How to make video calls on Telegram (and check that they’re secure)

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Instant messenger Telegram has added video calls to its apps in its latest August update.

For now video calling through Telegram is available only on the Android and iOS apps, so you won’t be able to do this through the Telegram desktop programme just yet.

To video call:

  • Go to one of your contacts and open the options menu by tapping on the three vertical dots on the right side of their name.
  • Tap on “Video Call” to begin.
  • During the call tap on the screen to bring up more options. These will disappear after a second or two.

During a video call you can flip your screen, stop the video, mute or end the call using the buttons at the bottom of the screen.

While this is fairly straightforward there are two options which may not be as apparent.

Firstly picture-in-picture is supported so you can do other things on your device while talking.

Secondly, as Telegram has always been lauded for its encryption and safety, video calls feature this too. During a call tap on the screen and you will find four emojis in the top centre part of the screen.

You and the person you’re speaking to can then compare these emojis. If they are the same then the call is confirmed as being encrypted.

“Our apps for Android and iOS have reproducible builds, so anyone can verify encryption and confirm that their app uses the exact same open source code that we publish with each update,” Reads the announcement. 

For those who want to know more about how this works, including the details of things like key generation and protection against attacks, Telegram has released details about this here.

For now video calling is limited to two person calls, but group calls are being worked on and are planned to roll out “in the coming months” .

Two person video calls are also in alpha, meaning that problems are bound to happen with early software.

Two sides of the same call verifying the emojis.
Clinton Matos

Clinton Matos

Clinton has been a programmer, engineering student, project manager, asset controller and even a farrier. Now he handles the maker side of htxt.africa.

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