Signal and Telegram are the two best chat apps in early 2021. Both instant messaging apps come with a boast of better privacy than WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. But when it comes to head-to-head comparison for Signal vs Telegram, which one would be the best?
Generally speaking, Signal and Telegram have several things in common such as excellent privacy and security. But it cannot be denied that one app may offer more features than another. So, take a closer look at the following comparison before you pick an app!
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What Is Signal?
Signal is an encrypted messaging app that promises privacy and security. As a cross-platform app, it runs well on Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone. Desktop client is also available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.
As with other instant chat apps, Signal requires your phone number to create an account. Despite it’s free, it comes packed with tons of features to take messaging experience to the next level. Besides encrypted messages, users can enjoy video calls, voice calls, stickers, and much more.
Signal isn’t developed by a giant tech company. Instead, it is launched by a non-profit foundation that doesn’t have a commercial purpose. That’s why Signal neither collects data of its users for their benefits nor adds in-app advertisements.
End-to-end encryption makes Signal unable to see your messages, calls, and file transfers. This is not an optional feature, but it’s a default protocol to ensure your privacy and security. On top of that, Signal is quite easy to use, which contributes to its popularity.
What Is Telegram?
Telegram has been around for a while and it becomes one of the most popular messaging apps with more than 200 million users worldwide. The chat app offers a wide range of features, from messages, calls, file transfers, group conversations, and more.
Much like other instant messaging apps, Telegram uses phone number to create an account. Interestingly, it has account self-destruction feature that will delete your account if you’re not online at a specified period, from 1 month to 1 year.
Telegram emphasizes on user’s privacy and security, thanks to end-to-end encryption that ensures your conversation and calls are unseen. Third parties such as the company or hackers won’t be able to track what you send or receive in the conversation.
However, this feature isn’t available in regular chats. That means when you create a conversation in regular chats, it is only encrypted from client to server. Compared to WhatsApp that uses end-to-end encryption in all messages and calls, Telegram is unlikely to be more secure.
Signal VS Telegram Head to Head Comparisons
While Signal and Telegram have few things in common, it might need extra effort to point out the best chat app. That’s why a head to head comparison is needed to help you make a decision. There will be a number of aspects to compare, from user interface to features, to compatibilities.
1. Signal vs Telegram User Interface
Signal has a relatively minimal user interface, if it cannot be said as bland. In default, this app comes with a plain background. The bubbles and conversation list look quite similar to Facebook Messenger. If you have used Messenger previously, you won’t find difficulties using this app.
Newbies can take advantage of its simple and minimalist design. Despite the bland interface, it is quite intuitive. Everything is located in the right place so you know where to move the fingers. Overall, Signal’s user interface makes it comfortable to use.
Telegram’s user interface is also well-designed. It is completely responsive with excellent threaded conversations as well as uploaded images. Much like WhatsApp, this app allows you to change chat background using your own photos or preloaded images.
Additionally, the conversation list is somewhat similar to WhatsApp with a compose button located on the bottom-right of the screen. The icons, color combination, and text used in Telegrams makes it comfortable to create message or make calls.
2. Privacy and Security
When it comes to Signal vs Telegram, privacy and security is essential to compare. Signal uses end-to-end encryption to all conversations and calls. This is set to default so all conversations and calls you make are fully encrypted. Moreover, it neither collects your data nor store your conversations.
Signal goes beyond its chat app counterparts in terms of privacy and security. Besides message encryption, it offers onscreen privacy options that include blank notification pop-up, app-specific locks, disappearing messages, and face-blurring tools.
Telegram finds it’s hard to beat Signal’s privacy and security. It comes with optional end-to-end encryption, which means not all messages and calls are encrypted. Whenever you need to make a secret conversation, you’ve to start a Secret Chat. However, group Secret Chat isn’t available.
While Signal doesn’t store your messages, Telegram store your conversations on their server. It also collects your data and could be linked to your phone number, name, contact list, and also user ID. Not to mention Telegram collects your IP address, another thing Signal doesn’t do.
3. Signal vs Telegram Features
Privacy advantages of Signal is clear but when it comes to features, Telegram might be one step ahead. Signal allows you to create a group chat with up to 10,000 members. With Telegram, you can squeeze up to 200,000 people in a group chat.
Telegram is also more prominent in file transfers. It enables you to transfer up to 2 GB while Signal supports only up to 100 MB. On top of that, Telegram features cloud message synchronization that lets you continue conversation on the web, which is somewhat like WhatsApp Web.
Conversations on Signal are stored on your devices instead of server. For this reason, it doesn’t support cloud synchronization so you cannot continue conversation on the web. But Signal seems to be working on these features to improve users’ chat experience.
4. Access to Phone Number
Both Signal and Telegram use require your phone number to create an account. But there’s a major difference between both apps. With Signal, your number is always visible to the people whom you chat with. In other words, you cannot send a message without the recipient knowing your number.
It is simply because Signal is designed to be a replacement for SMS. It will access your contacts and check if the contacts have Signal accounts. Much like WhatsApp, any contacts registered on Signal will be included in your Signal contact list.
In contrast, Telegram enables you to chat with people without revealing your phone number. That means you can anonymously send messages, photos, or files to other users. It is because the app doesn’t share your phone number with other users.
As you register on Telegram, you will be required to provide a username. This username will be your identity. As long as the person’s number is not added to your phone contacts, all they can see is your username.
5. Source Code
Signal app is fully open source, which means both codes for clients and servers can be found and verified on GitHub. It also means the application is available for free and may be modified or redistributed.
Meanwhile, Telegram is only partially open-source. The code for this app is open-source and can be found on GitHub, but its server software isn’t open-source.
When it comes to availability, Signal runs well on various platforms, including Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac. However, it doesn’t support apps for Chrome or Web. A Signal account can be accessed on up to 5 devices so you can wrap all messages of it.
Telegram offers a better availability as it supports all major platforms, including iOS, Android, Mac, Linux and Windows. It also supports Web and Chrome apps, which means it works well on Chromebook.
Unlike Signal that limits on devices, Telegram allows you to log into account on many devices at once, without limit. That means you can access the same Telegram account on multiple devices and have them work without hassle.
7. Developer Company
Signal chat app is developed by Signal Foundation, which is a non-profit organization. This organization is funded by donations and app’s development is provided for free. That’s why Signal doesn’t gather users’ data for making money.
On the other hand, Telegram is developed by a corporation for commercial purpose. This explains why Telegram collects data and integrate with advertisers.
Signal vs Telegram comparisons have revealed anything you need to know about both chat apps. Which one is the best? Signal offers better privacy as encryption is set to default for all messages and calls. However, Telegram has attractive features like more file transfer capacity and larger group chats.