- Telegram offers plenty of features in its highly secure messaging app with end-to-end encryption.
- Whether you want to enhance security with a passcode to view chats or to edit sent messages, there are a lot of things to do with this app.
- Here are 13 of the best hidden features in Telegram you should know about.
You probably know that Telegram is a security-conscious messaging app that offers end-to-end encryption for text messaging, voice and video calling, as well as file sharing. And while it’s a simple and easy-to-use app, there are a slew of handy features you might not know about, hiding just under the surface. Here are 13 of the best “hidden” features in Telegram you should know about.
Lock your chats
Telegram is designed to be a fundamentally secure messaging platform, but end-to-end encryption isn’t especially helpful if someone gets physical access to your phone. That’s why the app allows you to secure your chats with a passcode and biometric security.
If you have an iPhone, start the Telegram app and tap the Settings tab at the bottom of the screen. Tap Privacy and Security, then Passcode & Face ID. Follow the instructions to lock the app with a code or Face ID.
On an Android device, start the Telegram app and tap the three-line menu at the top of the screen. Tap Settings. In the Settings section, tap Privacy and Security. Finally, in the Security section, tap Passcode Lock and set up your passcode.
Adjust the deadman switch on your account
You might be unaware that Telegram applies a sort of virtual deadman switch to your account — don’t use the service in a long time, and your account is automatically deleted. You can adjust that time frame from a month to a year.
On an iPhone, start Telegram and tap the Settings tab at the bottom of the screen. Tap Privacy and Security. In the Automatically Delete My Account section, tap If Away For and choose a time frame.
On an Android device, start the Telegram app and tap the three-line menu at the top of the screen. Tap Settings. In the Settings section, tap Privacy and Security. Then scroll down to the Delete my account section and tap If away for. Adjust the time frame from a month to a year.
Use multiple Telegram accounts
You can actively use more than one Telegram account and switch among them on your phone.
On an iPhone, start Telegram and tap the Settings tab at the bottom of the screen.To add a new account, tap Add Account and follow the directions to add the account to this phone. After it’s added, you can return here and find a list of the additional accounts; tap one to instantly switch to it.
If you’re using an Android phone, the process is similar. Start the Telegram app and tap the three-line menu at the top of the screen. To add a new account, select the downward-facing arrow to the right of your name and number, tap Add Account and follow the directions to add the account to this phone. After it’s added, you can return to the pop-out side menu to find the additional accounts and to switch among them.
Edit a message you’ve already sent
Telegram allows you to edit a chat message even after it has been sent. The change appears immediately on the recipient’s phone (but the recipient can tell it has been edited).
To edit a sent message on the iPhone, tap and hold the message you want to change and then tap Edit in the pop-up menu. Make your changes and tap the checkmark.
On Android, tap and hold the message you want to edit, then tap the pencil-shaped Edit icon at the top of the screen. Make your changes and tap the checkmark.
Delete a message from the recipient’s inbox
Not only can you edit a message, you can delete it entirely. It’ll disappear from your phone as well as the recipient’s, with no sign it ever existed.
To delete a sent message on an iPhone, tap and hold the message you want to change and then tap Delete in the pop-up menu. In the next pop-up menu, choose whether to delete it just for yourself or for you and the other person.
On Android, tap and hold the message you want to delete, then tap the trash can-shaped Delete icon at the top of the screen. In the pop-up window, select Also delete for [the recipient] and tap Delete.
Copy part of a message
Often, someone will message you with something you’d like to cut and paste elsewhere — but you don’t want the entire message, just a small section of it. That’s not a problem because you can easily copy just a selection within a message. Tap and hold the message with the text you want to copy. Then, after a moment, tap and hold the part of the message you’re interested in. When you see the selection brackets appear, you can drag them around to select the message and then tap Copy.
Schedule a message for later
You don’t have to send a message immediately. If you want it to arrive at a specific time, type the message in the chat window like you usually would. Then tap and hold the Send button and, in the pop-up menu, choose Schedule Message. Pick the date and time, then tap the Send button, which will tell you exactly when the message will be sent.
Send a message silently
There’s another way to send a message: silently. When you send a message silently, it won’t notify the recipient, acting like a sort of ad-hoc do not disturb mode. To do that, type the message in the chat window like you usually would. Then tap and hold the Send button and, in the pop-up menu, choose Send Without Sound.
Self-destruct an image
Telegram lets you share photos and videos with a self-destruct timer. You can specify how long the image lives in the recipient’s chat window (up to one minute). The timer starts the first time they view it, and automatically gets deleted when the counter runs out. Add an image or video in the chat window the way you usually would, using the Attachment icon. When you’re ready to send it, tap and hold the Send button and, in the pop-up menu, choose Send With Timer. (On Android, the Self-Destruct Timer is directly to the left of the Send button.) Choose the time you want the image to be visible, and then tap Send With Timer.
Sort messages into folders
Your email app doesn’t dump all your messages in a single giant folder (unless you happen to keep all your messages in the inbox, but if so, that’s your own fault) and your messaging app shouldn’t do it either. Telegram lets you create multiple folders and organize which go where according to criteria like chats and contacts.
On an iPhone, start Telegram and tap the Settings tab at the bottom of the screen.Tap Chat Folders, where you can tap Create New Folder or choose an existing folder to customize it. Once created, you can switch among folders using tabs at the top of the chat window.
If you’re using an Android phone, start the Telegram app and tap the three-line menu at the top of the screen. Tap Settings and then Chat Folders. Here, you can tap Create New Folder or choose an existing folder to customize it. You’ll find the folders listed as tabs at the top of the chat window.
Search for GIFs and videos from a chat
Want to add a pithy GIF or insert a YouTube video into a chat? No problem. In a new chat, simply type @gif or @youtube, leave a space, and then enter your search term. After a moment, you’ll see a selection of GIFs or YouTube videos. Tap the one you want to insert it.
If a particular person is too “noisy” but you don’t want to delete them from your contacts, you can reduce the volume by muting them. This will disable notifications from that user, so you aren’t overwhelmed with messages. To do that, go to the chat page and then tap and hold the account icon for the contact you want to silence (you can also do this for groups). In the pop-up menu, choose Mute. You won’t hear from them again until you repeat the process and choose Unmute. On Android, select the three dots in the upper-right corner and select Mute and you’ll be given a list of choices.
Pin messages to the top of a group chat
If you have something to say in a group chat and don’t want it to get lost in the clutter or swept away, off the top of the page in a fast-moving chat, you can pin it to the top of the chat window for everyone to see. To do that, open the group chat window and find the message you want to pin. Tap and hold, then choose Pin from the pop-up menu. Choose whether you want to Only Pin the message or to Pin and notify all members.
Dave Johnson is a technology journalist who writes about consumer tech and how the industry is transforming the speculative world of science fiction into modern-day real life. Dave grew up in New Jersey before entering the Air Force to operate satellites, teach space operations, and do space launch planning. He then spent eight years as a content lead on the Windows team at Microsoft. As a photographer, Dave has photographed wolves in their natural environment; he’s also a scuba instructor and co-host of several podcasts. Dave is the author of more than two dozen books and has contributed to many sites and publications including CNET, Forbes, PC World, How To Geek, and Insider.