WhatsApp big time rival, Telegram announced a new set of updates on Saturday for its Android and iOS apps which improve user experience by a great deal. The key features of the latest update include the ability for users to listen and record voice messages just by lifting their phone as if they were making a call, extra features for secret chat, improved privacy controls, sharing extensions, updated UI and a lot more.

Since its release in August 2013, Telegram has constantly been trying to take over the instant messaging market. It has been one of the major rivals to the Facebook owned WhatsApp which, most would say, is the king of IMs. While WhatsApp’s approach is to provide a clean and simple user experience, Telegram takes it all to the next level.

Over the span of a few months, we saw the company roll out updates like a flood which added support for support for inline bots, GIFs, cache clearing, introduced channels, shared links and a whole lot more.

The cross-platform messaging app’s latest update brings a few very interesting features in tow. Raise-to-speak and raise-to-listen are two of the most intriguing ones (counted as one feature, though).

Telegram’s voice messages can now be recorded and listened to by just raising your device to your ear as if you were making a call. The company says that this feature works well with most modern devices, but is still experimental, so there might be a few hiccups here and there. If you aren’t able to enjoy this feature, just contact the company and someone from the developers’ team will help you out.

Apparently, this feature is the result of a well coordinated run between proximity sensors, gyroscopes and accelerometers.

The cloud messaging service’s ever-so-popular Secret Chat feature is also getting an update. Now you get detailed link previews, replies, photo and video captions, sticker sharing, inline bots and GIFs in your private chats.

You also get a completely new interface with waveform visualizations. New privacy features allow you to decide who may add you to groups and channels with granular precision. Admins of Supergroups can now select who can add members to the groups. Here’s what the blog post announcing the update had to say about this:

Supergroup creators also get more control. They can now change who may add new members to their group: all existing members or only selected admins. Supergroups can have up to 1000 members, and finding a balance between order and chaos is important if you want them to grow.

The messenger’s sharing extension has also gotten a refresh on iOS. You can now share any photo, video, audio, document or location to any Telegram chat or channel straight from default iOS apps like Contacts, Maps, Voice Memos and Photos. These messages can be sent to individual contacts, groups or even as broadcast messages.

iPad users get hotkeys support which will allow them to use an external keyboard to simplify navigation and other features and Android users get additional photo-editing tools which can help you rotate images and play with fade, tint and curves of images.

To top it all off, the company says that they’re not done with updates this month yet. Apparently we’ll be getting more treats in the days to come.

To enjoy the latest updates for Telegram on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, desktop or the Web, just click on any of these links.

Telegram has become insanely popular over the past few months. This is evident from the fact that the company reported 12 billion daily messages in August, a jump from the 10 billion in the previously. Also the IM service pulled in more than a million users when WhatsApp was temporarily banned in Brazil in December in which a court said that the Facebook-owned messaging service was providing pirate services.

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