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WhatsApp vs. Telegram — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Published on January 11, 2024
WhatsApp is a messaging app with a focus on simplicity and broad accessibility, whereas Telegram offers more security features and customization options.
WhatsApp vs. Telegram — What's the Difference?

Difference Between WhatsApp and Telegram


Key Differences

WhatsApp is known for its user-friendly interface, offering instant messaging, voice, and video calls with end-to-end encryption for security. It has a vast user base due to its early entry into the market and being acquired by Facebook (now Meta), making it a household name in many regions. WhatsApp requires a phone number for registration and emphasizes contact through individuals' phone books, integrating seamlessly with existing contacts.
Telegram, in contrast, is celebrated for its robust security protocols, including optional end-to-end encryption and self-destructing messages. It offers unique features such as large group chats called channels, which can accommodate millions of users, and bots for various tasks. Telegram users can sign up with a phone number but have the option to connect with others through a username, providing more privacy and the option to keep one's phone number hidden.
The business model of WhatsApp under Meta has raised concerns regarding privacy and data sharing, despite the service being free of charge. The platform has started to explore avenues for in-app commerce and advertising as potential revenue streams. Telegram, while also free, has stood firm on its commitment to privacy and user data, with plans to monetize through premium subscriptions that offer additional features, rather than through ads or data exploitation.
Regarding functionality, WhatsApp limits the size of the groups to 256 members and file transfers to 100 MB, which suffices for personal and small business use. Telegram, on the other hand, extends its service with file sharing capabilities up to 2 GB and massive groups and channels, catering not only to individual users but also to large communities and businesses.
Both WhatsApp and Telegram have their distinctive characteristics and user preferences. WhatsApp leans more towards personal and small-scale communication, integrating with a user's social and familial circles. Telegram offers a platform for broader, more public dissemination of information, alongside private messaging, with a clear focus on security and larger-scale interactions.

Comparison Chart

User Base

Over 2 billion active users.
Over 500 million active users.

File Sharing Limit

Up to 100 MB per file.
Up to 2 GB per file.

Group Size

Groups can have up to 256 members.
Groups can have up to 200,000 members.


End-to-end encryption by default.
Optional end-to-end encryption.

Revenue Model

Potential ads and in-app purchases.
Premium subscriptions, no ads.

Compare with Definitions


WhatsApp is a widely-used messaging app for smartphones.
Let's discuss this further on WhatsApp.


Telegram is a cloud-based messaging application known for its security.
I prefer Telegram for confidential messages.


WhatsApp serves as a digital communication tool for texts, calls, and media sharing.
I sent the documents through WhatsApp.


Telegram is a privacy-focused app that offers secret chats.
Use Telegram if you want to have encrypted conversations.


WhatsApp also functions as a social platform with status updates and profile pictures.
Did you see her latest WhatsApp status?


Telegram is a multi-platform service accessible on various devices.
I installed Telegram on my tablet for convenience.


WhatsApp is a cross-platform service that connects various operating systems for messaging.
WhatsApp works on both my phone and my computer.


Telegram enables social interaction with large groups and stickers.
Join the Telegram group to get the latest updates.


WhatsApp automatically synchronizes with your phone's contacts.
All my friends appeared in WhatsApp after I installed it.


Telegram acts as a communication network with channels and groups.
Our community has a channel on Telegram.


A message transmitted by telegraph.


To telegraph (something) or be telegraphed.


A message transmitted by telegraph.


(intransitive) To send a telegram.


(transitive) To send a telegram to (a person).


(transitive) To send (a message) in a telegram.


A message sent by telegraph; a telegraphic dispatch.


A message transmitted by telegraph

Common Curiosities

Can Telegram messages be encrypted?

Yes, Telegram offers optional end-to-end encryption in "Secret Chats."

What is Telegram?

Telegram is a cloud-based messaging service known for its emphasis on security and speed, offering encrypted messaging and large group functionalities.

What is WhatsApp?

WhatsApp is an instant messaging app that allows users to send text messages, make voice and video calls, and share images and documents.

How does WhatsApp protect user privacy?

WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption to protect the privacy of its users' communications.

Is WhatsApp free to use?

Yes, WhatsApp is free to use and offers in-app purchases for certain features.

Does Telegram have a subscription fee?

No, Telegram is free, but it offers additional paid features through its premium subscription.

What is the largest group size for WhatsApp?

WhatsApp groups can have up to 256 members.

Can WhatsApp calls be tapped?

Due to WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption, calls are not easily tapped, but the app's metadata may still be accessed by the company.

Does Telegram show online status?

Yes, Telegram shows online status, but users can adjust their privacy settings to hide this information.

Can you use WhatsApp on multiple devices?

Yes, WhatsApp now supports multi-device usage without needing the primary smartphone to be connected to the internet.

How does WhatsApp make money?

WhatsApp is exploring making money through in-app purchases and potential business messaging tools.

How many members can join a Telegram group?

Telegram groups can support up to 200,000 members.

Are Telegram channels moderated?

Yes, Telegram channels can be moderated by their owners and designated administrators.

Can Telegram users remain anonymous?

Yes, Telegram users can create usernames and communicate without revealing their phone numbers.

Can I delete messages on WhatsApp and Telegram?

Yes, both WhatsApp and Telegram allow users to delete messages after sending them, with Telegram offering more flexibility in message deletion.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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