On the first day of the new decade, we all anticipate the promise and potential of a new year. If you're a fan of the messaging service Telegram, you also have a new update to look forward to. The latest v5.13 release includes support for gradient/pattern themes, message scheduling that targets a contact's online status, easier access to the Night Mode toggle, some new animations, and plenty of other improvements.

Telegram is definitely increasing in popularity in recent days, especially with many root/ROM projects switching to the platform for releases. It's also pretty convenient for those that migrate between phones frequently (like we tech blaggers) since it doesn't lock you to a specific device like WhatsApp does.

Although the company released the update before its usual blog posts (official changelog below), a day later it published a more verbose summary of the enhancements in this version.

New in version 5.13:

• Create themes with color gradients and patterns.
• Schedule messages to be sent when your recipient comes online.
• Choose venues more easily when sharing your location.
• Switch to Night Mode and back directly from the left menu.
• Get dark maps in Night Mode.
• Choose video quality in a more intuitive way when sending videos.
• Try dragging down in user profiles or jumping between messages in a chat to see new animations.
• Discover 31 other bug fixes and improvements.

Left: New Night Mode toggle in the top right of the navigation menu. Right: Schedule messages now lets you target when a person comes online (via 3-dot menu behind the visible option). 

Among the headlining changes in this version is a tweak to the scheduled messages feature that rolled out earlier this year. The new enhancement allows you to schedule messages to arrive when they come online rather than just a set time. The only caveat is that you need to be able to tell when they come online, so it only works if they share their online status with you.

Support for color gradients and patterns will also come in handy for those that build themes for themselves or others, and a handful of new patterns in the usual Telegram style have also silently been tossed in this release, plus some new predefined color combos.  Interface improvements like a better video quality chooser and a left menu Night Mode toggle should also improve usability. When in Night Mode, in-app maps will also get a dark look, and choosing a precise location when sharing location should also be a bit easier.

Non-changelog-named tweaks in this release include a bit of extra security enhancement: reproducible builds. As of this release, you can ensure that the version of the app you're running matches the source code distributed via GitHub. For those not in the know, the short version is that you can manually verify that the app you're using hasn't been tampered with or modified by third parties at some point in the distribution chain between Telegram and you. A new list view for in-app search results has also been quietly tossed in, plus better text selection, the ability to mark all archived messages as read, and better podcast and audiobook support (including support for 2x playback speed, à la voice messages).

For more details, check out the blog post published by Telegram a day after the update first started rolling out. The v5.13 update should be rolling out via the Play Store, but you can also pull it down thanks to those fine, humble, and incredibly attractive folks at APK Mirror (Hint: it's us).

A day later, Telegram pushed out an official announcement for this release via its blog. Our coverage above has been updated with the extra information it provides.

Developer: Telegram FZ-LLC
Price: Free