It’s reader question time again and this time it’s about Telegram. The full question is ‘I heard that messages are stored on Telegram servers and I don’t want that. How can I delete all of my messages in Telegram?’
Telegram is a secure messaging app for mobile and desktop. It has millions of users and prides itself on being simple to use and encrypted, offering secure chat with no real downsides. That means those who use it use it a lot which means housekeeping may be in order. That’s why today we are going to delete all our messages in Telegram. I’ll also share a few Telegram tricks I have learned since using the app too.
One of the reasons Telegram is so popular is because of that end to end encryption. It means you can chat about anything you like without anyone being able to snoop on your conversations. Even if you have nothing to hide, privacy is a right that we all need to exercise. If you live somewhere where freedom of speech is restricted, you will especially like Telegram.
Is it possible to delete all messages in Telegram?
To the original question. Can you delete all your Telegram messages? You can manually delete conversations within the first 48 hours but cannot delete all copies of the conversation after that. As chats are two-way conversations with a server in the middle, you have a copy of chats, the person you’re chatting to has a copy and presumably the Telegram server has a copy.
If you delete the conversation within the first 48 hours you have the option to delete for everyone. Once that time has passed, the only copy you can delete is your own. You then have no control over the other two copies. If you’re just about housekeeping and keeping the app tidy, you can manually select a chat and delete it. There is no bulk delete option that I know of.
To delete all messages in Telegram:
- Select a message that was sent within the last 48 hours.
- Select the trash can icon in the top right of the chat screen.
- Select the option to delete it for the other person too and then hit OK.
The only way to forcibly delete chats after that 48 hour limit is by deleting your Telegram account which is a little extreme. There is a way to enhance security though, secret chat.
Secret chats in Telegram
Secret chats work differently than normal chats in Telegram. Normal chat keeps a copy on the server so you can sync between devices and always maintain a conversation. Secret chat are peer to peer, so copies are only maintained on the devices you and the person you’re talking to are using.
Secret chats also self-destruct. You have the option to set a destruct timer within Telegram so the messages will disappear once both parties have read it. To start a secret chat in Telegram, select ‘New secret chat’ from the menu.
You may not be able to delete all messages in Telegram but there are quite a few neat things you can do.
Change your phone number in Telegram
If you have a couple of phones or change your number when you switch contracts, you can change it in Telegram so you can keep all your chats.
- Select Settings in Telegram and then Change Number.
- Add your new number in the box and select Save.
- All your chats will be transferred and downloaded to your new device (if you have one).
Use multiple Telegram accounts
I’m sure there are reasons why you might want to use multiple Telegram accounts. I just have the one account but if you want more than that, you can.
- Select Settings in Telegram.
- Select the down arrow by your name.
- Select Add Account from the list.
- Add your number and follow the account setup wizard.
Once added, you use the same down arrow to switch between accounts. You can do this as many times as you need.
Lock your chats
Security is a big selling point for Telegram. End to end encryption is a serious benefit but the ability to lock chats is even better. It adds another level of security that keeps your conversations about as secret as they can be.
- Select Settings in the Telegram app.
- Select Privacy and Security.
- Select Passcode Lock and enable it.
- Add a PIN and you’re good to go.
Telegram has gotten a lot of bad press over the past year or so. Some of it warranted and some of it not. Either way, it remains a very good chat app that secures your conversations in multiple ways. For that alone it is worth using.