When comparing WhatsApp vs Telegram, the Slant community recommends Telegram for most people. In the question“What are the best messaging apps for Android?” Telegram is ranked 1st while WhatsApp is ranked 4th. The most important reason people chose Telegram is:
Very customizable with a lot of clean looking options.
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Pro Straightforward interface
The interface is very simple, fast and easy to use. You can start using it as soon as the app has been downloaded - it does not require setting anything up or registering. You can communicate with anyone in your contacts list that also uses WhatsApp. Includes useful features like seeing when a contact is currently available or typing.
Pro Effortlessly builds your contacts by using your phone number as identification
WhatsApp will automatically find all of your contacts currently using Whatsapp and add them to your contacts. This makes it really easy to setup and given that it's the most popular messaging app it's likely that a lot of your contacts are already using it.
Pro Widely used
WhatsApp reported 800 million users in April, 2015. Your friends are most likely already using WhatsApp, so it's easy to get setup. Also it's the overall highest rated messaging app on the play store.
Pro Message mirroring on web app
WhatsApp can be used from the desktop via Chrome, Firefox and Opera browsers. Accessing it requires using the Android app to scan the QR code that's presented on web.whatsapp.com.
Pro One-on-one texts can be encrypted
WhatsApp has implemented end to end encryption for messages sent on it's service. Even WhatsApp has no way to read a users messages.
Pro Beautiful UI
Very customizable with a lot of clean looking options.
Pro Free and convient large file sharing
Copy/paste videos, gifs, images, geolocation, and documents, drag over files for practically any time up to 1.5GB in size. Images can be compressed, too.
Pro Privacy focused
In addition to the end-to-end encryption that provides privacy to communications, the app also includes self destructing timers for chats, and the ability to permanently delete messages, yours and theirs, from your device.
Pro Save time with inline bots and link previews
Unfortunately on the desktop, videos don't apply, but images are viewable without visiting popular websites like imgur and Instagram.
You can play YouTube videos and others within the app, so you don't need the embed code or anything.
With inline bots, such as @gif, @pic/bing, @vid/YouTube, etc, you can look things up without leaving the client or chat that you're in. Simply type the name and some keywords and wait for the results to load.
Pro Media messaging
Videos, gifs, images, geolocation, and documents.
Pro Desktop app handles HIDPI
The desktop app has a built in setting to scale the UI of the app up to 200% which allows for those with 4k monitors/screens to use the app without scaling issues.
Pro Customer support is within the app
Although it's volunteer based, but still pretty top-notch if available, which it tends to be.
Pro Channels for one way broadcasting
Broadcasting channels suitable for announcing things.
Pro Supergroups of up to 5000 people
In Supergroups, anyone along with admins can delete their messages from all sides. A message can be pinned to the top. All of the user's messages can be deleted by an administrator, and they can be banned and reported as well. Supergroups can have a public link (outside of Asia, due to high spam volumes), which is also a username.
Pro 2-step verification
You can set up an additional password to your account, which can be reset by your email. You don't have to use an email, if you do not want to. If you lose access to your email or forget your password, you will be able to reset if via text message if you're account is over seven days old and will receive it within a week (in case you recover anything before then).
Pro Cloud chat key are kept in different jurisdiction
Even though encryption used for cloud based storage (e.g. Gmail, Facebook, iCloud) may not be as secure as end-to-end encryption or zero-knowledge storage, Telegram does the most that it can by holding keys to chats in different jurisdictions, requiring intergovernmental cooperation to obtain the keys. This is aside from whatever security measure are taken place, of course.
Con Single device
You cannot use the same WhatsApp account on multiple devices (e.g. a tablet, a PC and a cellphone). The account is tied to the device with the specific cellphone number. Chat history is deleted when you sign in to a new account, unless you have created a backup.
Con Hard to migrate history cross platform
Migrating your chat history from Android to iOS or the other way around is not so simple. In some cases it requires a 3rd party app and in some the only way is to migrate specific chats one by one.
Con Shares meta data with Facebook
WhatsApp shares your messaging meta data with Facebook if you do not opt-out in the settings. If you use the same phone number for WhatsApp and Facebook, the profiles can easily be linked.
Con No cloud sync
Messages are not stored on WhatsApp server for privacy and security reasons.
Con Limitation on shareable file sizes
WhatsApp now allows users to share files of any type, but there is still a size limit.
Not open source.
Con Tied to carrier phone number
WhatsApp cannot be used by people without a smart phone with an active cell plan. If your phone is lost or damaged, or if your phone number changes, you cannot get messages sent by friends without them updating your phone number. You cannot send message to them until you are able to get SMS messages at your phone number.
Con Web interface uses message mirroring
To use your computer to send messages your phone must be on with a consistent data connection.
Con Not fully open source
Telegram has an open API and protocol free for everyone, but the backend software is not open source. Therefore 100% privacy can not be evaluated.
Con Only "Secret Chat" messages are encrypted end to end
The only way to get end-to-end encryption (client-client) using Telegram is to use the Secret Chat function, anything through the service is server-client encrypted. Also secret chat is only implemented in the mobile apps, meaning there is no way to encrypt messages end-to-end when using the desktop client or the web browser client.