There, I said it: WhatsApp sucks, Telegram rocks

whatsapp

During our courtship period, my girlfriend (now wife) and I made a pact to consciously avoid WhatsApp and move our conversations to Telegram. Best. Decision. Ever.

No one could interrupt our tete-a-tete inside Telegram. We’ve used it as our default messenger for a good two years now, and continue to do so. Apart from escaping the din of WhatsApp groups, Telegram offers real functional benefits over WhatsApp. 

Before I get down to the actual advantages, I know a few well-informed folks might be wondering why am I promoting an app that was recently deleted from Apple’s App Store for distribution of child pornography? In all honesty, Telegram fixed the issue and the app was back up on the store in a day. Moreover, it is not like WhatsApp didn’t face child pornography distribution charges. That’s besides the point though; in essence, both these apps are merely the medium and perpetrators trying to indulge in nefarious activities are bound to find a way nonetheless. Don’t believe me? Just search for ‘WhatsApp’ on Facebook and if the results don’t shock you…stop reading this story right away. 

My only point is that one of these apps is better than the other. And, here’s why I think all self-respecting messaging warriors should quit WhatsApp and move to Telegram. 

Call ‘cloud storage’ for backup

I review phones for a living and switching phones every week can be a pain in the posterior. Despite WhatsApp’s backup option, there is no way to transfer your chats from iOS to Android. WhatsApp backs up chats on an iPhone to the iCloud. And there is literally no way to transfer an iCloud backup to Android. Don’t bother ‘googling’, I’ve tried. 

This is where Telegram comes to the rescue. It stores all of your messages in the cloud, like a server somewhere far, far away. This means that whichever device you are on, you can retrieve all your messages and images at any given point of time, provided you’ve log in. I have Telegram running on three concurrent devices – the MacBook Air, iPhone 7 Plus, and any review unit. It works seamlessly. 

Moreover, the login process to any new device is rather smooth. All you need to do is enter your registered number and if you have another device already running your Telegram account, the PIN is directly sent to that account. Easy peasy. No message-based OTP required.

WhatsApp groups can go take a Hike

While this is not a feature advantage that Telegram has over its rival, in my opinion it is the most important reason why I switched. No more pesky groups.

It is not a secret that WhatsApp’s popularity is unparalleled. In fact, the guy who delivers water cans to our house replenishes our weekly supply after confirming with me first on WhatsApp. I am glad he is proactive and that I can have my services rendered via a messaging app. Oh, lets not forget that most online businesses are now tying up with WhatsApp to send you notifications. Netflix sends you personalised show recommendations. Movie and flight tickets reach your WhatsApp inbox courtesy BookMyShow and MakeMyTrip. Very cool, very helpful. 

But, this is just adding more clutter over and above the 200921921398247 groups that keep adding you on WhatsApp. In fact, just because the whole world is on WhatsApp, I don’t want to be there. Imagine that level of freedom the moment you move away from WhatsApp. Ah, bliss!

Who knew having fewer users could also be considered beneficial?

Individually pick who views your ‘last seen’ information

How many times has someone unwanted tried to spy on you by constantly checking your ‘last seen’ on WhatsApp? It is a rhetorical question. 

I know that you can disable the ‘last seen’ feature. That said, I also know that it disables the ‘last seen’ for everyone. Once again, Telegram one ups WhatsApp in this regard. You can customise the ‘last seen’ setting for individual Telegram users. How handy is that?

Instantly open your article links via “Instant View”

The ability to instantly view you a link to any story/article within the same app, is obviously the next feature update for social media websites. They do this so that you don’t have to open another browser. It is particularly helpful for smartphone users. Facebook’s version is called Instant Articles, whereas Google’s version is called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). 

Yes, you can also instantly read a link — for supported websites — within Telegram itself, thanks to the Instant View feature. No, you can’t do that on WhatsApp for now. 

A few extras

  • Stickers are more emotive than emojis. Telegram has support for stickers. 
  • You can easily find the right GIF for any mood. Again, Telegram has support for GIFs. 
  • You can save media files to the cloud in the Saved Messages space and access it from any device.
  • Want to save battery life? Use Telegram’s Night theme for a dark mode. 

Quit WhatsApp movement

I’ll admit that this is by no means an exhaustive list of all the features that make Telegram a superior. What it is, is a my personal account of using the best messaging app. You might have a different view but I urge you to give Telegram a chance before you blindly trust WhatsApp as the holy grail of all messaging apps. It most certainly isn’t. 

And what I can’t fathom is that Telegram is an undoubtedly better product in terms of features, despite its niche user-base. It deserves more love.

Although on second thought, I’d rather go back to enjoying my solitude using Telegram with my limited set of friends. You – WhatsApp user – on the other hand, can swim in your deluge of notification pings and “good morning” messages clogging up your phone’s storage space instead.

(There, I said it is a weekly column where one of our Editors builds up courage, takes on a popular notions about consumer technology and questions it. These highly opinionated pieces are meant to drive conversation. Therefore, all brickbats are welcome.)

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Ershad Kaleebullah
ershad.kaleebullah@u2opiamobile.com

When Ershad isn't writing, he spends time killing virtual zombies on his PS4. Having worked with a slew of renowned publications like PCWorld, Channelworld, CIO, NDTV Gadgets (now Gadgets360), MySmartPrice, The Inquistr, and 91Mobiles, Ershad brings a whole world of experience to Mr. Phone. He is trying hard to convert all the team members into Apple fans but is facing a lot of resistance. Is anyone willing to help?