The messaging app Telegram has many benefits, from security features like encrypted chats to fun features like stickers you can send your friends. However, there are a variety of reasons why you might be thinking of deleting your Telegram account.
Maybe you want to start over with a new Telegram account or try out another secure chat app, such as Signal or WhatsApp. Maybe your friends have left Telegram, and you want to keep chatting with them securely, all in one place. You may also be concerned that Telegram doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption by default (or that it collects and stores user data (including your IP address) for up to 12 months.
Whatever your reasons for leaving Telegram, we’ve got the step-by-step guide to deleting your account here.
What to know before you delete your Telegram account
There are a few different ways to remove your personal data and delete your Telegram account. Before you start, keep in mind that your chats, groups, and contacts can’t be recovered from Telegram once you’ve deleted your account. However, there are options to export this data beforehand, which we’ll go over below.
How to delete your Telegram account
You can manually delete your Telegram account via either the desktop or mobile app. Here’s what you need to do:
- Go to the Telegram Deactivation Page and enter your phone number.
- You’ll now receive a confirmation code via Telegram (not SMS)
- Select Sign In. You can now delete your Telegram account by clicking on the Delete My Account button. While you can provide a reason why you’re leaving, this is entirely optional.
- After one final confirmation, you’ll be able to click the red Yes, delete my account button on the left.
Account self-destruct feature
If you’re not ready to delete your Telegram account, there’s an account self-destruct feature within the Telegram mobile app. Your Telegram account will delete automatically after a set amount of time. Here’s how to get to the account self-destruct feature:
- Open the Telegram app and tap on Settings.
- Tap on Privacy and Security.
- Scroll down to Delete my account and select If away for.
- Choose between one month, three months, six months, one year, or the option to delete your account now.
- If you selected a specific time period and then don’t log in to your Telegram account during that time, your account will be deleted.
How to delete your Telegram data
If you’re concerned about making sure all trace of your account is gone, the latest version of Telegram lets you delete account-related data from within the app.
The following options are available in the Telegram mobile app, in Settings→Privacy and Security:
- Auto-Delete messages
- Clear Payment and Shipping Info
- Delete Synced Contacts
How to export your Telegram data
Want to delete your account without losing your data, such as contact lists and chat history? Follow these steps before deleting your account:
- Download and install the Telegram desktop app. This is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
- Open the Telegram desktop app and sign in. Click on the three horizontal lines in the top left corner to open the menu, and then select Settings.
- Scroll down to the Privacy and Security section before selecting Export Telegram Data.
- Choose the type of Telegram data you’d like to export. The options include account information (username, phone number, etc.), contacts list, and personal chats.
- Select the export format. This can be either Human-readable HTML or Machine-readable JSON.
- Click on Export and wait for the extraction to complete. When it’s finished, you’ll be able to select Show My Data to view the file.
- Follow the steps above to delete your account.
Protect yourself and your data
Whenever you use any chat app, it’s important to protect yourself and your data. You can report suspicious posts to the Telegram moderators via the bot @NoToScam. Always pick a long and unique password, and don’t forget to set up two-factor authentication. It is also a good idea to use a VPN to add an extra level of protection to all your online activities and communications.
Deleting your Telegram account: FAQs
Why would I want to delete my Telegram account?
Deleting your Telegram account may be an easy decision if you no longer use it. Perhaps you’ve moved to another instant messaging service.
However, it may be that you actually have some security and privacy concerns. In particular, Telegram differs from Signal and WhatsApp because chats aren’t automatically end-to-end encrypted. Furthermore, Telegram has access to some of your data, including your contacts list and identifying metadata such as your IP address. This data can be stored for up to one year.
What if I want to sign up for Telegram again? Will I have to start over?
If you decide to sign up for Telegram again, you’ll have to make a new account, and none of your previous settings or information will be saved. Any Telegram users in your Contacts list on your phone will be notified of your new account.
If I use Telegram with a VPN, will that make it more secure?
If you want to keep your online activity private and secure from third parties, such as your ISP, a VPN is highly recommended. You can also use a VPN if you’re trying to access it from a country where Tegram is blocked, such as China.
What are Telegram’s policies on user data and Internet privacy?
Telegram provides a detailed explanation on its website. It does not store user data for the purpose of showing ads, and it only stores data that it needs in order for the app to function properly.
What is end-to-end encryption and why is it important?
When data is encrypted end-to-end, the encryption starts at the level of the device and is only viewable or readable by the receiver of the data.
The data is encoded by a special code called a public key. When the data is received by the user, it’s decrypted using the user’s private key. E2EE is usually accomplished on public networks through public-private key encryption, also called asymmetric encryption.
End-to-end encryption in chat apps is important because it means that the entity in the middle, meaning the service provider, such as Telegram, can’t see the messages you’re sending. Only the intended recipient who holds the private key can decrypt messages sent to them. Especially if you’re sending financial, medical, or legal information, end-to-end encryption provides true privacy.
What happens to my account and data if I'm banned from Telegram?
If you send unwanted private messages or spam (such as unsolicited ads or photos and especially anything related to online popularity or commerce), it’s possible that your account will be limited, meaning that you’ll be blocked for a few days. If you continue to send unwanted private messages or spam, you might be permanently blocked or banned. In either case, your data will still be there but you’ll have to wait until your account is restored to access it.
Can I restore my Telegram account after it's been deleted?
Even if you create a new Telegram account with the same phone number, your previous data won’t be there, as it’s been permanently deleted and can’t be recovered. You can link your existing Telegram data to a new phone number, but you need to create a new Telegram account with the new phone number first and then migrate the data. To migrate your Telegram data to a new phone number, here are the steps:
- Open the Telegram mobile app
- Tap the menu (the three lines) on the top left corner of the screen
- Tap Change Number→Change and type in your new number
- Tap the checkmark to save your information
- You’ll then get an SMS text from Telegram verifying your identity
How do I delete a hacked Telegram account?
If your account gets hacked, fortunately, Telegram has a “self-destruct” option. By default, Telegram automatically deletes your account if you don’t log in for six months. If your account gets hacked and you need to change this to a shorter amount of time, you can set your Telegram account to automatically delete itself in a month. Here’s what to do:
- Open the Telegram mobile app
- Tap the Settings (the gear icon in the lower right corner)
- Tap Privacy and Security
- Under the Automatically Delete My Account heading, you can toggle the If Away For option between one month, three months, six months, or a year.
What are the alternatives to Telegram?
While Telegram remains highly popular, there are some very good alternatives available. It just depends on what you’re looking for in an instant messaging service. The most obvious answers are Signal and WhatsApp, both of which provide end-to-end encryption by default.
WhatsApp likely offers the greatest convenience due to the fact that it’s the most widely used instant messaging service. While Signal is growing, it has far fewer users in all. However, it also keeps far less data than Telegram and WhatsApp so it’s fair to say that it’s the best bet for privacy enthusiasts.