- Telegram for desktop can be accessed web.telegram.org. It does not have to be linked to the Android or iOS apps as against Signal which requires mobile apps.
- End-to-end encryption status is not enabled on Telegram by default as against Signal that implements end-to-end encryption.
- The only personal data Signal stores is your phone number. Telegram has access to your contact info, contacts and user ID.
Messaging apps Signal and Telegram have witnessed a surge in downloads in India since the pop-ups about WhatsApp's new contentious terms of service started showing up for users when they opened the app. Signal has seen 2.3 million new downloads between January 6 and January 10, while Telegram has surpassed 500 million monthly active users.
WhatsApp's downloads fell by 35 per cent during the same time period, with 1.3 million new downloads between January 6 and 10, according to Sensor Tower. If you have also made up your mind to quit WhatsApp and switch to alternatives like Signal or Telegram, but cannot decide which one to move to, you should consider the following features the apps have.
Telegram or Signal for Desktop?
Telegram for desktop can be accessed web.telegram.org. Signal, however, has a slightly elaborate process for downloading the desktop version. Signal users need to download the software based on the operating system they are using. While Signal requires mobile apps on Android or iOS to be linked to the computer at all times, Telegram works independently on a PC or laptop.
Telegram and Signal for better security?
If security is your biggest concern, you should consider the end to end encrypted status of messages these apps provide. Signal uses the open-source Signal Protocol to implement end-to-end encryption. Signal by default encrypts all the local files with a 4-digit passphrase. Signal encrypts metadata as well. Signal's "Sealed Sender" feature disables the ability to figure out who is sending and receiving messages. These "sealed" messages hide your IP address from non-contacts with whom you have not shared your profile.
Coming to Telegram, the platform has encrypted chats. However, a user has to enable secret chats feature if they do not want the chats to be stored locally at all. If they do not enable the secret chats, Telegram will store your messages on its local clous, which will be encrypted. This makes it easier for users to back their data up. Telegram groups are not encrypted because Secret Chats are only supported for single-user communication. Moreover, Telegram's desktop client doesn't support E2E encryption on any platform other than macOS. Telegram copies your address book to its servers and does not thoroughly encrypt all metadata. Telegram has its own end-to-end encryption service called MTProto which is not entirely open source.
Last seen and online: Signal does not share online while Telegram does. The same applies to last seen as well. However, Telegram users can enable status to share last seen with them.
Your data stored by Signal vs data stored by Telegram:
Signal app does not store metadata, logs, or information on its users. It also does not store a record of your contacts, conversations, locations, profile name, avatar, group memberships, or group titles. The only personal data Signal stores is your phone number and does not link it to your identity.
Telegram has access to your contact info, contacts and user ID. Its cloud chat messaging system backs up data, with chats stored on Telegram's servers and backed up to a cloud unless it is a secret chat. Through this, Telegram can gain access to your messages, which will be encrypted, according to the platform.
Which is more convenient to use, Telegram or Signal?
The ease of sending a message on both apps is fairly similar. It requires you to save a contact, send a message when you save a new contact. When the contact is not new, all you have to do is send a message. Telegram has more vibrant features like more stickers and wallpapers and convenient to use on a desktop. Signal has more security features when compared to Telegram. Depending on what matters more to you, you can choose the app you want to move to.