The super-secure, super-fast instant messenger app known as Telegram just continues to grow in popularity. Considering that everyone’s worried about government surveillance these days (and there are plenty of countries in the world where that is a very valid concern), it’s no wonder that Telegram is catching on so quickly. To give you an idea of what we’re looking at here, the app was started by two brothers in Russia who wanted a way to communicate without the Russian government being able to spy on them – and thus, Telegram was born.
Why create a Telegram account?
The free messaging app’s extra security features have even inspired major competitors like WhatsApp to make changes to their own apps. For example, Telegram has been offering a “secret chat” feature for years, which among other things used end-to-end encryption, meaning that the messages sent would never set foot on the app’s servers and would be almost impossible to intercept in transit. Well, if you’re a WhatsApp user, you may have noticed that as of a few months ago, whenever you start a new chat with someone, it informs you that your messages are being sent using end-to-end encryption.
There was also a bit of a hullabaloo when people discovered that they were unable to send a Telegram invitation link via Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. So suffice it to say, Telegram has something to offer, and it’s something important enough that even Facebook is feeling threatened.
To use this unique chat application, you’ll need to sign up for a Telegram account. But don’t worry; as you would expect from an app that sees security as its top priority, very little personal information is required and most of it is kept private even from your contacts.
How to create a Telegram account
If you have an iPhone or Android smartphone, go to your usual app market and search for “Telegram”. It should pop up as the first result. Download the application to your device just like you normally would (the app is 100% free to download and use, no subscription fees or anything like that). After the installation is finished, tap on the icon to open Telegram.
The welcome screen has a link at the bottom that says “Start Messaging”, which is what you need to tap on to get started with the Telegram sign up process. On the next screen, you need to enter you mobile phone number and double check that the country code is right. Like with most chat apps, the number will be used to send a verification code via text message. There are ways to do this without using your real phone number (Google Voice, for example), but that’s beyond the scope of this article.
Once you get the code, type it in to verify your phone number. On the next screen, you can enter your name and select a profile picture. There’s no rule that says you have to use your real name here; it depends on how easily you want your contacts to be able to recognize you.
And that’s it as far as creating your Telegram account goes. All that’s left is choosing whether or not to sync your phone’s contacts, invite more people, etc.