The number of users of both platforms has grown considerably in the last few days, which has caused Signal to have problems in validating new accounts, and Telegram has reached the number of 500 million active users.
In this regard, Techidence has prepared a list with a comparison between Signal and Telegram. Next, you can check what are the main similarities and differences between the messengers, which institutions run the platforms, and their countries of origin. In the end, you can also compare the main security functions of the apps and what are the advantages of each platform.
Telegram vs Signal: Meet the Owners of the Apps
Signal is run by a non-profit institution, and one of its developers is the co-founder of WhatsApp Brian Acton. The company is headquartered in the United States, and the purpose of the app is to be an “ultrasecure” messenger. Signal vows not to collect or store any data about its users, including performance information, device ID and location, or any other data capable of tracking the person.
Telegram was developed by the Russian brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov. The messenger is known to be a more secure option than WhatsApp, but the conversations have no end-to-end encryption by default – the functionality is restricted to secret chats. The default conversations in the messenger have encryption but are user-cloud type. Based in Dubai, the app has reached the mark of over 500 million active users in the past week and is intended to be a fast and secure messenger. In most countries, Telegram usually stays in the limelight mainly when WhatsApp presents instabilities.
Services available in Telegram and Signal
Signal brings all the expected features to a messenger and allows sending text and audio messages, and making voice or video calls. Group chats are limited to up to 1,000 participants. Signal, like WhatsApp, also allows you to invite members to group chats by link and QR Code. It is also possible to make group video calls, limited to up to eight contacts.
Telegram, besides having the same features as Signal, also brings automated actions via bots to the platform. Telegram’s bots are very popular and can perform simple or very complex functions. It is possible, for example, to use the automated actions to convert PDF files, edit photos, transcribe images and audios, and even for group games. Another difference between the messenger is the games, which can be played individually or in collective chats.
In Telegram, group chats can have up to 200,000 participants, while channels – used to publish and transmit messages to even larger groups- can have an unlimited number of subscribers. It is also possible to invite friends to participate in group chats through links. The negative point of the app, concerning Signal, is that Telegram does not support group video calls, and accepts conferences between only two contacts.
Signal is available on Android and iPhone, and also has a computer version that can be accessed on Windows or MacOS. Telegram, on the other hand, besides the application for Android and iPhone, also has versions for PCs with Linux or Windows and macOS, besides the web version of Telegram online.
Text chat features
The features available in Signal, Telegram, and WhatsApp chats are the same: you can send stickers, photos, videos, audio messages, and documents to the contacts. The main change between the applications is the quantity and size limits on sharing some files.
In WhatsApp, for example, you can only send up to 30 photos or videos at once, with a size limit of 16 MB per file. In Telegram, there is no limit for sharing files of this type, and the maximum supported size is 2 GB for each media, which does not generate compression of shared images, different from WhatsApp. In Signal, it is not possible to share more than 32 photos or videos at once and, according to a Reddit publication by an app developer, the size limit for each shared file is 100 MB.
Also, all three platforms support stickers, including cartoons and GIFs. It is also possible to share your current location with friends and family by messengers. The “Share in Real-Time” option, which allows you to send the location even when you are on the move, is only not available on Signal.
Video and Audio calls
Both Signal and Telegram allow making calls and video calls. The video call feature was released by Telegram in August and is not yet available for group chats. On both platforms, the calls are encrypted end-to-end, which means that nobody can intercept their conversations – not even the messengers themselves.
Telegram has an interesting feature during calls, which is a series of four emojis used to confirm with the contact during the call that the call is protected. In our tests, Signal presented superior audio and image quality to Telegram.
Signal and Telegram Security Functions
Contrary to what is believed, Telegram chats do not have end-to-end encryption by default. The security feature is only available in secret messenger chats, so it also features protections such as preventing screen captures from the conversation. It is also possible to enable the self-destruct of messages, which are automatically deleted after a short period.
Signal features the “Screen Security” function, which prohibits screen captures in the app. However, it only blocks prints on the device where the feature is activated from the settings since it does not come enabled by default. Nevertheless, all Signal chats are automatically protected with end-to-end encryption, including calls and video calls.
Telegram or Signal: Which is best?
The two messengers have their differences and things in common. However, it is also worth remembering that their designs are not the same: while Signal has a strict focus on privacy, Telegram is already a messenger for speed and security. And when it comes to speed in sending and receiving messages, Telegram is the fastest messenger. As for data privacy, Signal is the safest messaging app.
Moreover, because of its automation resources and transmission channels, the advantages of Telegram seem to work better in groups. The messenger also brings several game options to play with friends, a feature absent in WhatsApp and Signal.
As for the resources available for conversations, Telegram brings a wide variety of stickers, including diversity for the animated stickers. Signal has only two sticker packs available, while the animated stickers are present in larger quantities because they are made available by Giphy.