Whatsapp vs Telegram vs Signal: A feature by feature comparison

Whatsapp has finally declared that they are going ahead with the implementation of their controversial privacy policy. This comes after a brief pause that the company took in implementation of the same policy after a public uproar against it and users deciding to leave WhatsApp for competition apps like Telegram or Signal. But, now that the company has decided to implement the policy, the debate about which messaging App is better has started once again.

Before we get into comparing the three popular messaging Apps, let us first take a brief look at the similarities. All three Apps work over internet and cuts into the telecom company’s revenue for messaging. All three of them can be used as Apps downloaded from Android store or Apple store.

Not a deal breaker for many, but needs to be mentioned that Telegram and Signal has a separate iPad app for users, something that the WhatsApp does not have. Basic features like pinning a chat or ability of creating groups is common in all the three apps. While Telegram and Signal had self-destructing messages (messages that gets automatically deleted) earlier, WhatsApp launched it recently thereby making this also a common feature among all three Apps.

Now, let us take a look at the features that separates these Apps from each other.
Group Members

Groups are often the most interesting feature of these messaging Apps. People form groups based on interests or activity. Members of groups can communicate with each other within the closed network. This also helps moderator of a service or event to talk to multiple people or a group to discuss an issue on a common platform.

WhatsApp has a limitation of 256 people in every group i.e. if you have reached the limit of 256 people in a group, you will need to create a separate group. In the same place Signal allows 1000 people to join a group and Telegram allows 200,000 people to join a group.

Pinned Message in Groups

While all the 3 Apps give the user the ability to pin a chat to the top at individual level, Telegram and Signal provides additional functionality of pinning a message to the top in a group chat. This is not something WhatsApp has so far. This becomes useful when Group Admins want to set a priority notice for the members or new joinees.

Ability to hide phone number from Message contacts

We still do not understand the full importance or use case of this feature especially in a personal messaging app but Telegram provides the ability to a user to hide your phone number from the people you message. Signal and WhatsApp doesn’t have this functionality yet. Neither is it listed in the list of upcoming features for either of the apps.

Folder Structure for chats

This is one of our favourite feature, which only Telegram provides. You can arrange your chats within neatly labelled folder structure. It cannot be denied that chats are becoming equivalent to mail and a folder structure is very helpful to arrange chats. Unfortunately, WhatsApp and Signal doesn’t provide this ability to its users.

Polls in Group Chat

Another interesting feature that is exclusive to Telegram is the ability of members to organize a poll within a group. This is an excellent feature in a large group to create consensus on a particular issue or to gauge public interest when a decision is to be taken. Once again, WhatsApp and Signal still doesn’t have this feature.

Disable Read notifications

A feature that is quite popular among users of WhatsApp is to turn off the blue tick. This is helpful when you do not want others to know that you have read the message. The feature is also available on Signal app. But Telegram doesn’t have this feature yet.

Edit message after sent

How much did we wish at times that we have not sent the message that we did? WhatsApp brought in this feature a few days ago where you could delete a message from the recipient’s mobile even after you had sent it. However, Telegram has an even better feature. It allows you to edit a message after you have sent it. Users of WhatsApp and Signal dearly miss this feature.

If you are purely looking from a feature perspective, Telegram is hands down the winner If you are concerned about privacy, then Signal wind the battle since it doesn’t store any data. The product features will continue to roll out and Telegram vs WhatsApp vs Signal war will continue to toughen up. The customers will surely benefit from this war. However, it is necessary to keep a regular backup of your messages and be ready to shift whenever there is a need.