Telegram gets auto-deleting messages, expiring invite links and more in latest update

A sudden influx of privacy-conscious users on Telegram meant the platform had to quickly increase server capacity as well as its feature-set to keep up with rival apps. To that end, the company has rolled out a new update that adds auto-delete, expiring invite links, new animated emojis, home screen widgets, and an improved chat import and reporting system.

WhatApp’s recent privacy policy controversy has resulted in millions of users flocking to alternative platforms, who’ve since felt the need to up their game in providing useful features and support in the hope of retaining and growing their userbases.

Telegram looks to achieve that with its latest feature update, which now makes self-destructing messages available across all chats in the app. The functionality had previously been limited to secret chats only, but now users will be able to set a timer — 24 hours or 7 days — for any Telegram chat to automatically erase it after sending.

It’s also worth mentioning that the timer for these chats begins to countdown after the message is sent, unlike secret chats where it’s activated once the recipient reads the message.

iOS and Android versions of the app get a Shortcut and Chat widget for the home screen. The former just displays the name and profile picture with a notification badge, while the latter adds a preview of recent messages alongside. Telegram notes that these widgets can be expanded and will always show up-to-date info on Android, while their iOS version won’t allow resizing and will refresh its content occasionally due to platform constraints.

The update also adds invite links that users can set to expire after 1 hour/week/day or keep indefinitely. They can generate QR codes as well, and discover the most effective invite method for a group by finding out which link type its members clicked to join. Meanwhile, regular groups crossing the 200,000 user limit can now be converted to broadcast groups that can house unlimited members, but will only allow admins to send messages.

Expressive users will appreciate the addition of dozens of new animated emojis, while those utilizing Telegram’s chat import feature will now see their messages sorted by the original date as long as the chat where they are being imported is new or has fewer than 1,000 messages. Lastly, there’s an improved reporting mechanism that lets users choose a specific category (spam, fake account, violence, child abuse, etc.) while reporting an issue, alongside a new comment field for describing the incident in detail.