Since no one really uses SMS messages anymore, it’s time to master all the cool features cloud-based messengers can offer us. Today we will pick apart Telegram, an alternative to WhatsApp with its numerous tools to speed up communication and file exchange.
Telegram is both a phone app and an instant messaging app for computers and gadgets with Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems. In addition to sending all types of files via messages, the app has numerous tools hidden in its interface and settings. Here are just a few of the ones that will dramatically improve your user experience.
Group to Chats into Folders
Imagine applying the desktop folder method to grouping your chats on Telegram. This feature allows you to separate your conversations based on topics and come up with chat folder names that will be displayed on top of the page. To do that, go to “Settings” and choose “Folders”. Then create a new folder by selecting or excluding conversations from the list. When you get a message, the +1 icon will be shown next to the folder name.
Add People nearby to Your Contacts
Instead of exchanging business cards, you can now find a person on Telegram based on your location. This is a great feature if you need to add new contacts and save time exchanging numbers, for example, at a conference or a networking event. Simply go to “Settings”, select “Contacts” and press “Find People Nearby” by enabling your GPS location. You will see people’s nicknames and how far away from you they are.
Send Silent or Pre-planned Messages
In case you don’t want to disturb a friend or a coworker with a late-night message, Telegram has got you covered. The app offers two options of how you can send a message without disturbing the recipient. They are the silent messaging and pre-planned messages. You can access the features by simply long holding the “send” icon instead of tapping on it to send the message straight away. If a chat has pre-planned messages due, you will find a small calendar icon next to the send button.
Permanently Delete the Messages You Have Received
Although deleting the messages you have sent both for you and the recipient is old news, Telegram allows you to delete the messages you receive. By long holding an incoming message, choose “Also delete for X” and the message will leave no trace whatsoever. This feature can be used to remove any unwanted content.
Send Self-Destruct Files
Similar to Instagram’s “allow replay” and “view once” options for photos and videos in direct messages, Telegram lets you send files that will self-destruct on a timer. Once you select the file, press the timer icon and choose an interval from one second up to one minute. The content of the message will be blurred and the recipient will only have so much time to have access to the file. When the time is up, the message “video/photo has expired” will appear in the chat.
Password-Protect Your Chats
To provide additional security to your conversations, you can set a four-digit password which you will need to type in before accessing your chats. To do that, go to “settings”, choose “privacy and security” and enable passcode lock. After that you will have an additional icon on the top right corner which will allow you to turn on and off the lock feature when you need it.
Set Reminders to Yourself
You can now send pre-planned messages to yourself. For that, first you need to start a “Saved messages” chat which acts as a chat with yourself. Simply go into any conversation, select one of your messages and forward it to “saved messages chat”, which will appear in the list in addition to your regular conversations. After that, type a message and long hold the “send” button – this will take you to the “set a reminder” feature. Once you’ve chosen a time and a date, Telegram will automatically send the message to your “saved messages” chat.
Compress Videos before You Send Them
With an impressive number of useful, trouble-shooting features, Telegram offers a set of tools to edit videos. It seems that it combines the editing power of Adobe Premier with the simplicity of Instagram stories features. Once you select a video to be sent, the menu on the bottom of the page enables you to enhance the brightness and colours of the video, crop and rotate it as well as select the quality of the video. If you need to send a video fast, go for the smaller size; and if quality is important, expect a longer download to offset crisp visuals.
Search for YouTube Videos in Your Chat
Instead of leaving the app to go on YouTube, searching for the video, copying the link, and finally sending it, you can skip half of those steps by simply using @youtube. Start a message by typing @youtube, type in the key words, select the video from the YouTube search bar that pops up in the chat, and hit send.
Add Multiple Accounts on One App
To separate your personal and professional lives, Telegram has added a feature that enables you to add two accounts linked to two phone numbers under one app. For that, go into the menu, tap on your phone number, and click “add account”. Once you verify the phone number, you can switch between the two accounts as you wish.
Customize Your Telegram Theme, Font, and Design
For that, go into settings and select chat settings. Here you can twinkle with the message text size, chat background, select a unique colour for the theme, enable auto-night mode, and add new trending stickers and masks. You will also find small details such as the “save to gallery” option and “distance units” which let you choose kilometers or miles for the GPS location.
Use Chat Bots to Your Advantage
Telegram really acts as a trouble-shooting app that both saves your time and makes the process extremely intuitive. Here are just a few bots that will make your life so much easier. @TweetitBot lets you tweet photos, videos, and text without having to leave the app. @text4instabot helps you create an orderly structure and paragraphs that look lovely in your IG feed. @saveasbot enables you to take a link to a post and convert it to separate photo, attachment, and text which you then can use separately.
Although Telegram has a smaller audience in comparison with Facebook and WhatsApp, its features make both professional and personal interactions so much easier that it makes it worth it to use the app for your communications.
More about Telegram App read here.
Photos: Shutterstock / Edited by: Martina Advaney
This article is part of the Digital Skills series where we cover lifehacks you can apply when using everyday apps and websites.
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