WhatsApp has been the top dog among messenger services for years. But the competition is growing. The most attractive alternatives include Signal and Telegram. Find out the differences between the two alternatives in this practical tip.
Telegram is a free messenger service that is also suitable for tech companies and startups due to its high functionality. Users can send data packages of up to 1.5 GB in the cloud-based messenger. You can find Telegram for Android and Telegram for iOS in our download section.
- Features: Telegram scores with a wide range of features. Besides the obligatory messenger chat function, users can record audio and video messages and send them to their contacts. Voice calls can also be made.
- Moreover, you can send large amounts of data in the form of documents, pictures, graphics or videos. The only flaw is that video calls are not supported by Telegram.
- Unusually, you can chat with up to 1,000 contacts in a group as a Telegram user.
- Data storage: Telegram stores all uploaded files in a cloud. This allows you to use the data on any device on which you have Telegram installed. Disadvantage: The messenger service thus stores all content on the Telegram servers. After a certain time, however, the data is automatically deleted.
- Encryption: The messages are encrypted on Telegram. The “normal” cloud chats have client-server/server-client encryption.
- The so-called “secret chats”, on the other hand, are end-to-end encrypted. Contacts stored on the smartphone are therefore not read by Telegram. However, you have to activate this secret mode first.
- Prerequisite: You cannot register with Telegram without a phone number. It does not matter whether the number is your current cell phone number or a landline number.
- Availability: Telegram can be used both as an app and as a desktop version on a laptop or PC (Windows, MacOS, Linux). The free app is available for Android and iOS.
Signal: Secure messenger with end-to-end encryption
The free messenger Signal is open source. This means that the code used is public and can be changed if necessary. The messenger has prominent supporters: privacy activist Edward Snowden says he uses Signal every day.
- Range of functions: Signal offers all the usual Messenger functions – from sending text messages and voice messages to audio and video calls.
- You can also send files such as documents, photos or videos via Signal. In a group, you can also chat with several people at the same time. There is no cloud storage like on Telegram.
- Data storage: Signal is considered a very secure messenger that complies with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Messages and files are automatically deleted after a certain time.
- One drawback: Signal reads the contacts stored on your smartphone. But the contacts are only used in the app and not stored on the Signal servers.
- Encryption: All communication via Signal is end-to-end encrypted. Thus, only the parties involved in a chat can decrypt the sent messages, i.e. read them. Phone calls are supposed to be tap-proof via Signal.
- This works with a unique security number assigned to each conversation, whether chat or call. Thus, Signal is suitable for sensitive communication.
- Requirements: To use Signal, you need to provide a phone number from a device that can be used to receive SMS – in fact, verification during registration is done via SMS. Android smartphones must have at least Android 4.4 installed.
- Availability: Signal can be used as an app for Android and Apple smartphones, and as a desktop version on laptop and PC.