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how self destruct messages are used and differences from normal chat

23 mayo, 2021

In Telegram, you can have two types of conversations: normal chats or secret chats. Each one has its pros and cons, but basically secret chats are used for those cases in which you want an extra security in conversations.

Here we will tell you the peculiarities of secret chats, how they differ from normal chats and how the message self-destruct system optional included in these types of conversations.


How they differ from normal chats


First of all, what is a secret chat? In the case of Telegram, the distinction is quite clear: normal chats pass through and are stored on the company’s servers, while secret chats are end-to-end encryption, as in WhatsApp.

This results in a number of side effects, such as the fact that secret chats are only accessible from one of your mobiles, even if you have Telegram configured in several of them.

In addition to encryption, secret chats include a number of additional protections to reduce the possibility that what is spoken in this type of conversation will come out of there. For example, screenshots are not allowed, messages cannot be forwarded, and a conversation can be configured so that messages are automatically deleted after some time has elapsed after being read.

Normal chats

Secret chats


Anywhere you are logged in

Only on one device


Screenshots can be taken

Can’t take screenshots


Messages can be forwarded

Cannot forward messages

Self destruction

Optional in photos and videos

Can be activated


Own encryption

End-to-end encryption

Two ways to start secret chats

You have two main ways to start a secret chat with one of your contacts on Telegram. The first of it is like any other normal conversation: with floating pen button to start a new conversation.

The difference is that instead of tapping on one of your contacts to start the conversation, you should do it on New secret chat first, then choose the contact with whom you want to start the secret chat.


Another way to start a secret chat with a person with whom you already have another chat is from their user profile. To do this, tap at the top of the conversation until the information window opens.

On the profile page, tap on the ⋮ button and choose Start secret chat on the menu. Once this is done, you will have two chats with this person: the normal chat that you had before, and a new secret chat with the advantages and peculiarities that they entail.

Start secretchat2

Secret chats only go out on one device

Telegrampc Secret chats do not appear on Telegram for PC or other mobiles

Telegram is a device messaging application: you can start a conversation on your mobile, continue it on your PC and end it on your tablet, but this does not apply to secret chats, which are encrypted end-to-end.

That is, only the device that sends them and the one that receives them can decrypt them, and in practice this means that the secret chats you have on a mobile phone will not appear on others. At the moment, the PC version of Telegram does not support secret chats, so you cannot view existing ones or start a new one.

Messages self-destruct (if you want)

Self destruction

An important difference between normal chats and Telegram secrets is that the latter can self-destruct. That is, they have a timer that eliminates them after a certain amount of time after they have been read.

Message self-destruction is not active by default in secret chats, but it is you who must go to the conversation settings (by tapping on the top bar) and configure it in the Self-destruct section. Today, you can choose a period of self-destruction ranging from 1 second to 1 week.

This self-destruction begins to count from the moment the receiver reads the message, and delete the message for both parties. That is, in a chat with self-destruction set for 1 second, the chat will be empty as soon as the messages are read, and for both parties.

Photos and videos work a little differently. Telegram Blurs the preview of photos and videos, so the countdown starts when you tap on them and open them wide. In this case, a small animation is displayed while you view the photo so you can see how much time you have left.

You can send self-destructing photos in normal chats


While you must use the secret chats to configure the automatic destruction of all messages, in normal Telegram chats You can send photos and videos that self-destruct after a few seconds, while the rest of the messages work the same as always.

To do this, you must send a photo or video as usual, but touch on the clock icon to set the timer. You can choose a time frame that goes from 1 second to 1 minute, which is the time the other person will have to see the photo or video before it disappears.

Check the encryption

Encryption key

Secret Telegram chats are end-to-end encrypted, and you can check that these encryption keys match manually. Ideally, it is a process that you must carry out in person, as there is no way to share this key.

To see this key, you must touch on the top bar in a secret chat and enter Encryption key. A graphical representation of the code is shown at the top, although there is no scanner here like in WhatsApp. You also have a text version just below. The codes must be the same on both mobiles: yours and the other person’s.