Recently Joined Telegram? Here’s How to Use the App

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Signal vs Telegram vs WhatsApp

Gossip always bring regular users to Telegram and in the past few days that has been the case. The messaging platform is a favourite among consumers who lie keeping their chats private.

Edgar Obare’s Instagram account recently got warned that it might be permanently removed from the platform and he has resorted to spill the “tea” on Telegram. This is his third Instagram account after the other two got banned.

This is why if you’re on Telegram, you’ll see notifications of new people in your contact list who have recently joined the app to catch up with local and international gossip that Egar will be sharing on his channel.

If you’re among the new users, here are a few things you need to change to protect your privacy and stay secure on the app:

Add a Passcode/Fingerprint

Set up a passcode or fingerprint to prevent people from snooping on your Telegram chats by opening the app, tap on the hamburger menu icon on the top left corner of the screen, then scroll to Settings[gear icon], head to Privacy and Security, scroll to the Passcode Lock, toggle on the Passcode lock and add a passcode.

You can also toggle on the unlock with fingerprint option too. While you’re here set a time limit for the Auto-lock option too.

Enable Two-Step Verification

2FA also known as 2-factor authentication fortifies passwords with a second piece of information which involves a one-time passcode being sent at the time of login.

You should enable 2FA on Telegram especially if you use multiple devices. Do this by opening the app, tap on the hamburger menu icon on the top left corner of the screen, then scroll to Settings[gear icon], head to Privacy and Security, scroll to Two-Step Verification and then turn this feature on. Telegram will ask you to add a password that you can save.

Change What People Can See

You’ll have to change what personal information is visible to your Telegram contacts. Do this by opening the app, tap on the hamburger menu icon on the top left corner of the screen, then scroll to Settings[gear icon], head to Privacy and Security.

Telegram offers different options including blocking users, choosing who can see your phone number, profile photo, when you were last seen online, forwarded messages, calls and groups.

We recommend you set them to either My Contacts or Nobody.

Check Your Active Sessions

If you use Telegram on multiple devices, this step is important.

Open the app, tap on the hamburger menu icon on the top left corner of the screen, then scroll to Settings[gear icon], head to Privacy and Security, then scroll to active sessions.

This part lets you know which devices are connected to your account. You can terminate sessions on unknown devices – this will let you log out of all devices except for your current one.

Enable Secret Chat

A lot of users don’t know this but Telegram implements end-to-end encryption in a different way when compared to other apps like Signal or WhatsApp.

Telegram only encrypts user-to-server connections, unlike WhatsApp and Signal which encrypts user-to-user connections. This means Telegram is able to see the contents of the messages sent through the app – its servers store the messages for cloud sync.

If malicious actors got access to Telegrams’ servers, they would see all your conversations. Signal doesn’t store messages on the cloud but rather your device, so malicious actors won’t see any of your conversations.

There’s some encryption on Telegram as internet service providers, network operators, and any third parties snooping on your internet activity can’t see the contents of your messages.

To have user-to-user encrypted chats, you’ll have to enable secret chats which are ephemeral as they aren’t saved on Telegram’s servers.

To enable this feature, click on a contact’s profile, tap the three-button drop-down menu on the top right corner and select Start secret chat.

You’ll see a padlock icon when secret chat is enabled. Click the three-button drop-down menu on the top right corner to set the self-destruct timer.

One downside of using Telegram for group chats is that they aren’t encrypted – the secret chat feature isn’t available for group chats. However, Signal already offers encrypted group chats by default.

Delete Messages by the Sender

Telegram offers users the ability to delete messages on both ends of the chat. To do so, select the message, hit the delete button[trash icon] and then a pop up will appear asking you if you want to delete the message for the sender too.

Ticking off this box will ensure the message is deleted on the other persons chat too.

HIDE Telegram Notifications from appearing on your lockscreen.

You should definitely do this on all your messaging apps.

Anyway, your Telegram message notifications shouldn’t be visible to anyone on your lock screen.

If you’re on Android, simply go to Settings > Notifications and Status Bar > Manage Notifications > Lock screen notifications > select “Do Not Display” or ” Display Title Only”

It is different on different Android smartphones, you can simply search Lock screen notifications on the search bar in the Settings page.

If you’re using an iPhone, open Telegram > click the three-dot menu icon to open Settings > scroll to Notifications > tap on “Background Notifications” and then click “show”

The best option is to pick “No name or message” You’ll be notified on the lock screen that you’ve received a Signal message but you’ll have to unlock the phone, and then unlock the app to see the message.

Secure your phone with a lockscreen password and more

Set up a lock screen password, pattern or PIN to prevent people from snooping on your Telegram notifications.

Another thing is to frequently update the Telegram app to fix any security bugs.

While you’re here, update all the apps you have downloaded on your phone too.

You should also keep updating your phone’s system. Manufactures usually send monthly security updates and you can check by going to Settings, scroll down to About Phone and check for System Updates.

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Editor’s Note

This article will continuously be updated with new information to help you fortify your privacy and security on Telegram.

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