Telegram Gains New Auto-Delete Options, Expiring Invite Links, and More
Telegram Messenger is bringing new feature additions to its chat app, including new options for auto-delete messages, expiring invite links, and unlimited group numbers.
Like WhatsApp and Signal, auto-delete messages have been a staple Telegram feature for some time, but with the latest update, uses can enable an auto-delete timer that applies to all Telegram chats, so that messages are automatically erased for all participants either 24 hours or seven days after sending.
To enable the timer, press and hold a message, tap Select -> Clear Chat (top-left) -> Enable Auto-Delete. If you want to know how long is left before a message auto-deletes, simply press and hold it to invoke the contextual menu and look under the Delete option. It's worth noting that auto-delete only applies to messages sent after the timer is set, so earlier messages will stay in the chat history. Unlike in Secret Chats, the countdown starts when messages are sent, not read.
Elsewhere, there's a new Telegram widget for the Home Screen that shows a preview of recent messages, while a smaller widget shows names and profile pictures of Telegram friends that you've recently chatted to.
There are new features for chat groups, too, including a new Broadcast Groups option that allows groups close to the member limit (200,000) to allow unlimited members. When converting to a Broadcast Group, only admins can send messages, but members can still join voice chats. Telegram says the feature should be "ideal for large communities, where people can follow along and catch exclusive interviews, news, or just casual talks."
Also new in this update are expiring invite links, which can be set to expire after a certain number of users, a certain amount of time, or both. Telegram says the links are an ideal way to bring any number of new members into a group; the links can be converted into a scannable QR Code for use in different contexts. They also allow you to see which users joined using each invite link, making it possible to find out where new members came from or which format has been most effective for growth.
Like WhatsApp, Telegram chats are encrypted. However, it's worth pointing out a distinction between Secret chats and Cloud chats on Telegram. Secret chats are end-to-end encrypted and never under any circumstances get backed up.
Cloud chats are encrypted in the same way, but they get backed up, which means Telegram's servers do have access to the encryption key, although the company says it has never disclosed private data to third-parties from its cloud. For more information on the differences between the two chats, check out Telegram's detailed explainer.