For a while, Telegram was the darling of privacy-friendly instant messaging apps.
But it didn’t take long for it to land in a pool of controversies and security issues, which prompted many people to delete their accounts and ditch the app for good.
If you no longer want to entrust the app with your data, you’re in the right place. Our complete guide on how to delete your Telegram account will walk you through all the steps.
Before deleting your Telegram account
Whenever you decide to cut ties with a service, it’s always a good idea to keep a backup of your data. With Telegram, this includes chats, photos, and other media.
Before deleting your Telegram account, you may want to export your data and save it. It’s easy to do that. You just need the latest version of Telegram’s desktop app.
To export your data:
- Open the Telegram desktop app.
- Select ‘Settings’.
- Select ‘Export Telegram Data’.
- Under ‘Export Chat History,’ choose which type of data you’d like to export.
Then download your data and store it somewhere securely.
Now, you’re ready for the next step.
How to delete your Telegram account permanently
Compared to other instant messaging apps, Telegram has put more emphasis on privacy since its launch. This means that the developers also made sure that it’s relatively easy to delete your account.
There are two ways you can do this: automatically and manually. Let’s look into them.
Delete your Telegram account using the self-destruction settings
The first way you can delete your Telegram account is through the app’s self-destruction security feature. As the name implies, your account is deleted after a period of inactivity.
The default self-destruct time frame is six months, but you can shorten it.
- Open the Telegram app.
- From the menu, select ‘Settings.’
- Go to “Privacy and Security.’
- Scroll down to ‘Delete my account.’
- Select ‘if I’m Away For’ and choose a time frame.
You can choose between one month, three months, six months, or one year. Pick the one that best suits your needs.
Adjusting the self-destruct settings gives you the option to change your mind within the period of inactivity. However, keep in mind that once this activates, it deletes all your conversations and contacts.
To reset the timer on the self-destruct feature, all you have to do is use the app.
Delete your Telegram account manually
The first thing you should know is that there is no option to delete your account through the Telegram app. You need to do so through a web browser.
- Go to the Telegram Deactivation Page.
- Enter the phone number associated with your account.
- Type the confirmation code you receive on your phone.
- On the next page, you can send Telegram feedback and let them know why you’re deleting your account.
- Afterward, click on ‘Done.’
- When the prompt appears, confirm by clicking on ‘Yes, delete my account.’
And that’s it.
Your account is now permanently deleted, and you can remove the app from your devices.
If you change your mind, it will take several days until you’ll be able to use the same number to create another account.
Telegram – the app surrounded by controversies
Telegram has been around since 2013, when the founders of the Russian social network VK launched their messenger with their proprietary MTProto encryption protocol.
Initially, the app had a few hundred thousand users. But it rose quickly in popularity in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations of large-scale state surveillance in the United States. It was pitched as a champion of privacy.
Later, when Facebook acquired WhatsApp, Telegram played its privacy as a sales pitch card right again and attracted millions of new users.
4.95 million people signed up for Telegram today. Telegram is #1 most downloaded iPhone app in 48 countries. To the bad news…— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) February 24, 2014
But Telegram’s increasing popularity prompted scrutiny from countries like France and Iran, where investigators found that the app had become a platform for coordinating terrorism. Security researchers also took an in-depth look at the app and began criticizing it.
Compared to its competitors, Telegram falls short security-wise in a few areas.
For example, while end-to-end encryption is an option, it’s not the default setting. Telegram’s secret chat option can also be enabled for two-people conversations, meaning there’s a lack of end-to-end encryption for group chats.
And most importantly, Telegram doesn’t comprehensively encrypt metadata.
All these led to quite a few incidents in the past.
However, security advocates applaud Telegram for being having their source code, protocol, and API public, although they’re not fully open-source.
If you still want to use the instant messaging app, consider getting a VPN for Telegram to add an extra layer of security to your devices.
What made you decide to delete Telegram? What secure messaging app do you plan on using instead? Let me know in the comments below.
Until next time, stay safe and secure!