Telegram is one of the most used instant messaging applications in the world. This application not only has greater privacy and security than other competitors such as WhatsApp, but it also has many very interesting additional functions, such as the possibility of creating bots to automate certain tasks, more options to chat with our contacts, and much more.
One aspect that we must take into account is that if you do not configure the application correctly, it may not be as private as we would like. Today in this article we are going to explain all the privacy and security options of Telegram, with the aim that you can use it with the greatest possible privacy and security.
Privacy options that you must configure
When we create a Telegram account, we can register it with a username (nick) and also use our real phone number so that our contacts can find us. The first thing that we are going to be able to configure in Telegram is our profile, which is public if we do not make certain settings in the privacy section:
- Profile photo: this profile photo can be seen by all the contacts that have our username or phone number, even if we do not have them as contacts. Through the configuration options section, we can limit that only our contacts can see this profile picture.
- Biography : This information that you put in the biography will be seen by everyone, whether they are contacts or not. In this case, it is not possible to hide the biography from only the contacts, so you must take it into account and not put relevant personal information. You can put a small description but without giving any important information, because anyone who has your username (nick) or telephone number will be able to see it.
If we go to the ” Settings ” section we will be able to see a section called ” Privacy and security “. This is where we are going to be able to configure each and every one of the parameters related to our privacy and account security, it is the most important part and we must configure it correctly to avoid any risk.
Next, you can see the configuration that we have applied to maintain our security and privacy at the highest level, however, we are going to explain all the functions in detail, so that you can assess if in your case it is worth configuring a certain parameter.
If we ever receive anonymous messages from a certain user, we can easily block it without any problem, in fact, we could also block any user that we have in the contact list so that they cannot communicate with us. If we block a user, they will not be able to talk to us, add us to groups, see the profile photos that we have configured, nor will they be able to see the connection status, the last time we have connected or if we are online at a certain moment.
If you have a user harassing you, the best thing you can do is block that contact directly, so that they cannot do anything or see any information about our Telegram account.
In this menu we can configure if we want someone to see our phone number. In this menu we have two options:
- Who can see the number : this option allows all users with the username or only your contacts to see the phone number associated with that Telegram account. For maximum security, it is recommended to always set it to “Nobody”, so that no one can obtain our phone number from the Telegram username.
- Who can find you by number : if a user enters your phone number in the contact search engine, your contact will appear directly so that they can chat. If we set it to “everyone” this means that anyone with your phone number will be able to reach you. If you set it up in “My contacts”, then only the contacts you have set up will be able to do it.
- Exceptions : the application also allows us to add exceptions to the settings that we have configured at the top, in case we want someone, even if they are not our contact, to be able to see our number or find us. Groups can also be added in addition to the users we want.
It would be desirable for Telegram to incorporate the possibility of choosing “Nobody” in the “who can find you by your number” section, not even your own contacts could do it. Let’s imagine that you have a work contact added to your address book, and this contact could locate you on Telegram and start talking to you. It would be ideal to separate this configuration, because not everyone we have on the agenda is family or friends. In addition, that contact could see our bio that we have configured, and also the profile photos easily.
Last time and online
This feature is essential to have greater privacy, and that nobody can see when we are in contact or when was the last time we connected. In this case Telegram allows us three different configurations: everyone, my contacts and nobody. To have maximum privacy we can choose “Nobody”, but then we will not be able to see the last time or online status of our contacts, it is something that you must take into account.
If you select “My contacts”, only your mobile contacts will be able to see this information.
Of course, in this menu you will also be able to configure the exceptions that you want. For example, you could select “Nobody” and then add several exceptions so that your closest contacts do see this information.
Profile photos and videos
In this case, the application allows us to select between “Everyone” or “My contacts”, it does not allow us to select the “No one” option so that absolutely no one can see our profile picture. If we don’t want anyone to see our profile picture, then what we can do is not put a profile picture on our account.
Of course, we have the possibility of adding exceptions, both to allow them to be seen and not to allow them to be seen. If you want maximum security and that no one sees your profile picture, then the best thing to do is to not put any photos in the profile picture section at all.
In this menu we can limit who can call us through Telegram, in this case we do have all the options available such as “Everyone”, “My contacts” and also “Nobody”. Of course, we will be able to add exceptions both to allow these calls and to deny these calls. If we choose “Everyone” and we do not want certain contacts to call, then we have to register them in the “Do not allow” section, and if we select “Nobody” then we have to add some contact in the “Allow” section.
Finally, we have the possibility to use peer-to-peer communication without going through the Telegram servers, but we will be able to configure it without problems so that all voice traffic goes through the Telegram servers.
groups and channels
If you hate that some of your contacts and even strangers add you to SPAM groups or channels, then this is the configuration that you have to make. We have two options, that anyone can add us to a group or channel, or that only our contacts can add us to these groups. The application also gives us the option to add exceptions, both allow and disallow, for greater versatility.
It would be desirable for the application to also incorporate the “Nobody” option so that no one can add us to any group or channel, so we won’t have to configure the “do not allow” exceptions manually, since it takes much longer.
Security Options Available
Telegram allows us to configure some very interesting security-related options, for example, we will be able to configure a lock code to open the application . If we want to block the app, we simply have to click on the padlock button that will appear above the chats, with the aim of “blocking” the app until we unlock it in order to use it.
Here we can activate a code to unlock the app , in our opinion, taking into account that currently we all use biometrics to access the smartphone, or a password, PIN or pattern, it is not entirely necessary to activate this configuration, however, it is a layer more security in case someone enters our smartphone, since they will not be able to access Telegram if they do not know this unlock code.
This application also allows us to add a two-step authentication password . Although we successfully verify our account when logging in from another device, it is mandatory to put the two-step verification password if we want to log in. This security measure is very important to prevent someone from taking full control of our Telegram account. Other messaging applications such as WhatsApp have also incorporated it, to prevent or mitigate account theft.
In this same section we will also be able to see all the devices where we have logged in with our account. Both the current device that we are using will appear, as well as the rest of the devices that we have used in the past and that have the session active, for example, we have logged in on several smartphones and in the web browsers of different computers:
For security reasons, all sessions will automatically close if they have no activity in 6 months, although this parameter is also configurable in order to adapt to our needs.
Other privacy and security options
At the bottom of the “Privacy and security” section we will be able to access other configuration options:
- Delete account : If we do not use the account for a certain time, we can request that the account be deleted automatically. For example, we can put a time of 1 year of inactivity. This process is irreversible, our account will be deleted along with all the messages and contacts we have.
- Bot and websites : in these options we have the possibility to delete any payment and shipping data that we have configured, in addition, we can also see all the websites where we have logged in with the messaging platform. This does not need any configuration.
- Contacts : here we can delete the contacts synchronized with the platform, choose if we want to synchronize the current contacts and even suggest frequent contacts. If you want to “clean” contacts, you must first unsync contacts and then delete them, otherwise they will automatically re-synchronize.
Finally, we have two other additional options related to secret chats. In this case we have:
- Preview of the maps : we can choose between «Telegram», Google or none.
- Link Preview – We can enable or disable.
An important aspect is that the app does not store any type of data about the links we send, we must remember that this only applies to secret chats.
Telegram has a large number of configuration options to increase our privacy on the instant messaging platform, it is highly recommended that you follow our recommendations to have the maximum possible privacy. If you want to remain fairly anonymous, our recommendation is that you don’t put any profile photos or bios, and don’t add your phone number or app profile links with your username. Finally, to have maximum privacy, consider blocking the time of last connection or if you are online.
Regarding the security of the application, our recommendation is that you activate the verification in two steps, yes or yes, to avoid account theft. You should also check which computers you have a session started on, and disconnect it if it is no longer in use, without the need for the 6 months that we have configured to pass.