see the menu (on Android: tap on … in the upper right corner of the doc bubble) 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.
If you want to join our translation teams, please check out this page first:
Style guide for Telegram translators
Yes, we are always looking for volunteers to help us with user support, since we are not a commercial organization. If you would be interested in answering questions about Telegram to users from your country, contact Markus Ra on Telegram (just add the number +4242 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.
Remember, that you can use Telegram on as many devices at the same time, as you like. If you log out, you don't lose your cloud messages. However, you will lose all your Secret Chats and all messages inside them when you log out. Note that logging out doesn‘t trigger remote deletion of your secret chat messages on your partner’s device — to do that, choose ‘clear history’ first.
iPhone: Go to Settings, then Edit, then Log out.
Android, Windows Phone: Go to Settings, then Log out.
You can change your number in Telegram and keep everything, including all your contacts, messages and media from the Telegram cloud, as well as all your Secret Chats on all devices.
Your mutual contacts (people in your contacts, who also have your number) will get your new number added to your contact in their address book unless you have blocked them in Telegram. This makes changing numbers even easier.
To change your number, go to Settings, then tap on your phone number (just above the username), then ‘Change Number’. If you already have a different Telegram account on the target number, you'll need to delete that account first.
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 recommend using a non-mobile browser for this process.
Note that you'll receive the code via Telegram and not an SMS.
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.
Telegram is not a commercial organization and we value our disk space greatly. If you stop using Telegram and do not login for at least 6 months, your account will be deleted along with all messages, media, contacts and every other piece of data you store in the Telegram cloud. You can change the exact period after which your inactive account will self-destruct in Settings.
This feature was introduced on November 19, 2014. Since the default self-destruct setting for Telegram accounts is 6 months, accounts that have last been active before November 19, 2014 have begun self-destructing on May 19, 2015. This is a slow process, but they will all be gone soon.
First of all, sorry about your phone. Unfortunately, the phone number is the only way for us to identify a Telegram user at the moment. We don‘t collect additional information about you, so whoever has the number, has the account. This means we can’t really help you, unless you have access either to the phone number or to Telegram itself on any of your devices.
Common thieves usually throw out the SIM card immediately (the phone is harder to locate this way), then they wipe the devices and sell them, so there isn't much risk for the data in case of regular petty theft. But if you have reasons to worry about the data on the device and are unable to log out the other device, it is best that you wipe it remotely. You can read more about it here: Apple iOS, Android. Unfortunately this requires you to have prepared in advance for this scenario.
You can delete your Telegram account if you are logged in on at least one of your other devices (mobile or desktop). Note that inactive Telegram accounts self-destruct automatically after a period of time — 6 months being the default setting.
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.
We currently have two types of notifications on Android: GCM and our own custom notification service that is independent from Google. Note that Google notifications (GCM) just won‘t work properly on some Android devices. The Telegram notification service is reliable, but requires additional battery resources. It doesn’t and shouldn't take much though, so please report all drastic battery-draining cases immediately.
If you know your friends have Telegram, but you can't see them — or they appear as numbers instead of names.
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.
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.
If you have any other questions, do contact Telegram Support (in Telegram go to Settings — Ask a question). Please note that support is done by volunteers.
If you can't log in to your account, please use this form.
Yessir. Follow us! @telegram
Our twitter account in Spanish: @telegram_es
In Italian: @telegram_it
In Korean: @Telegram_kr
For users from Brazil: @Telegram_br
Our Arabic-speaking users may find @telegram_arabic more interesting.
Facebook seems to have taken down our page for no apparent reason. We're trying to figure out what happened and how to take it back. (This was the address, in case you were curious: https://www.facebook.com/tlgrm). So for now, if anyone on Facebook is telling you they're us, they are not.