Signal vs Telegram vs WhatsApp: what are the differences and which one takes care of your privacy

We bring you a small article with the main differences between WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal , three very different messaging applications. The first is the one that almost everyone uses, while Telegram is the eternal alternative . On the other hand, Signal focuses on taking better care of your privacy.

We are going to start the article with a table in which we can see what data each of the applications links to your account, which is where you are going to see the biggest internal differences in terms of privacy. Then, we will talk about the functions and options that they offer to the user already in the conversations and groups themselves. We will try not to make you dizzy with technicalities, so that all Howtopit Basics users can understand it well.

Data that is linked to your account

WHATSAPP TELEGRAM SIGNAL
Phone number Phone number Phone number
User ID User ID
Contacts Contacts
Device id Your account name
Advertising data
Shopping history
Approximate location
Phone number
Email
Product interaction
Bug reports
Performance reports
Payment information
Customer Support
Other user content

We are going to start with a very visual table, but one that really helps you get an idea of ​​the philosophies of each product. What you see above is the data that each messaging application links to your account , obtained from the new privacy labels of the Apple App Store applications. With this Apple system, we can know what type of user data each of the applications is collecting.

The huge amount of data that WhatsApp links to your user account stands out above all . In part, because the application implements systems such as payment, and because it wants to know what type of errors and experience each user is having. But this harms your privacy, since it makes Facebook have much more data about you on its servers.

On the other hand, there is Telegram as a middle ground. This application remembers the name you have set, your contacts, your phone number and your user ID. These are very essential data that serves so that when you log in to another device, it is easier to identify yourself and Telegram can save your own contact list, in case you enter from your PC or another mobile without contacts, that you do not lose the ones you have.

In this sense, it is noted that Signal’s obsession is in privacy , since it only collects your phone number to be able to identify you as a user. This can lead to some discomfort if you are changing devices, but if you are looking for an application that takes care of your privacy, this is almost insurmountable.

Other important aspects

If you are looking for privacy, Signal is a better application compared to Telegram and WhatsApp, there is no doubt about this. Like Telegram, by not belonging to a large company like Facebook like WhatsApp, with Signal you will not have to accept the terms and conditions of an Internet giant, or worry about whether it lies when saying no. will cross your personal data.

However, you should also bear in mind that you are going to have to sacrifice some aspects that make applications like WhatsApp and Telegram very competitive alternatives. These are aspects that go beyond privacy, and that make many users still reluctant to change from one application to another.

For example, WhatsApp is the application that everyone has . This is so, for better or for worse, so it has become an app that is almost essential to have installed on a device to be able to communicate with other people. It is not necessary that it is on a mobile where you have the SIM, so you can have it in a secondary one, but the fact that everyone is inside is what drags many not to be able to leave it.

Telegram has the ability to act as a personal cloud , as it makes it easy to send messages to yourself and share files with you. This makes it a very useful kind of Google Drive, which, together with the fact that it does not exceed the data it collects about you, makes it a very attractive app. The bad thing is that despite having a growing number of users, it is not that app that everyone has and with which to contact your grandmother or the car workshop.

This means that yes, Signal is the most secure messaging application with a certain number of users that you can find, but very few of your contacts are going to be inside it . This means that even if you install it, you will have to convince the rest of the people you talk to to pass it too … or have another additional messaging app installed.

Essential app options

WHATSAPP TELEGRAM SIGNAL
SHIPPING CONFIRMATION Yes Yes Yes
READ CONFIRMATION Yes Yes Yes
CLICK INDICATOR Yes Yes Yes
VOICE CALLS Yes Yes Yes
VIDEO CALLS Yes Yes Yes
GROUP CHATS Yes Yes Yes
SEND PHOTOS AND VIDEOS Yes Yes Yes
VOICE NOTES Yes Yes Yes
VIDEO NOTES No Yes No
SEND GIFS Yes Yes Yes
LOCATION SHIPPING Yes Yes Yes
SENDING CONTACTS Yes Yes Yes
SENDING FILES Yes Yes Yes
PERSONAL CLOUD No Yes No
GROUP VIDEO Yes No Yes
STICKER SYSTEM Yes Yes, and animated No
MANDATORY ACCESS TO CONTACTS Yes No No
SCREENSHOT LOCK No Yes Yes
END-TO-END ENCRYPTION Yes Only in secret chats Yes
TEMPORARY MESSAGES Yes Only in secret chats Yes
NOTIFICATION WITHOUT MESSAGES No No Yes
APP BLOCKING ON MOBILE Yes native Yes Yes
CONFIDENTIAL SENDER No No Yes
RECORD LOCK No No Yes

In this table above, you can see that the three applications share the most essential options, so that with all of them you will be able to send emojis, photos, locations or share your location. These are options that are offered to you, and it is up to you how to use them to take care of more or less privacy.

Signal adds some extra options, such as being able to activate confidential sender to send messages to strangers without sharing your profile , although Telegram also gives you a lot of control over who can access your profile. You can also block your registration so that only you can reuse your number to log in to another device , asking you for an extra identifier. Thus, I cannot take a mobile with your SIM and log in with your account on another mobile, since it will need another preset PIN .

To this we must add small details, such as that both the type indicator and the read notifications can be disabled in Signal. In addition, you can also redirect voice calls through Signal’s servers so as not to reveal your IP to the person or application that is calling you. In addition, there is a rather curious type of ephemeral message that it offers, and that is to delete messages after a certain time sent, such as an expiration date, but not the most recent ones.

For its part, WhatsApp has the advantages of its room system to make massive videoconferences of up to 50 people , and although we have not noted it in the table, Telegram has many details for its groups , such as the fact that moderators can delete content or the possibility of generating a non-forced voice chat that only whoever wants to can access.

In short, Signal does not have some of those small details of WhatsApp or Telegram, such as animated or non-animated stickers or a personal cloud, but it focuses all its details and small options on privacy . We cannot say that it has many differences, especially with Telegram, but by sharing less data about you through the app it is already more private, and it still has good details.

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