Send and Store Huge Files for Free With Telegram

Screenshot: David Murphy
Screenshot: David Murphy

Yes, Telegram. You probably know it as a chat app some use in place of — or to supplement — standard iOS or Android messaging apps. I’m a geek, and I don’t really use anything but the typical ones, but there’s at least one other great reason to try Telegram out: It provides you with free, unlimited storage for all of your files.

That’s nothing new, but Telegram announced yesterday it is upping the size limit for files you can send on its service — and, again, store in the cloud for free — to a mighty 2GB. That’s insane for a completely free cloud storage service. And certainly reason enough to use it if you’ve never tried it before.

If you already use Telegram, the service moving from its previous limit of 1.5GB to 2GB for individual files probably doesn’t feel like that big a deal. It’s still an incredible reminder that this chat app is a great tool for sharing files with friends and/or yourself.

The only catch? Your friends — or your other devices — need to have a Telegram account installed in order to download anything you place into a chat. There’s no way to create public links to files hosted on Telegram. This isn’t Google Drive, after all.

Still, I’m appreciative that Telegram has a portable Windows app (in addition to an installable one), as well as apps for every other platform you might want to use it on. There’s even a web app.

How to share files with yourself on Telegram

Getting set up on Telegram is easy: You just supply your phone number, no user name or password necessary (though you can create a user name if you want; it allows others to find you on the service more easily).

Once you’ve done that, the easiest method for creating a chat with yourself — which will serve as a dumping ground for your files — is to simply create a new private channel with only you in it.

Screenshot: David Murphy

Telegram will still give you an invite link to allow you to invite other Telegram users to join said channel, but just ignore it if all you seek is a couldn’t-be-easier way to quickly share files between your own systems and devices.

I’m using the Windows client right now, and I just drag-and-dropped a few files to pull up on my Mac. It was as fast to do so as it would’ve been to drop them in a Dropbox folder, but I don’t really have to worry about how large the files are or how much space they are taking up. Delightful.

Screenshot: David Murphy

Said files persist basically forever, as I doubt you’ll ever hit the “too many messages in a chat” limit — whatever that might be — and there’s no limit to how many files you can upload. I’ve read reports of people dumping 2TB into a Telegram chat over a period of years — all searchable (often organised using hashtags in the descriptions), and all immediately downloadable. And it’s free.

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