How to delete your Telegram account permanently 

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:

  1. Open the Telegram desktop app.
  2. Select ‘Settings’.
  3. Select ‘Export Telegram Data’.
  4. 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.

Here’s how.

  1. Open the Telegram app.
  2. From the menu, select ‘Settings.’
  3. Go to “Privacy and Security.’
  4. Scroll down to ‘Delete my account.’
  5. 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.

Here’s how:

  1. Go to the Telegram Deactivation Page.
  2. Enter the phone number associated with your account.
  3. Type the confirmation code you receive on your phone.
  4. On the next page, you can send Telegram feedback and let them know why you’re deleting your account.
  5. Afterward, click on ‘Done.’
  6. 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.

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.

2013
An author on the Russian programming website Habr discovered a bug that was fixed in Telegram’s self-rolled cryptographic protocol, MTProto. MTProto’s first version featured an unexplained modification to the Diffie-Hellman key exchange scheme. Instead of encrypting 1-to-1 chats, it allowed attackers to mount a man-in-the-middle attack and prevent the victim from being alerted.
2015
Two researchers from Aarhus University published a report in which they demonstrated that MTProto did not achieve indistinguishability under chosen-ciphertext attack (IND-CCA) or authenticated encryption. In theory, this means that it could be vulnerable to plaintext recovery attacks. In response, Telegram issued a patch that met the criteria for IND-CCA.
2016
Iranian cybercriminals compromised more than a dozen Telegram accounts and identified the phone numbers of 15 million Iranian users and their associated used IDs. The attackers took advantage of a programming interface built into Telegram.
2018
In response to a rising chorus of concerns by internet security experts, Telegram issued a warning that Telegram Talaeii, the Iranian-made version of the app, and Hotgram, are not safe and secure. They had more than 30 million users between them. Critics were upset that it took online backlash for Telegram to issue the warning.
2020
An Elasticsearch database holding 42 million records containing user IDs and phone numbers was left online without a password. The information came from a third-party version of Telegram used in Iran. Telegram stated the database came from an unofficial “fork” of Telegram that was not affiliated with the company.
2020
Researchers uncovered an ongoing surveillance campaign named Rampant Kitten targeting Iranian expatriates and dissidents’ Windows and Android devices. Rampant Kitten stole Telegram messages, passwords, and two-factor authentication codes. What’s more, it took screenshots and make voice recordings.
2021
A Telegram bot was found selling exploited phone numbers from Facebook. The bot mainly targeted Ukraine. It is believed it sold the information of 26 million citizens registered with the Dіia app. Diia is used for various services, from opening bank accounts to booking train tickets or accessing government services.

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!

Leave a comment

Dear Cyberghost team
Thank you for taking the trouble, for less technically savvy people
to write such instructions. Only this allows these people to communicate
as securely as possible. Apart from the possibility of using a VPN.

Mr. Welsh didn’t understand that?! Then I ask myself
why heself uses cyberghost. One explanation, however, would be
that maybe he belongs to the 5 eyes or 9 eyes or so and wants to
scare off others,to leave Telegram 😉

Thank you again
Johnny Hunt

Reply

Hi Johnny,
Glad to hear you enjoyed our guide. 😊
And thank you for choosing us to protect your digital life! 👻

You folks kill me. I love Telegram and am an avid user. If you guys continue to bad mouth the app, you are going to lose a CyberGhost customer.!

Reply

Hi Clay!

No app is perfect and can be prone to bugs or vulnerabilities. But we believe you need to be aware of the privacy risks you take on as a user. In light of Telegram’s recent controversies, some people have decided to delete the app and their accounts, which why we’ve prepared this step-by-step guide to make things easier for them.

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