Telegram Secret Chat: A Guide for Beginners

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If you’ve been looking for instant messaging apps, you’ve probably come across Telegram Messenger. It might not be dominant in the market, but it’s useful if you value privacy. One of the reasons for that is the Telegram secret chat. Want to learn how to use the said feature and reap its benefits? Stick around.


Inside This Article

  1. How to Initiate a Telegram Secret Chat
  2. How to Enable Self-destruct Mode
  3. Exiting a Secret Chat
  4. How Does Telegram Secret Chat Maintain Privacy?
  5. Are There Other Chat Privacy Features?
  6. Are Secret Chats Cross-Platform?
  7. Can Telegram Secret Chat Be Used for Group Chats?
  8. Why Should You Use Secret Chat?
  9. What is ‘Telegram Secret Chat Canceled’?
  10. Is Telegram Secure Overall?


How to Initiate a Telegram Secret Chat

Telegram secret chat is a secure feature to use on the app
Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

Don’t know that Telegram secret chat exists? It’s normal. The feature isn’t accessible on the get-go. If you have only read or heard about it now, we’re here to help you use it. Here’s what you should follow to start one:

1. Make sure Telegram is on your smartphone or tablet PC.
2. Log in to the messaging app.
3. Tap the contact to chat with on the conversation window.
4. Hit the three-dot icon for the More option.
*On Android, the icon is on the interface’s upper-right section. On iOS, it is on the far-right side.
5. Select the Start Secret Chat option on the pop-up menu.
6. Tap Start on the verification pop-up.

Telegram secret chat can be initiated per contact
Photo from

With this walkthrough, you’ve successfully initiated a private conversation.

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How to Enable Self-Destruct Mode

If you want more security for your Telegram secret messages, you can also make those chats self-destruct. Just follow these steps:

1. Access a Telegram secret chat window on iOS or the top toolbar on Android.
2. From there, tap the stopwatch icon.
3. Choose a timer option for when your messages will self-destruct.
4. Tap Done afterward.

Self-destruct timer enhances the security of the conversation
Photo from

Want to stop the timer? You can disable it by tapping the same stopwatch icon, then the Off and Done options. Note that when secret chats get deleted, they are gone forever.


Exiting a Secret Chat

Starting a Telegram secret chat is more of a one-off thing. You wouldn’t want to store all your messages through secret chats if you want to access them cross-platform. But how can anyone exit or delete a Telegram secret chat? Here’s how:

On Android

1. Open the Telegram secret chat conversation you want to delete.
2. Tap the ellipses or three-dot icon on the display’s upper-right section.
3. Choose the Delete Chat option.
4. Tap Delete Chat on the confirmation pop-up.

On iOS

1. Go back to the default conversations page in Telegram.
2. Swipe left on the secret chat you want to delete.
3. Tap Delete, then Delete Chat to confirm the action.

Your secret chat should be eradicated from your device afterward. Next time you want to send secret messages, you should initiate a new chat thread.


How Does Telegram Secret Chat Maintain Privacy?

Encryption protocols vary
Image by Mohamed Hassan on Pixabay

Now, let’s talk about how Telegram secret chat secures your conversations. What’s the secret behind it? It’s end-to-end encryption, which is used in many secret messaging apps nowadays.

To understand the said encryption, let’s first discuss the scenario when you’re not using Telegram secret chat. Without the app feature, you only experience server-client encryption. This means your data is safe from Wi-Fi router interception, bad third-party actors, and your ISP. However, that does not apply to Telegram itself. If the company is required to access your data, it can do so without barriers.

Once you utilize Telegram secret chat, that’s when end-to-end encryption is active. No other party can access your message — even Telegram.

To verify the encryption, get the encryption key via your contact’s icon. Your contact can also do that. That way, both parties can confirm that the feature works. Note that the key is a QR code-like image that reveals how your chat is encrypted. If you’ve updated Telegram, a text version of the key will also be available. The encryption key should match your friend’s. Otherwise, you’re not protected from third-party attacks.


Are There Other Chat Privacy Features?

End-to-end encryption saves you even from Telegram itself. But are you safe from your contact? He or she can take screenshots or forward messages to other parties, compromising your privacy.

Fortunately, Telegram secret chat has additional features. For example, you and your contact can’t forward secret chats. And although both of you can take screenshots, that action will generate an alert notification. Despite those, the notification can be bypassed. So, make sure to start a Telegram secret chat only with users you can trust.


Are Secret Chats Cross-Platform?

Telegram secret chat is limited to one device
Photo by Adem AY on Unsplash

Regular Telegram messages are accessible across multiple devices. You can swap the phone or tablet PC with a computer that has Telegram and vice versa, and still see your chat threads. Unfortunately, Telegram secret chat can’t be cross-platform because of end-to-end encryption.

You can only access private messages on the device where the secret chat started. Also, logging out from your gadget will revoke your chat thread access. Telegram secret chat guarantees security, but it also sacrifices convenience a bit.


Can Telegram Secret Chat Be Used for Group Chats?

The private chat Telegram offers is handy. There are limits, though. For example, you can’t start a Telegram secret group chat with multiple users. It’s only available for one-on-one conversations. That may or may not be a big issue, depending on how frequently you need to discuss private group matters online.


Why Should You Use Secret Chat?

There are many instant messaging apps, but not all are secure and convenient in general. That’s why Telegram and its secret chat feature is a good middle-ground for you.

Through it, you can engage in private conversations without giving up the convenience of Telegram’s regular chats. Moreover, you can add more layers of security to the chat thread. But still, avoid sending passwords and other sensitive information just to be on the safe side.


What is ‘Telegram Secret Chat Canceled’?

The Telegram app might show you “Secret Chat Canceled” at times. That alert gets triggered when a Telegram secret chat got deleted by your contact. If the chat thread was not purged intentionally, he or she probably logged out of Telegram. Consequently, the conversation gets terminated.


Is Telegram Secure Overall?

Telegram isn't foolproof, so you still have to protect yourself in other ways
Photo by Rubaitul Azad on Unsplash

Now that you know everything about Telegram secret chat, let’s re-evaluate the app as a whole. That will help you determine if Telegram meets all your privacy needs.

Overall, is Telegram an indestructible secret messaging app? Frankly, it has loopholes that can be patched. Telegram encrypts your messages in a server-client fashion by default. However, its fancy encryption jargon should not fool you into thinking it is already completely secure. Remember, the basic encryption method only works when your data is being transferred to Telegram’s servers. Once data lands on the server, Telegram decrypts your messages.

We know you might be fine with that. Say, you trust Telegram that it wouldn’t leak your data. Also, you opt to use the Telegram secret chat feature all the time. However, there’s no way to predict that the worst-case scenario won’t happen. Even if Telegram keeps your data private, that doesn’t mean it’s impervious to hackers. Also, secret chat isn’t useable on group chats. That implies that you’ll always have conversations that aren’t secure.

There are more things to consider to evaluate Telegram as a whole. Learn more about those as you read on.

Privacy Policy and Its Disclaimers

Telegram’s privacy policy isn’t very reassuring. It comes with disclaimers. For example, the company takes note of your IP address, device information, and username edits. Of course, that is something you’ll decide to agree with or not once you create an account. However, that only exists in the lengthy Terms and Conditions that are rarely read.

Moreover, Telegram has the right to keep information for up to 12 months. That’s long enough for a data compromise. Also, it can read your cloud chats. It does that in the name of investigating spam and protecting users from abuse. Nonetheless, be wary of it.


In-House Security Protocol

Companies have access to many verified encryption protocols to secure their platforms. Unfortunately, Telegram doesn’t employ those. It uses MTProto. It’s not easy to verify if the protocol has a vulnerability because the technology is in-house.

In 2015, though, Aarhus University researchers found some vulnerabilities of MTProto. Of course, you might say that it’s been a while since then. However, MTProto’s security remains weak even in 2021, as reported by University of London computer scientists.

So, should you trust Telegram or not? It still depends on you. Telegram responded to the claims against MTProto and acted quickly to rectify the issues. Hence, it seems to be working on fixing security issues in its proprietary encryption protocol. Nonetheless, it’s best to remain cautious on your end.


Telegram Phone Number Requirement

Telegram requires your phone number for signing up. That makes the finding of contacts easy and prevents the proliferation of fake accounts.

Here’s the downside, though: lack of anonymity. That can be an issue depending on your preferences and how you use secret messaging or chat apps. Nonetheless, keep in mind that you can never have anonymous communication through Telegram. The platform will always link to your number and who you are. If that bothers you, check out other iOS and Android messaging apps instead.


Final Word

Telegram secret chat is great for sending private messages. What’s more, there are extra features for your conversation’s privacy. Those include the self-destruct timer, screenshot notifications, and the forwarding of messages being disabled.

All in all, Telegram is a handy tool that lets you control your conversations. But most of the security work is still on you. For example, you have to protect yourself by limiting conversations to the people you trust, not oversharing confidential information, and verifying the services you use. Keeping your online security barrier strong is still in your hands.

We hope you understood and found it easy to use secret chats via this guide. Feel free to share what you’ve learned with your Telegram friends, too!