Telegram is a free, messaging app that's seen a recent boom in popularity.
  • To make a Telegram account, you need a working phone number and the mobile app downloaded on your iPhone or Android device.
  • You can't make a Telegram account through the desktop app, but you can sign into the app using your mobile account.
  • When you sign up for Telegram, you'll have to give the app your phone number to send you a text message.
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The cross-platform chat app Telegram has seen a surge in popularity amid concerns over data sharing on its Facebook-owned competitor WhatsApp. And while Telegram isn't entirely secure, many users trust it over other similar apps.

You can easily create a Telegram account for free; all you need is an Android or iOS device with a working phone number to get started.

Once registered, you'll also be able to log into Telegram's web and desktop apps, where you can send and receive messages from your browser, desktop, laptop, or tablet. You won't need to provide any additional info when logging into those apps, but you should still have your phone handy. 

Here's how to make a Telegram account on your mobile device, and log into the Telegram desktop or browser-based web app.  

How to make a Telegram account on the mobile app

1. Download the Telegram app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

2. Launch the Telegram app and tap "Start Messaging." 

3. Enter your phone number, including the country code. On an iPhone, tap "Next," and on an Android, tap the blue arrow to continue. 

There are slight differences between the Telegram iOS and Android apps.

4. Telegram will send you a text message to verify the phone number belongs to you. Check your messages, then copy and enter the code into the app and tap "Next" or the blue arrow.

If you don't enter the code within three minutes, Telegram will call you with the code instead.

5. Fill out your first name, last name, and add a profile picture if you'd like. You don't have to enter your real name, or give a real picture of yourself. Tap "Next" or the blue arrow when you're done.

You'll need to enter a name, but a profile photo is optional.

After you sign up, Telegram will ask for permission to access your contacts and call log, and make and receive calls using your phone. You can give or restrict these permissions however you like.

How to log into the Telegram desktop or web app

1. Open the browser of your choice and go to desktop.telegram.org to download the desktop app for your operating system.

You can download the desktop app on Mac and PC.

2. Launch the Telegram desktop app, then select "Start Messaging."

3. A QR code will become visible on the screen. To activate it, open the Telegram app on your phone and go to "Settings," then tap "Devices."

Scan the QR code to connect your mobile Telegram app to the desktop app.

4 . Tap "Scan QR Code" and hold the camera up to the QR code in the desktop app.

7. After scanning the code, you'll be logged into your account. You can now begin chatting in Telegram on the desktop app.

If you'd rather not use the app, you can also go to web.telegram.org for an entirely browser-based experience. To log in here, enter the phone number connected to your account, then enter the code that's sent to your phone. You'll be immediately logged into your Telegram account.

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