WhatsApp vs Telegram vs Signal: Which One is Better? Detailed Comparison | How To KR

Today, with over 2 billion active monthly users, WhatsApp is the rising messaging service in the world. Telegram accounts for 400 million people and Signal is a 10-20 million active user ballpark per month. If we look at the rough numbers, it is clear that WhatsApp is wildly popular and basically omnibusable, while the Telegram is catching up. That being said, the figures don't all tell you and that's why we are comparing WhatsApp with Telegram versus Signal in detail. In this report, we thoroughly evaluate and discuss the security models of the three messaging services.

1. Security

First of all, I wanted to begin with security as it is the subject of the three messaging services most controversial. Let's begin, with WhatsApp's security model, in this battle against Telegram and Signal.


WhatsApp, as we all know, is encrypted from end to end and is one of the key messaging platforms for mass E2E. And most of all, encryption is enabled by default, covering all types of WhatsApp communication, be it messages, audio or video calling or WhatsApp Web. That said, if you discover that WhatsApp uses the Free Whisper Systems encryption protocol — which is the company behind the Signal Messenger — you'd be shocked.

The cryptographic protocol is called the Signal protocol and it is fully open-source. In addition, other security experts have tested the protocol and used it in other messaging systems as well. Besides this, WhatsApp now has a fantastic native device locker on the user's side. First, you can also trigger 2FA on WhatsApp, which is commendable again. Having said this, keep in mind that WhatsApp does not encrypt the backup files.

Often, the metadata used for communicating between two endpoints is not encrypted. This is one of WhatsApp 's biggest critiques of the safety model. While metadata does not permit someone to read your messages, it allows authorities to know who and where and for how long you have sent messages. In any case, WhatsApp has end-to-end encryption for security purposes and really outshines most of the competitors.


There were significant concerns about its safety model with respect to Telegram. Although Telegram is marketed as an end-to - end service, it is not by default for E2E encryption. You only transmit your messages through end-to - end encryption if you use the "Chat Secret" method. Messages on the customer's hand can be decrypted only. For regular telegram conversations, the messages are not encrypted by E2E, but by encryption of the client-server during transit and rest.

This ensures that the message on your computer is encrypted and decrypted on the server of Telegram. Once more, messages are encrypted on the server and sent for final decryption to the recipient 's computer. As you can see, Telegram has server-side coding keys and can handle your usual chats in principle.

In addition, Telegram uses its own MTProto encryption protocol, which is a big concern. The use of a tried and tested protocol like the Signal protocol is a simpler and much more reliable way for security researchers to introduce encryption. Notice that MTProto is closed-source so that the Telegram server-side code is not audited and scrutinized.

Telegram groups do not accept E2E encryption when they go to the user's side since Secret Chat which is meant for individual users only. Furthermore, you can't use the Hidden Chat if you use the Telegram web software on Windows or Linux. However, the users of macOS are covered. The good thing, though, is that Telegram provides a two-stage authentication, along with an integrated passcode lock.


Signal is by far the best to protect privacy of users and is ahead of WhatsApp and Telegram for miles. As mentioned above, Signal uses the Signal Protocol for open-source encoding  to implement end-to-end encryption. Like WhatsApp, E2E encryption encompasses every mode of signal communication.

While WhatsApp encrypts messages and calls (and for most people, this should be enough), Signal goes one step further and even encrypts the metadata. Signal has developed a new way of communicating between the sender and destination to protect user privacy from all corners, which is called Sealed Sender. Ultimately, nobody will know with Sealed Sender — not even Signal — who is messaging whom.  

Moreover, Signal offers you amazing privacy features that will improve the privacy and protection of your messaging experience. For example, passcode or biometric can be applied to lock signals. The app and recent screen can then be blocked from 2FA and a screenshot option. Recently, before submitting images, Signal automatically added a new feature to blur faces. It's fine, okay? Signal, not to mention, encrypts all local 4-digit passphrase files by default. And you can also do so if you want to create an encrypted local backup. Signal is above WhatsApp and Telegram in the area of security and privacy, making it the best messaging device of the three.

2. Features


WhatsApp provides all the requisite features and is pretty good. You can chat anonymously, group yourself (up to 256 people) or distribute your messages simultaneously to many contacts. WhatsApp now provides video calls with up to 16 individuals which is useful in addition to audio calls.

In addition, WhatsApp provides a distinctive feature which neither telegram nor signal offers. Yes, I 'm talking about the status of WhatsApp. The users love this, because their thoughts and emotions can be conveyed to their closed ones. In a way, WhatsApp is not only a messages service but a social media site.

You can transfer all kinds of WhatsApp files forward and the cap for file sizes is 100 MB. You can even post your contacts online, and I'm sure that this is a beneficial feature for many people. And as WhatsApp is intended for general users, it provides seamless backup and restores features via cloud services such as Google Drive and iCloud. What's more, there is a completely free cloud backup. Not to mention, the newly dark mode has been added to the superb WhatsApp.


Telegram is well ahead of WhatsApp and Signal as far as apps are concerned. Telegram has so many features that it is daunting to many people. You can start by chatting individually and build groups and channels, like WhatsApp. But Telegram's main focus is the ability to hold almost 200,000 members in a single, insane community. In addition, Telegram offers other functionalities to handle groups including surveys , questionnaires, hashtags, bots, etc.

To say no, users are free to upload and host telegram files to 1,5GB (as opposed to 100MB) which is another bonker, WhatsApp file size limit. You also have voice calls for people, other than that. That said, Telegram hasn't got a video call yet. It may be the only omission, but it is a major omission.

Telegram also has a self-destructive timer that helps you to set a time and send messages. The message is deleted from both ends after the time is over. In addition, you can edit messages sent that are normally not found in messaging applications.

Functions such as message preparation, the ability to send uncompression files, the management of granular alerts, themes, sharing locations live and more are also available. To note, hidden chat which allows you to talk about encryption end-to-end.


Since Signal is primarily a privacy-based messaging service, some consumer-friendly features are missing. You have secure texts, voices and video calls and all communications are encrypted from end to end. In addition, you can build classes, but can not send messages simultaneously to multiple contacts. Note that Signal doesn't allow video / audio group calls from now on.

Moreover, you have the capability to send a one-time visible file, such as the disappearing messages similar to self-destruct messages from Telegram. For me, "Note to Self" is the best feature of Signal. In comparison, to give you messages, you don't have to build an individual member group. The feature is native to Signal, and you can identify your ideas and thoughts with friends and your family.

In addition, Signal allows you to relay voice calls to their servers so that your identity is shielded from your contacts. The app is a bit like a VPN, but Signal provides an optimized alternative to mask your IP address. You can also allow incognito keyboards, use Dark mode and delete old messages on a single stroke while taping Signal, and of course, use the powerful photo editor to blur faces and private details from images.

Emojis and some privacy stickers are available, but in comparison with WhatsApp and Telegram they are very small. In summary, Signal does have some of its best privacy but may struggle to provide infinite customization options for users.

Conclusion: WhatsApp vs Telegram vs Signal

When we drive by, it is clear that Signal is a very protected communication service and a lot better than WhatsApp and Telegram. Nonetheless, WhatsApp isn't far from embracing end-to-end encryption and still has some excellent consumer-focused apps. The current issue with WhatsApp is its Facebook relationship that will impact messaging in the coming days.

Ultimately, Telegram is not the best safety tool, but potentially it gives you encrypted messages and you need to learn the other features it provides. Besides that, Telegram 's endless apps are absolutely unrivaled and a treat for users and community administrators.

In addition, in order to reconcile your privacy and your feature requirements, you have to make the final decision. I will pick WhatsApp directly as long as Facebook is unable to make any major changes. But I'd be the first person on the Facebook day to sail to Signal

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