Telegram is a popular messaging app used by millions of people across the globe, and just like WhatsApp, accounts are tied to a phone number, but is it possible to use the app without a phone number? When using a service that requires the creation of an account, the requirements can include having a phone number or an email address. Some services even require both. Having an account tied to this information is not only required during the initial setup, but also comes in handy when there is a need to retrieve access to the account.

Compared to WhatsApp, Telegram is packed with more features even though it was released four years later. Both messaging apps share a number of similarities such as support for instant messages, and video and voice calls, but some of them work better on Telegram. WhatsApp is trying to catch up by bringing some Telegram features to its platform. For example, WhatsApp users will soon be able to send files up to 2GB in size, an increase from the previous 100MB limit. Telegram has offered a 1.5GB size limit from the outset.

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When setting up a Telegram account for the first time, the user’s country and phone number is required so there is no option to create an account without a phone number. This requirement applies to both mobile and desktop apps, and Telegram sends a code to the number to complete registration. Besides authentication, a phone number makes it possible for contacts who have the number stored on their device to message a user on the platform. Although Telegram has added the option to find contacts by username, this only works for those who have set the feature up. While Telegram does allow someone to create multiple accounts, each account must be tied to a separate number. This also allows users to change their phone number without losing all of the information tied to the old one, including messages, contacts, and media.

A Phone Number Is Required For Setup

Telegram needs a phone number to set up an account

Despite the need for a phone number, users don’t actually have to set up an account using their personal phone number if they don’t want to. There are multiple services that provide temporary or virtual numbers that are not tied to a physical SIM card or an eSIM, and these numbers can be used to set up a Telegram account. This method can be useful for those who don’t want their phone contacts messaging them on Telegram, or for those wanting to use the messaging app to be a part of a group or channel and not for keeping in touch with family and friends.

The messaging app does allow users to hide their phone numbers in private chats or groups. This can be done through the Telegram app’s Settings menu. Select Privacy and Security, followed by Phone Number, and then select Nobody to prevent anyone from seeing the phone number. While this will stop people in the chat from seeing a user’s phone number, those who already have the number saved on their phone will still be able to see it. There is also the option to limit those who can find a contact using their number. This menu appears under the same Phone Number settings after selecting Nobody. For reference, if selecting Everybody, then those who already have a user’s phone number will be able to find them on Telegram, while selecting My Contacts will limit those who can find a user to the contacts stored on their phone.