Telegram update adds a bunch of new features

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Telegram’s last update brought in a veritable landslide of new features and upgrades to old ones. Now, the social media app (which recently hit the over 1 billion downloads mark) is getting a handful more nifty upgrades.

Individual chat themes

Telegram’s always had a nice selection of personalisation and customisation features, but this is a welcome addition. You can now decorate each one of your chats with individual themes.

There are currently 8 themes, each of which has smaller details you can change within them, such as animated backgrounds and background patterns, new paint jobs and colour gradients for message bubbles. You can outfit your chat with your mom with heart wallpaper and brightly coloured messages, and your chat with your boss completely grey. 

Each theme also comes with unique day and night modes based on your app’s night mode settings. Here’s a neat video demo from Telegram.

Interactive emojis

Animated emojis are cool and all, says Telegram, but they need an upgrade. Some snap, some zing, a little pizazz. So it’s made a few of them ‘interactive’. 

“With a little code, a little drawing and a lot of dark magic, we’ve created a new way of sharing emotion in real time. Send a single 🎆 🎉 🎈 👍 💩 or ❤️ to any private chat, then tap on the animated emoji to unleash a fullscreen effect,” reads a press release.

And that’s as simple as it is. Additionally, if you and the person you’re talking to both have your chat open at the same time, when one of you activates an interactive emoji, the effect will play for both of you. The selection is a little meagre for now, but more interactive emojis will be added over the next few months. Check ‘em out, they’re a lot of fun.

Read receipts for Telegram Groups

This is a pretty small update, but one that’s remarkably useful. Read receipts have always been a thing in private chats, with a (✓) indicating that a message has been delivered and a (✓✓) showing that it’s been read. In group chats the (✓) changes to a (✓✓) as soon as one other member reads your message, which doesn’t give a very clear indication of exactly who’s read it. 

Now, in group chats you can select a message to see which members have actually read it. However, read receipts in group chats only hang around for a week. 

“It is not Telegram’s business to keep a record of everything you’ve ever seen,” says the messaging platform.

Recording video chats and live streams

This is particularly useful if you’re using Telegram for an interview or an important meeting. Admins can start recording a live stream or video chat from their respective menus. First, they can decide on whether they’d like to record Audio and Video or just the former (depending on things like storage and bandwidth), and if they choose the video they can then decide its orientation. 

Once the call or stream ends, or when you end recording, your file will be stored in your Saved Messages for you to view at your convenience later.

And that’s all for now. Telegram says it has more features currently in the oven, so it shouldn’t be too long before we get another update. 

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