Telegram review in 2023

Mikaela Bray
Mikaela Bray | Contributing Writer
Last updated: May 5, 2023
Telegram Messenger analysis
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Telegram is a popular messenger application that gained popularity in recent years. Due to its user-friendly interface and various features, it became a go-to app for people who are looking for a secure communications channel. Nevertheless, there are a few things that raise some security concerns.

For starters, Telegram doesn’t have encryption by default and requires its users to turn it on manually every time. Additionally, its base of operation is in Dubai, which is not a privacy-respecting country.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In this article, you’ll find a comprehensive Telegram review. We will check what the app has to offer and whether it’s secure and private. In addition, we will recommend extra tools, such as reliable VPNs, that will boost your safety while using Telegram.

Secure Telegram with a VPN

A reliable provider like NordVPN will add an extra layer of security and privacy while using Telegram. Thus, malicious actors and snoopers will have a hard time tracking and stealing your data. Moreover, NordVPN can help you bypass restrictions and give you access to the app in countries under heavy censorship.

9.6 /10
Best security & privacy features
Can bypass strict censorship & firewalls
Fairly cheap

Is Telegram secure and private?

Overall, Telegram offers a range of security and privacy features that are created to protect users’ chats and information. Its Secret Chats feature encrypts messages, which means that only the sender and receiver can read the content, and even Telegram itself cannot access it.

Nevertheless, there are a few aspects that raise some red flags. For starters, you must manually enable end-to-end encryption (E2EE) to prevent tracking. Moreover, Telegram requires your personal information and phone number to register. Not to mention, it can store your data for up to 12 months. Lastly, extremist groups often use this app for illegal activities, so practice extreme caution.

We recommend pairing Telegram with the best VPN to avoid most security and privacy concerns. A virtual private network will encrypt your data, change your IP address, and spoof your location. That way tracking your information and snooping on your chats will be basically impossible.

Telegram messenger features

Let’s take a look at the safety and privacy features that Telegram messenger has to offer.

Secret Chats

Telegram features the option to open what is known as Secret Chats, which contain end-to-end encryption and self-destructing messages. The time limit on message self-destruction can be set by the user. Additionally, you can set photos to self-destruct, and the countdown for that begins as soon as the receiver opens the photograph.

However, we were disappointed while analyzing this feature as it reveals that Telegram only uses end-to-end encryption during Secret Chats. With other instant messengers, this comes as standard.

You might want to use a Telegram VPN to ensure maximum security and encryption. That way, you won’t have to worry about digital threats or someone breaching your privacy.

Passcode lock

Unlike many other messengers, the Telegram app allows users to create a personal passcode lock. When the app is locked, the user will never receive push notifications. The company states that this is to ensure “private data stays hidden from prying eyes.”

Telegram Passcode

However, our issue with the passcode lock is that it is only four digits long. This isn’t the best form of security because a four-digit passcode can be brute-forced by a computer in under seven minutes. Telegram’s passcode lock is, therefore, a weak promise of protection.

Active sessions

Partially due to the two-step verification mentioned above, the Telegram app can be used on multiple devices. This can be either highly convenient or a nightmare; it’s easy to become paranoid over whether you remembered to log out of any devices that may also be used by other people – not to mention if one of those devices is stolen.

Nevertheless, Telegram has the Active Sessions feature that allows you to see which devices you are logged in on. Thus, you have the option to terminate any of these sessions if you really need to.

Self-destructing accounts

Telegram automatically deletes your account if it has been inactive for 6 months. It’s understandable when considering the need for Telegram to maintain enough disk space to run the service.

As messages on Telegram are decentralized, the company has no way of accessing your messages, let alone deleting them. While this is technically good news, it’s also worth noting that the company admits they cannot remove your messages from other users’ devices. Unless you enable automatic self-destruction of those messages, which, again, is only available in Secret Chats.

This means that if you simply forget to use Telegram for a while, your account could be permanently deleted, but any messages you have sent before this happens will remain in the hands of the person you sent them to. Quite simply, there are endless ways this could go wrong.

Two-step authentication

We were initially worried when starting the research for our Telegram review, given that the initial login verification is conducted through SMS. This kind of communication is notoriously unsecure, and many users have reported that their SMS four-digit code had been intercepted and their account hacked.

Telegram 2FA

Fortunately, we soon found that Telegram allows for two-step authentication, wherein a user-generated password can also be applied at the login stage. While this makes sense from a cybersecurity standpoint, it’s quite unwieldy, and it seems like the team behind Telegram is simply putting out fires as soon as they pop up.

Online status

One thing we do like about Telegram is that it provides you with the option to not share your “last seen” status. This is a huge flaw with other services, such as Facebook Messenger, and the fact that you’re able to toggle this can definitely improve your privacy.

How to use Telegram

Telegram’s installation process is fairly painless. For mobile users, the app is available on the App Store, Google Play, and the Microsoft store. From there, all you’ll need to do is download the app to your phone and register your mobile number with the app.

Telegram Sign-in

Telegram’s interface essentially works like the majority of other messenger apps. There is the option to provide a username so that others can search for you, although if you’re mindful of your online data privacy, then this isn’t advisable – any user can search for your username and then message you through the Telegram app.

Telegram Contacts

Telegram is also available on desktops (MacOS, Windows, and Linux), as with many other messenger systems. However, partially because the software uses mobile numbers as identifiers, you are required to register your account via the mobile app(s) first. Telegram then sends you a verification code via SMS which will activate the app on your desktop device.

Government Censorship of Telegram Messenger

As Telegram is a messenger app that can prevent mass surveillance and censorship, it’s banned in quite a few regions. If you live in one of the following countries, using Telegram will be pretty much impossible there:

Countries where Telegram is restricted or banned
Thailand, Russia, Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, India, Hong Kong, Germany, Cuba, China, Belarus, Bahrain, Azerbaijan

As of April 26, 2023, Telegram was completely banned in Brazil for a few days. That is due to allegations that the app was used by neo-nazis to incite school attacks. Telegram refused to give the data and cooperate with the court. Therefore, the app was shut down nationwide.

And that’s not the first time when Telegram had problems in Brazil. The app was also suspended in 2022 for failing to freeze accounts accused of spreading disinformation ahead of the country’s recent presidential election.

Therefore, if you’re tired of Telegram getting shut down every 5 minutes,  you can use a VPN to change your location, for stable and trouble-free use. That way, you won’t have to worry about app bans and and suspensions. Plus, you’ll be able to use Telegram even in highly restricted countries.

Bypass restrictions with NordVPN

Pros and cons of Telegram

Pros of TelegramCons of Telegram
Secret ChatsNot all messages are end-to-end encrypted
Open-sourceCollects some personal data (IP addresses, contacts, etc.)
Excellent interfaceRequires mobile number
Two-step authentication
Self-destructing accounts

As you can see, Telegram has quite a few benefits. You can use Secret Chats for private and encrypted messages. Moreover, it’s open-source, which means that Telegram is quite flexible and community-driven. Plus, it ensures safety by implementing two-step authentication, self-destructing messages, and account termination.

Nevertheless, it’s not a perfect messaging app. It does collect some of your data, and you have to manually enable E2EE for privacy. Luckily, you can solve most of these problems with a trustworthy VoIP VPN.


Overall, Telegram is one of the most secure and private messaging applications on the market. With Secret Chats, self-destructing messages, and other safety features, the app provides its users with peace of mind. However, like any other application, you have to use it responsibly by not revealing too much personal information.

And for those who want to amplify their security and privacy, getting a VPN is a wise decision. A provider, such as NordVPN, can protect your online activities from being tracked or monitored. So, enjoy a safe and versatile messaging experience with Telegram.

What are your thoughts on Telegram? Do you use it with a VPN to stay safe? Let us know in the comments!

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You may also like to read:
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Is Telegram safe and legit?

Telegram is legit and secure, but not by default. You need to turn on Secret Chats to turn on end-to-end encryption and prevent snooping. Moreover, Telegram archives and keeps your actual IP address for over 12 months. To avoid problems, you need NordVPN to encrypt your entire data and keep you private.

Is Telegram safer than WhatsApp?

Yes, Telegram is more secure than WhatsApp. The former doesn’t collect as much metadata and is not connected to Facebook. However, you need to turn on Secret Chats to enable end-to-end encryption.

What is the downside of Telegram?

The biggest downside of Telegram is that it doesn’t have end-to-end encryption by default. You need to access Secret Chats to prevent snooping. But you need to secure your whole network if you want to stay safe while using Telegram. Thus, get NordVPN and prevent digital threats.

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  1. Rick

    As far as I’m concerned, they can shove Telegram you know where. Twice I have been banned from a channel by admin on that channel and who love to have someone tell me how you get banned from a channel that you can not even make a comment on, what a joke. And then I got banned from a channel that I had left, and the reason I left was to kinda maybe reset that channel as I was having issues, now it says I am banned from making comments after I rejoined. It is just a joke of a platform and really don’t know of any that are any good on here.

  2. Rick

    Telegram sign is about as moronic as you can get. I have been locked out again because it sent 2 codes and I enter the wrong one and after a couple of times it tells me I have too many attempts and have to try later, what kind of crap is that. Can they not set up a security question system or send an activation to your email, no these morons just lock you out, what a low level app

  3. Lukas

    Russian authorities lifted their ban on the Telegram messaging app, citing the company’s willingness to help with its counterterrorism efforts (basically meaning that Russian government can read all what you write).

    Anybody knows if Signal does the same?

    1. Seven

      Keep in mind that Telegram channels are NOT encrypted. Telegram tells you that upfront as this method is to communicate with the public at large.
      Secret chats, video and voice calls are end and encrypted.
      Standard chats are server side encrypt w/ keys geographically separated and distributed.

      Here’s the problem: Signal was created by the same spooky regime change outfits that fund the Tor Project. The money primarily comes through the federal government’s premier Internet Freedom venture capital outfit: Open Technology Fund, which works closely with the State Department’s regime change arm and is funded through several layers of Cold War CIA cutouts — including Radio Free Asia and the Broadcasting Board of Governors…Signal, like Tor, is bankrolled by the soft-power wing of the U.S. National Security State as part of a larger “Internet Freedom” initiative — an attempt to leverage the Internet and digital communication tools as a compliment to more traditional elements of psychological warfare and regime change ops. ”
      Now MTProto ” Version v2.0 is formally verified 2, meets IND-CCA criterion and uses RSA-2048, AES-256 cryptographic and SHA256 hashing primitives” which meets the…standard… you are wanting to emphasize.
      Please feel free to search the net to see the security audit of MTProto 2.0

      The main differences I see from the start are as follows:
      Signal has been verified to be funded by the U.S. Govt.
      The U.S. is part of Five Eyes.
      Signal Servers are centralized in the U.S.
      Signal runs on Amazon AWS cloud service — and Amazon is itself a CIA contractor
      So more than likely the Signal encryption protocol can be accessed by the U.S. Govt; They fund it, they own it, they control it.
      Signal is not on F-Droid

      Telegram has not be proven to be funded by any government
      Telegram headquarters is not in either Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or Fourteen Eyes.
      Telegram Servers are decentralized and multi-geographic/multinational.
      Telegram server keys are not stored in the same geographic location as the servers
      Telegram Keys are split between 2 countries.
      Telegram is on F-Droid
      Telegram servers are to be fully open sourced this year.

  4. Lance

    Telegram’s use by terrorists in the past definitely discourages me from giving it a try, whatever secure features the program may have!

    1. Thomas

      That’s ironic considering that you still use internet when terrorists do that too, you should considered living in a cave like the old days of our humanity 😂

    2. CJ

      So you don’t use smartphones, computers or any other form of communication? Last time I checked, terrorists have used those as well.

  5. Without1957

    Sending messages that self-destruct after a time that you can determine seems like a safety feature that could be a big help with privacy. Especially if someone gets access to your phone like the police or a suspicious spouse.

  6. Joe G

    Telegram is useful but it’s far from being 100 % safe and private. But then again, are we really safe anywhere ? All apps have their weaknesses so the best thing to do is to be careful online.

  7. Michal Švec

    Telegram is an app I’d use for low-security conversations where I’m not too worried about the average person trying to hack in. To be blunt, the four-digit security code is awful and reminds me of those old bicycle locks that had three-digit security codes. Sooner or later, you were going to crack them. This doesn’t appear to be a useless program, it’s just not something you use for anything serious.

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