Telegram gives users more ways to hide their phone numbers

Telegram logo lifestyle.
(Image credit: Chris Wedel / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Telegram is beginning to roll out its latest update with an emphasis on user privacy.
  • This update removes the SIM card required for new accounts, enabling them to sign in using an anonymous blockchain-powered number.
  • Topics 2.0 has also been introduced, expanding it to groups with 100 members or more.

Telegram's latest update removes the need for a SIM card to sign up while also introducing Topics 2.0.

According to Telegram's official blog post, several new features are arriving with its latest update. The first — and arguably its largest — new feature was designed with Telegram's users' privacy and security in mind. This entails a couple of new additions with this update, and it all begins with Telegram no longer requiring users to have a SIM card before signing up for an account.

Privacy first

Telegram already does not disclose your phone number to strangers, leaving it in your hands who sees it and if you can be found by your phone number. Starting this week, users can create an account without a SIM card and log in using an anonymous blockchain-powered number available through its Fragment platform.

Telegram's latest update removes the need for a SIM card for new accounts.

(Image credit: Telegram)

To further progress how safe users feel on Telegram, the platform is introducing its auto-delete chats function. This was a feature the company had brought onto the app years ago, and it's now evolving more with this latest update, letting users set a global timer that will auto-delete messages in every new chat they're a part of.

Your existing chats will be unaffected by this timer, but Telegram states you can easily expand the auto-delete timer to include these chats in its settings. The messaging platform explains users can head to their Settings > Privacy and Security > Auto-Delete Messages to further customize the app to their liking.

You can now auto-delete messages in smaller groups, as well, only if you are a member with some sort of control over the group, such as editing its name and photo.

In one final effort for better user privacy, users who do not have a Telegram username or are hiding their phone number from everyone on the platform can now generate a temporary QR code. This time-sensitive code can be sent to others so they can connect with you without needing to know your phone number.

More topics

Topics 2.0 in Telegram's latest December update.

(Image credit: Telegram)

Telegram's last update came back in November, which brought Topics in Groups and Collectible Usernames. The update that is rolling out today is expanding on Topics a little more as we're introduced to Topics 2.0.

Topics are firstly being expanded to include groups with 100 members or more within it. Groups have also been given a default channel titled "General" for service messages and pre-topic message history. This is essentially a place to find older messages, but admins can rename or hide this channel if they choose.

If you're interested in seeing all the latest messages, you can now switch your viewing mode to "View as Messages." Every message shown to you will come with a button displaying where it was posted, and tapping on it will take you straight to it.

For an easier time navigating the UI, Telegram has added a bolder accent color for topics you've already visited, with ones you have not yet gone to featuring a lighter color. Groups also now support up to 5 pinned topics, although there can be an unlimited amount of pinned messages in each topic.

Spam, storage, and emoji

Telegram's new aggressive anti-spam feature for 200 member or more groups.

(Image credit: Telegram)

Telegram's update changes gears as we move into some quality-of-life improvements beginning with anti-spam. As with any service that allows users to message one another, spam is an inevitable annoyance. Telegram is looking to help alleviate some of the stress by adding a new proactive anti-spam feature.

Admins of groups with over 200 members can put forth the full strength of this anti-spam function using Telegram's algorithm. Admins can turn on "Aggressive mode" to activate automatic spam filters throughout the group. Mistakes can happen, and if they do, admins can report any falsely removed messages by the anti-spam filter through the Recent Actions tab.

iOS users are also gaining the emoji search function that has already been used by Android Telegram users.

Android users are also gaining a refined Storage Usage page which is quite similar to the one iOS users see. This page will now detail how much space your chats are taking up. Users will also find the ability to remove the media of an individual chat from their caches, such as photos, videos, music, and files. Live Locations have also gained added support from Android developers in third-party apps as they worked to improve its design.

New emoji packs with the latest Telegram update.

(Image credit: Telegram)

Emoji packs are back as Telegram adds 10 more new packs of these colorful, animated ways of expression for users. You'll find new packs like Shark, Motty, Panda, Chamomile, and Koala. Much like the other packs, users can use these new emojis in messages, reactions, and statuses.

Interactive emojis have been bolstered with this new update. Sending one and then tapping on it will bring out its full-screen effect for a blast of colorful fun. These interactive emojis are available to all users to be used as a reaction.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.