Telegram is one of the best messaging platforms out there, thanks to constant updates and support from the developer, as well as simple gestures to help navigate its interface. When a platform becomes so feature-rich, it can be challenging to keep track of everything, and it's easy to miss great features that you should be using. So, let's take a look at some useful Telegram features that may have flown under your radar.
Adaptive night mode
Dark mode is all the rage these days, with almost all popular apps finally adopting it in some way. Telegram has the usual options: following the system, following a schedule, or permanent on/off. In addition to that, there's also a unique adaptive mode. When enabled, the app will automatically switch between light and dark mode based on the ambient lighting conditions, the sensitivity of which can be adjusted via a slider.
If you want to try it out, navigate to Settings > Chat Settings > Auto-Night Mode.
I was initially going to talk about conversation pinning in this segment, but while tinkering, I stumbled on something I'd never seen before: Chat folders.
Chat folders allow you to sort conversations into different groups. If I want news, I can swipe over to my news folder, and there are my favorite outlets. Dividing my various chats up like this has proven invaluable, as I'm a member of dozens of group conversations that give me hundreds of notifications a day. Now I can sort them into different folders without archiving them. I'll be using this a lot more in the future.
To get started with folders, long-press on one or more conversation, open the three-dot menu, and add to a folder.
One underrated Telegram feature that I use almost constantly is saved messages. Many of the group chats I'm in share images and files regularly, and often I'll want to save some of them for future use. Rather than having to download the file and transfer it to Google Drive, I can just save the message and keep it within Telegram. This feature is also useful if I'm browsing on my iPad and find an APK that I want to install. Saving the message and then opening it on my phone is far simpler than having to upload it to the cloud.
Just long-press whatever you want to save, press the forward message button, and send it to saved messages.
Channels are a little bit different from conversations because they are one way. A channel is a way for a developer or website to send you relevant information and nothing more. The developers behind Lawnchair, for example, share regular changelogs through channels, besides offering a group chat for everyone to provide feedback.
Some websites have channels for their content, too, providing a convenient way to keep up to date with the latest news. Before I joined the team, this was how I kept track of everything posted on Android Police.
If you'd like to give our channel a try, just click here.
Telegram X is effectively an extensive beta program for the regular app. Almost all of the new features recently added to the vanilla app started their life there. On top of testing things before rolling them out to the main app, Telegram X has a feature set all its own.
As well as the preset themes you're familiar with; Telegram X features an extensive theme editor that allows you to tailor the look and feel of the app to your needs. It also supports importing and exporting themes so that you can share your creations with the rest of the community.
Another favorite is choosing what emoji pack you'd like to see while using the app. Many chat apps opt to use Apple's emoji in the name of consistency, but Telegram has those of us who want more freedom covered. There's a decent list of packs as well, covering everything from Google's old blobs (RIP) to Microsoft's emoji. No matter your preference, there's something here for everyone.
Left: Update available, Middle: Update installed, Right: App reloading
Finally, there are in-app updates, a little known Android feature that far too few apps have adopted. Telegram X hasn't had an update for a few days now, so I don't have a screenshot of the update process, but thankfully Google provides a graphic of what to expect.
Rather than an app force closing when being updated, in-app updates allow the application to download the update files without closing. When an update is available, a pop-up will ask if you'd like to install it. If you say yes, you can then carry on using the app as usual.
When the update has been installed, the app will inform you that it needs to restart to apply it. You can do this whenever you want, so if you're in the middle of a conversation, you won't be interrupted.
When you do restart the app, you'll get a brief install screen before Telegram X reopens, and everything is finished. Calling the process brief is a bit of an understatement, as the longest I've waited for it to open is two or three seconds. For those of you who use seamless updates on your phone, this will sound familiar. It's essentially the same process, but for apps, and more developers should adopt this convenient method. Sadly, not even Google has implemented it in its apps.
Telegram X has far more to offer than we have time to discuss here, so I strongly recommend trying it out, especially if you love using bleeding edge features and tech.
Telegram is the platform that keeps on giving and is my favorite messaging app overall. These are my favorite often-overlooked features of the service, but chances are there's more that I haven't discovered, even after using the app for almost four years.