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Why is Telegram Not As Popular As WhatsApp?

Telegram and WhatsApp are two of the most popular real-time instant messaging apps. Have you ever thought; Why Telegram is not as popular as WhatsApp? The majority of us use WhatsApp for messages, video calls, and data transfer but not Telegram. Have you ever wondered why? 

Let’s have a closer look at both apps and get to a conclusion. In this article, we will be covering the following :


  • A Brief history – WhatsApp and Telegram
  • Why is Telegram not as popular as WhatsApp? 
  • Some unique features of Telegram make It better than WhatsApp.

A brief history – of WhatsApp and Telegram

  • WhatsApp: WhatsApp is a cross-platform centralized instant messaging app, developed in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum when they noticed a need for a real-time instant messaging application in the market. Facebook acquired the company in the year 2014 for $19 billion. 
  • Telegram: Launched in 2013 in Russia by Nikolai and Pavel Durov. It is a cloud-based instant messaging application. We will discuss Telegram more later in this article.

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Both apps have end-to-end encryption, which keeps the data secured. End-to-end encryption is a technique in data cryptography, where data sent gets scattered, and nobody other than the sender-receiver would be able to read it.  

Fun Fact: In 2015, Brazil banned WhatsApp, and Telegram got 5 million users in 48 hours 

Here, let’s discuss why Telegram is not quite popular as Whatsapp:

  • WhatsApp pioneered the instant messaging concept, so when Telegram was introduced in 2013, it was considered a copy. This gave WhatsApp the first-mover advantage and it was already well adapted by the people. 
  • The easy-to-use concept of WhatsApp was a hit among its users. Users were used to a simple message exchanging concept, which Telegram lacked (at least for some age groups). Whereas, Telegram had more technical features, making it more complex.
  • WhatsApp development focused on a general audience with or without educational background and also considered all age groups. In contrast, Telegram development was intended for a specific user group.
  • WhatsApp introduced a new concept called business accounts. Through these companies can create business accounts and connect with their WhatsApp Clients.
  • Both applications have picture-in-picture stickers.

These are the reasons why Telegram is not as famous as WhatsApp.

Fun fact: WhatsApp has around 2 billion users as per the 2020 report 

Some unique features of Telegram which make it better than WhatsApp

Telegram has come a long way in making itself a competitor to WhatsApp. Competing with the market giant, Telegram tried various ideas to rise among other messaging applications. 

Let’s check it out. 

  • Secret chat: One of the main USPs of Telegram, the user can fix a time, after which the sent messages will be deleted on its own. Amazing, isn’t it!! A notification would be sent to the user if screenshots were taken, and also, a secret chat can’t be forwarded
  • BOTs: Bot is a unique feature of Telegram, a program built on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning that can perform various tasks. For e.g., an Image bot can fetch images from names such as @pic/bing, @gif.
  • Chat folders: We may be part of many groups or individual chats in Telegram. All these groups and chats on a single page can make it look shabby, and hard to search. Telegram came up with a new idea called a Chat folder. It can give your main page a more organized look. We can label these chats as per their purpose, like personal, official, family, and friends, and move chats into those folders. How cool is that?!
    • How to create a folder: Go to setting -> folders. Name your folder based on its purpose. So simple isn’t it?! 
  • Add people: A Unique feature Telegram introduced, users can add people into a group or initiate a nearby chat without even sharing their mobile number. This is purely based on your location. This is useful when you are at a carnival, conference, or festival. 
    • How can we add nearby people: Open contacts in Telegram, and you can find an option “add people nearby. “ Nearby telegram users would appear on the screen and add them. Telegram simplified the process earlier, and the user has to keep the screen open and have to turn on “make me visible.” Now it is simple and convenient.
  • Edit messages: Yes, you hear it right. You can edit and send messages on Telegram. So Tata to all those typos. For editing, simply click on the pen near the SMS, make the necessary changes, and send it again. The edited SMS will show edited on top, and make sure you make changes within 48 hours.
  • Schedule messages: Similar to scheduled emails, you can schedule to send messages by date and time.
  • Delete SMS for the sender: This is an ultimate privacy tool. The user can delete SMS on his phone as well as the receiver’s phone. Simply click on delete SMS, and click the checkbox “also delete for x.” That is cool, right?
  • Media compressing: Large data can be compressed and sent across. 
  • Multiple devices can be logged in to the same account. 
  • Telegram does have the option to schedule media deletion. Similar to deleting SMS, the user can delete any media that has been already sent. 
  • Users can share up to 1.5GB of data/media files through Telegram.
  • No upper limit for members in groups, unlike WhatsApp. 
  • You can perform group video calls through telegrams.  
  • There is a built-in setting to increase the UI to 200%, which would enable the user to use a 4k screen.
  • Since the pandemic, most of the users have used the platform for movie sharing. 

Fun fact: whenever WhatsApp goes down, Telegram users increase by 5 million.

Wrapping up

WhatsApp does have way more users than Telegram, and each user has their own reason for choosing the platform. Some may choose WhatsApp because it was introduced first in the market, and people got attached to it, some chose it because of its easy user interface. But it lacks huge storage space and limited file transfer.

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Whereas in Telegram, the user base is less, they have a huge storage, unlimited group members, and huge file transfer. So what to choose among these platforms is purely based on your preference and need of the hour. Hope this article was informative to you.  

Thazni Siar
Mother of twins, Thazni likes to write even amid all the chaos, hailing from the rice barrel of Kerala - Palakkad. She believes in the “keep it simple” kind of writing, palatable to all age groups. She completed her B.Tech in Electronics and Communication due to her love for Electronic Devices and Technology in general. She is now hoping to find a parallel career in content writing.


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