Celebrating 6 Years of Telegram

We launched Telegram 6 years ago, on August 14, 2013 – and immediately set to work on the next update. That‘s how it’s been ever since.

After a little while we noticed that our work not only brings progress to Telegram – but also results in the evolution of messaging as a whole. It is heartwarming to see our solutions and design decisions adopted as de facto standards across the board.

To keep you entertained while we‘re working on this month’s second update, we've compiled a brief history of Telegram. It ended up rather on the ‘humongous’ side of ‘brief’ – but it's not like the next update is tomorrow either. So read on.

Oh, and if you want to give us a gift, bring two of your best friends to Telegram today.


A poster celebrating 6 years of Telegram

A (Not So) Brief History of Telegram

For some reason, we started writing this backwards – from the latest update to the primordial summer of 2013. And then it was too late to change the order because the guy who compiled the post said he would go on a hunger strike if we tried.

So if you're a fan of chronology, please jump to the end and scroll up from there. (By the way, we decided we're going to keep this post up to date as new updates arrive.)

September 2019

Scheduled Messages, Reminders, Custom Cloud Themes and More Privacy

The end of summer brought scheduled messages and reminders to better keep track of important tasks and appointments. On the visual side, shareable Custom Cloud Themes came to all platforms, along with more animated emoji.

An important privacy option was added for those who need it most – Who Can Find Me By My Phone Number. This new setting can prevent random users (or government organizations) from being able to match a number from their device's contacts to your Telegram account.

On Telegram since September 2019:

August 2019

Silent Messages, Slow Mode, Admin Titles and More

The August update brought a way to send silent messages – which result in a notification without sound. We also added custom titles and a slow mode for group admins. But you probably remember this, it's only been a week.

Following the success of animated stickers, this update also introduced animated emoji for ❤️, 👍, 😒, 😳 and 🥳. More followed.

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On Telegram since August 2019:

July 2019

Animated Stickers Done Right

The July update introduced animated stickers. We managed to achieve a smooth 60 FPS at just 20-30 KB per sticker. Animated stickers consume less bandwith than static ones and less battery than GIFs, while commanding more attention than the two combined.

Here are some sample animated sets in case you missed them: Hot Cherry, Tidy Tie Tom, Resistance Dog, Fred the Pug, Melie the Cavy, Earl the Wolf, Egg Yolk

These stickers are powered with uranium and dreams and are guaranteed to keep going forever.

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On Telegram since July 2019:


June 2019

Location-Based Chats, Adding Contacts Without Phone Numbers and More

The June update focused on making it easier to add people to contacts. A universal Add button was introduced to all new chats, making it possible to add users to contacts even if you don't know their number yet.

A new Add People Nearby section was created to quickly exchange numbers with people close to you. The new section also allows creating location-based public chats.

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On Telegram since June 2019:


May 2019, Second Update

Focused Privacy, Discussion Groups, Seamless Web Bots and More

The second May update made Telegram Privacy Settings even more flexible. You can add whole groups to ‘Never Share’ or ‘Always Share’ exceptions. Settings will adjust automatically as people join and leave the groups.

On Telegram, your phone number was never visible to random people in groups, the default being ‘My Contacts’. This update offered even more control via Settings > Privacy & Security > Phone Number.

The update also introduced an easier way to integrate web services with Telegram, adding one-tap authorization via bots. Last but not least, it offered two new ways of adding comments to channels – via Comments.app and connected discussion groups. (We didn't start the flame war.)

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On Telegram since May 31, 2019:


May 2019, First Update

Archived Chats, a New Design on Android and More

The first May update introduced Archived Chats. Unmuted chats pop out of the archive with the next incoming message – but muted chats stay archived forever (or until they generate a notification via a mention or reply). An unlimited number of chats can be pinned in the archive.

Android design got a major overhaul. Aside from the visual improvements, this update added a three-lines-per-chat view option for the Android chat list (similar to the iOS default), as well as bulk actions in the chats list to easily delete, archive or mute multiple chats at once.

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On Telegram since May 9, 2019:

March 2019

Taking Back Our Right to Privacy

Before the March update, you could delete your messages within 48 hours of sending them. As of this update, you can delete any message you've ever sent or received in any private chat, there's no time limit. This also applies to clearing entire chats. The deleted messages don't leave a mark in the chat.

This update also introduced a setting for Anonymous Forwards, allowing you to control when messages forwarded from your account link back to it. This way people you chat with have no verifiable proof you ever sent them anything.

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On Telegram since March 2019:

February 2019

Autoplaying Videos, Automatic Downloads and Multiple Accounts

Following the February update, smaller videos start playing without sound when they reach your screen. Pressing the volume buttons on your device unmutes them.

This update also introduced presets for autodownload settings to switch between Low, Medium, High and Custom data consumption in a few taps. Default settings for data usage have become more generous but depend on the affordability of mobile data in each particular country.

As of this update, iOS users can also log in to Telegram with multiple accounts from one app, easily switch between them and get notifications. Support for multiple accounts was added to Android in December 2017.

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On Telegram since February 2019

January 2019, Second Update

Chat Backgrounds 2.0: Make Your Own

The second update in January brought chat wallpapers to version 2.0, adding support for motion and blur effects, plain color backgrounds and patterns, as well as an option to share backgrounds via links and find new ones in search.

For those who appreciate art history, the classical Telegram backgrounds which were used at launch can be found here.

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On Telegram since January 31, 2019

January 2019, First Update

Group Permissions, Undo Delete and More

The first January update brought group permissions, allowing admins to restrict all members from posting specific kinds of content or even from messaging altogether. The maximum size for groups was doubled to 200,000 members.

The update also added an ‘Undo’ option after deleting chats or clearing history. It's like a time machine, but with fewer paradoxes.

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On Telegram since January 21, 2019


2018


December 2018, Second Update

Polls: Bringing Choice to Communities

As of the second update from December '18, Telegram users can create polls in groups and channels, letting group members vote anonymously.

Poll bots have been available since the dawn of the Bot Platform.

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On Telegram since December 22, 2018

December 2018, First Update

Custom Languages, Instant View 2.0 and More

This first December update in 2018 revolutionized app interfaces, adding custom languages – whether that's Māori, Scottish Gaelic or Transliterated Klingon. Qapla'. Users can share translated language packs with dedicated sharing links.

Everyday be talk like a pirate day if ye've downloaded the pirate speak chest. Babel fish now optional.

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On Telegram since December 10, 2018

October 2018

Introducing Telegram 5.0 for iOS

Telegram for iOS was rebuilt from scratch for this update – using the Swift programming language. The new client is slicker, faster and more battery-friendly. If the old Telegram was a race car, this one is a race car with jet engines and a well-caffeinated driver.

New badge counter settings were added on iOS, allowing users to exclude messages from muted chats or count unread chats instead of messages.

The native macOS client added swipe gestures to navigate interfaces. MacBook Pro owners got touch bar support.

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On Telegram since October 2018

August 2018

Chat Export Tool, Better Notifications and More

This update brought an easy way to download copies of your chats, including photos and other media using Telegram Desktop. August '18 also saw the birth of Notification Exceptions – a way to customize notification settings for particular users.

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On Telegram since August 2018

July 2018

Introducing Telegram Passport

Telegram Passport was launched as a unified authorization service for ICOs, financial services and other platforms based on real-life ID. You no longer have to upload scans of your ID each time a different service requires it.

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On Telegram since July 2018

June 2018

Replace Media, Share vCards, Mark as Unread, 2X Voice Messages, and More

The June '18 update brought the ability to replace photos and videos when editing messages – in case you accidentally sent a picture of your lunch instead of the company's new logo.

As of this update, voice and video messages can be played at 2x speed and users can mark chats as read or unread.

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On Telegram since June 2018:

March 2018

Sticker Search, Multiple Photos and More

Since they were introduced, stickers have become a key method of communication for many Telegram users. As of this update, users can search for new sticker packs.

I'm not addicted to sending stickers. I can stop any time.

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200,000,000 Monthly Active Users

Telegram has never been promoted with ads, so every user joined because they were invited by others. Telegram is more than a messaging app, it's the idea that everyone on the planet has a right to be free.

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On Telegram since March 2018:

February 2018

Two updates were launched on February 6, 2018.

Streaming and Auto-Night Mode on Android

This was when the apps got streaming support, allowing you to view videos without waiting for them to fully download. This update also introduced auto-night mode for Android users, shielding weary eyes from bright light when browsing memes in bed.

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Telegram Login for Websites

Another update introduced the Telegram Login Widget for external websites, empowering businesses to use Telegram bots to automate anything from customer support to accepting payments or tracking shipments.

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On Telegram since February 2018

January 2018

Two updates were launched on January 31, 2018.

Telegram X: Progress through Competition

Two Telegram X clients were unveiled as alternatives to the main iOS and Android apps – built from the ground up to be faster and easier to use, while featuring smooth animations and a sleek design. Telegram X for iOS has since become the native client on iPhones around the world.

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TDLib - Build Your Own Telegram

The Telegram Database Library helps developers make their own versions of Telegram – and was used to create Telegram X for Android. TDLib handles network implementation, encryption, and local storage, giving third-party developers more time to focus on the fun parts of app design. All the API methods are fully documented and the code is available on GitHub.

Both Telegram X and the Telegram Bot API are an example of what can be done with this library.

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On Telegram since January 2018


2017


December 2017

Themes, Multiple Accounts and More

Themes came to iOS, with simple ‘Day’ and ‘Night’ options. We considered adding a ‘Twilight’ option but it got sabotaged by lovesick vampires and werewolves.

Android added support for multiple accounts, to quickly switch between up to three profiles (or personalities) without logging out.

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On Telegram since December 2017

November 2017

Albums, Saved Messages and Better Search

Albums and Saved Messages came to Telegram in November as a way to cut down on clutter and keep things organized. Multiple media items could be sent as one message, neatly arranged instead of filling up the chat with individual messages and multiple notifications.

Saved Messages brought bookmarks and personal storage, giving users the ability to forward messages there for later reference.

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On Telegram since November 2017

October 2017

Live Locations, Media Player and Languages

October '17 expanded location sharing to include a live feed, useful for finding your friends or seeing how far they are from a destination. The interactive maps support multiple users, so your entire group can share their locations and see each other in one place.

Telegram also expanded its localization, launching the Translations Platform for users to refine the currently-available translations.

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On Telegram since October 2017


August 2017

Better Replies, Stickers & Invitations

Keeping track of replies and mentions was streamlined in August’s update, adding the new ‘@’ badge to the chat list, and ‘@’ button inside chats to jump from mention to mention.

The option to set favorite stickers was added, while groups got the ability to choose official sticker sets.

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On Telegram since August 2017


July 2017

Disappearing Media, Your Bio & More Speed

July’s update added a self-destruct timer for photos and videos to give users the option to send disappearing media in Private Chats.

To help say a little more about themselves, user profiles were given a bio section.

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On Telegram since July 2017


June 2017

Supergroups 10,000: Admin Tools & More

Groups leveled up in June '17, increasing the maximum members to 10,000 and introducing a suite of new tools to manage the masses.

Admin permissions became individual, allowing for specific privileges. So did members’, meaning people could be put under custom restrictions for acting up.

The Recent Actions page was added for admins, showing a summary of all notable group activity within the past 48 hours.

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On Telegram since June 2017


May 2017

Three updates were released on May 18, 2017.

Video Messages and Telescope
Just in time for Summer, video messages were introduced to add another dimension to chats and channels.

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Instant Views for Everyone & a $200K Contest

Instant View grew into a platform for reformatting articles from the Web into lightweight, uniform pages which instantly open in Telegram, rather than a browser. A contest to create new templates was launched.

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Payments for Bots
Bot payments joined the pool party as well, so users could pay for goods and services right in the app.

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On Telegram since May 2017


March 2017

Voice Calls: Secure, Crystal-Clear, AI-Powered

March '17 brought voice calls to Telegram, featuring end-to-end encryption, crisp sound and incredible speed.

The video editor received a compression slider to change the quality at which a video is sent.

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On Telegram since March 2017


February 2017

Custom Themes

Custom themes first came to the Android phone app, along with a theme editor, giving users the ability to recolor individual elements and share their creations with others.

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Telegram Desktop reaches version 1.0 – and it's BEAUTIFUL

Telegram Desktop, first launched in January '14, reached version 1.0, with a new design, refined animations and custom theme support, in addition to all its earlier features.

The GMail bot made its debut as well, allowing users to condense all their communications into one platform.

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Telegram for Android Wear 2.0

Telegram came to wrists with its Android Wear 2.0 version, featuring fully-functional messaging capability, plus added themes to keep things chic.

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On Telegram since February 2017


January 2017

Unsend Messages, Network Usage, and More

Telegram rang in the New Year with a completely new feature - the ability to unsend messages sent within the past 48 hours.

To keep track of users' data consumption, Network Usage was added to Settings.

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On Telegram since January 2017


2016


December 2016, Second Update

Meet the Telegraph API for Logins and Stats

The Telegraph API opened to the public in the final update of 2016. Publishing and organizing articles gained automated support with the new @Telegraph bot.

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On Telegram since December 20, 2016


December 2016, First Update

Pinned Chats and IFTTT Integrations

Conversation management became easier with the option to pin chats to the top of the chat list.

IFTTT integration was introduced to help link Telegram to over 360 services at launch. This gives users control over their accounts on other services straight from the Telegram app – including social media, mail clients and even things like smart appliances or other devices.

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On Telegram since December 7, 2016


November 2016

Instant View, Telegraph, and Other Goodies

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Instant View came in November 2016, instantly loading articles and web pages all inside the Telegram app. Added in the same update, the Telegraph platform is a minimalist word processor compatible with Instant View, designed for quickly publishing documents and articles.

On Telegram since November 2016

This is where wide full-color illustrations for our blog posts end – or begin, depending on which direction you just came from.


October 2016

Gaming Platform 1.0

With winter not far off, Telegram introduced a Games platform that allows users to play games through bots. Players get the chance to challenge friends, while creators have an easy and accessible way to bring their game ideas to life.

On Telegram since October 2016


September 2016

Photo Editor 2.0, Masks and Homemade GIFs

In September ‘16, the time came to improve Telegram’s Photo Editor with fun new decorations like masks, text, stickers and drawings. Additionally, the video editor added the ability to make GIFs out of videos by tapping its new ‘Mute’ button.

On Telegram since September 2016


August 2016

Trending Stickers, Storage and More

A Trending Stickers option was added so popular sticker packs can be easily found and added to one's collection. Groups received previews so prospective members can see what they‘re about and who’s in them before joining the party.

On Telegram since August 2016


June 2016

Drafts, Picture-in-Picture, and More

June '16 brought cross-platform cloud drafts, syncing your unfinished messages across devices. Since then, users have been able to start typing on one device and finish on another. For more multitasking, Picture-in-Picture support was added to let users work and watch simultaneously.

On Telegram since June 2016


May 2016

Edit Messages, New Mentions and More

Fast typers rejoiced as the ability to edit sent messages was introduced in all chats. Mentions were expanded to include users without usernames, and Bots were given their own space in the attachment menu for easy access.

On Telegram since May 2016


April 2016, Second Update

Instant Camera and More 3D Touch

Instant camera was added so users could snap and send photos faster, saving the extra thumb-work to make sure the moment is captured.

On Telegram since April 28, 2016


April 2016, First Update

Bot Platform 2.0

Starting in April 2016, inline bots no longer require you to use a keyboard. These software-controlled friends now immediately present clickable options to get results with no typing required. They were also integrated with services like YouTube and Foursquare for easy video and location sharing.

Sharing and Previews

This update gave users a new way of sharing media between chats, introducing GIF and sticker previews to make the selection process more straightforward.

On Telegram since April 12, 2016


March 2016

Supergroups 5000: Public Groups, Pinned Posts

To keep order as supergroups grew from 1,000 members to 5,000, important announcements could be placed at the top of the screen as pinned messages. Additional moderation tools were introduced that helped prevent spam in public supergroups. This included the ability to report spam, ban a user outright, or simply erase all of their posts from the group.

On Telegram since March 2016


February 2016, Second Update

Channels 2.0 and More

Channels got plenty of new features including admin signatures and silent broadcasts. It became possible to edit your messages in channels and supergroups.

On Telegram since February 24, 2016

February 2016, First Update

Voice Messages 2.0, Secret Chats 3.0 and…

Chatting got easier with raise-to-speak and raise-to-listen functionality, streamlining voice messages by giving a no-tap way to play and record. On the privacy end, users got the ability to restrict who can invite them to groups and channels.

On Telegram since February 12, 2016


January 2016

Introducing Inline Bots

Inline bots make it possible to use bot services in any chat without adding those bots as members – you just start any message with their username and everything that comes after becomes a query for the bot. These utilities can link Wikipedia articles, post YouTube videos or search for GIFs to entertain friends. Unfortunately, while being very good at fetch, they still can't pull a sled – even after all these years.

GIF Revolution

GIF file size was reduced by 95%, making them load 20x faster. Autoplay for all GIFs was enabled to show off their new-found speed.

On Telegram since January 2016


2015


December 2015

Clearing Cache and Reordering Stickers

The space-saving option of clearing cache was introduced, including chat-by-chat specificity. This was coupled with a setting to choose how long to keep media before it gets deleted from the cache (to be re-downloaded from the cloud should you need it again).

On Telegram since December 2015


November 2015

Admins, Supergroups and More

This update added the admin role. Admins have the power to manage group chats and enforce rules. Just in time, as the maximum number of users for group chats grew to 1,000 people with the addition of supergroups.

On Telegram since November 2015


September 2015

Channels: Broadcasting Done Right

September '15 brought channels, the perfect tool for broadcasting messages to the masses. Channels can have unlimited followers, offer view counters for each post and only let the admins post. These one-way chats give updates the spotlight by moving the discussion elsewhere. Channels were quickly adopted in regions where freedom of speech falls short.

On Telegram since September 2015


August 2015

Shared Links and Recent Searches

Telegram delivered quality of life updates in August '15, showing shared links on chat info pages as well as a list of recent searches when beginning a new one.

On Telegram since August 2015


July 2015

In-App Media Playback and Search in Chats

This update added the ability to view media, enjoy music and watch videos from external sources directly in the app. Chat-specific search was implemented as well, making it easier to find messages from a particular conversation.

On Telegram since July 2015


June 2015

Telegram Bot Platform

In June of 2015, Telegram released the Bot API and created a platform for users to create and publish their own bots. Bots exist to add features to Telegram and make user's lives easier - bots can handle payments, moderate groups, fetch emails and much more.

Telegram on Apple Watch

Telegram also received Apple Watch support. With a flick of the wrist, users can view recent chats, reply with stickers, dictate messages and more. Anything that can't fit on the watch display gets a shortcut to open on your phone instead.

On Telegram since June 2015


May 2015

Custom Sticker Sets

Since May '15, stickers can be uploaded and shared as sticker sets. All apps got a dedicated sticker panel. Tapping on any sticker shows its set and lets you add the lot.

On Telegram since May 2015


April 2015

Migrating Existing Group Chats to Telegram

Invite links were added so users can easily bring their friends to group chats, even when those friends are lost in another messenger.

Places, Captions and more

Users gained the ability to caption photos, so the context and content can be sent as one message.

Active Sessions and Two-Step Verification

Telegram rolled out an essential privacy feature in April 2015 - Two-step Verification – adding an extra layer of protection by requiring a password when logging into a new device.

Link Previews

Link previews were introduced to help users see where a link leads without having to click on it and find out for themselves.

On Telegram since April 2015


March 2015, Second Update

Sending Files On Steroids — And More

This update brought the ability to send multiple files at once and trim videos before sending them.

On Telegram since March 25, 2015


March 2015, First Update

Reinventing Group Chats: Replies, Mentions, Hashtags and More

March '15 made messaging more convenient – Telegram added replies, mentions and hashtags. Replies make it easier to keep continuity in group chats, while mentions help get someone's attention and hashtags allow users to label messages for future use.

On Telegram since March 19, 2015


February 2015, Second Update

Photo Editor and Passcode Lock

February '15 delivered the most powerful photo editor among messaging apps – featuring auto-enhance, crop and rotate functions in its initial version. To keep those photos and chats secure, users were given the option to lock their app with a passcode.

On Telegram since February 25, 2015


February 2015, First Update

Shared Files and Fast Mute

This update introduced the Files tab to better view all documents shared in a particular chat (some media outlets mistakenly thought this was when we introduced sending files). Additionally, the update brought in Mute shortcuts, helping users disable notifications more quickly.

On Telegram since February 1, 2015


January 2015

Stickers Done Right

January '15 saw the first sticker on Telegram. Since then, starting a message with a single emoji brings up a list of emotionally corresponding sticker suggestions.

The first official stickers from Telegram formed the classic Great Minds set. Artists were invited to publish their work on the free and open platform.

On Telegram since January 2015


2014


December 2014

Telegram.me, Changing Numbers, PFS and more

Users with usernames were offered Telegram.me/username links, which open their profile page in Telegram. This update also enabled changing the phone number of a Telegram account. Single-column mode was added for Telegram Desktop, making multitasking easier on smaller screens.

Fun fact: In 2016, Instagram will restrict users from adding Telegram.me (and Snapchat) links to their bios.

On Telegram since December 2014


November 2014

There were two Telegram updates on November 19, 2014.

Hiding Last Seen Time - Done Right

This update expanded Privacy Settings to cover Last Seen status, allowing unprecedented flexibility with ‘Always Share With’ and ‘Never Share With’ exceptions for individual users.

This was also when account self-destruction was introduced. Telegram doesn‘t aim to accumulate and store your data when you don’t need it anymore. So if you throw away your SIM card and it gets a new owner in 6 months, they won't access your chats.

Material Design on Android, Instant Search for Messages and more

November '14 also delivered Instant Full-Text Search to iOS and Android. Since then you can quickly find any message you ever sent or received on Telegram.

GIF search was first supported on iOS. The Android app got a massive redesign, consistent with material guidelines.

On Telegram since November 2014


October 2014

Public usernames, smaller timers for Secret Chats, and more

October '14 marks the beginning of properly recorded history on Telegram. The first update ever to be described in a blog post brought public usernames, adding the ability to share your Telegram contact without disclosing your phone number.

Secret Chats got a major upgrade, with self-destructing media showing blurred thumbnails and starting the countdown only after they are first opened. This prevented them from disappearing before actually being viewed. This was also when screenshot notifications were first introduced.

Telegram for Android received several updates, adding support for Android Wear and tablets, as well as video compression.

On Telegram since October 2014


September 2014

GIFs, iPad support and broadcast lists on iOS

Telegram has supported iPads since September '14. In this update, the iOS app learned to play GIF animations and added cloud search for messages, as well as adding search by file name to the Shared Documents section. iOS also caught up with Android, adding support for broadcast lists.

On Telegram since September 2014


August 2014

Broadcast lists were first introduced to Android in August '14, only to be replaced with channels a little over a year later.

On Telegram since August 2014


June 2014

Multiple photo upload and more

Telegram for Android caught up with iOS, allowing users to preview photos before sending — as well as select and send many photos at once. Notifications were improved to be more reliable.

On Telegram since June 2014


March 2014

Voice Messages, Delete Messages for both sides in Secret Chats, Language Settings on Android

The March '14 update introduced voice messages to Telegram. Messages deleted in Secret Chats began disappearing for both sides.

Telegram for Android added the option to change the app language in Settings. The first languages to be added were German and Italian.

On Telegram since March 2014


February 2014

New apps, autodownload settings and contact management tools for Android

More Telegram apps entered the fray. An unofficial Telegram app for Web was introduced and later moved to web.tlgr.org to become the official web version. Telegram for Windows Phone was created in a contest for app developers.

Meanwhile, an update introduced autodownload settings and new tools to manage contacts on Android.

On Telegram since February 2014


January 2014

Send documents and files

First thing in 2014, Telegram allowed documents of any type to be sent, including .pdf, .doc, .png, .mp3, etc.

An unofficial Telegram app for PC was announced, which would later become the official Telegram Desktop.

On Telegram since January 2014


2013


December 2013

Crowdsourcing a more secure future

The only significant vulnerability to ever be discovered in the MTProto protocol was fixed during the First Telegram Crypto Contest. The researcher who discovered it was awarded a bounty of $100,000.

On Telegram since December 2013


October 2013

After a contest for Android developers, the alpha version of Telegram for Android was officially launched. Telegram apps got Secret Chats with self-destruct timers.

The MTProto Protocol specification and Telegram API were fully documented and the code of the apps became open source.

On Telegram since October 2013


August 14, 2013

Telegram for iOS was launched.


Congratulations on completing this (not very) brief course on the history of Telegram. You just got an honorary PhD in Instant Messaging – unless you simply jumped down here, in which case you still have a long way 👆to go to get back to the top.

Armed with this much knowledge, you should probably join our Volunteer Support Force. And if that‘s not your cup of tea – just tell us in the comments which feature you didn’t know existed.


August 15, 2019
The Telegram Team