If you’re thinking of ditching WhatsApp — for any reason — one of the sticking points might be the difficulty of moving your conversations from WhatsApp to another service. People have built some clever tools to help you accomplish this, but Telegram is now launching an official import tool to make the transition incredibly easy.
To get started, install Telegram on the device with which you primarily use WhatsApp. Get yourself set up or logged into a Telegram account, and then switch back to WhatsApp. You’ll now need to export your WhatsApp conversations — an arduous process that requires you to open each one, then tap on the triple-dot icon, tap More, and tap Export Chat.
When you’re asked where you’d like to save your chats, make sure you select the Telegram app. When you do, you’ll be asked to a pick a group to import the conversation to within Telegram. You can also create a new group, if you prefer. Then, sit back and wait while Telegram processes your WhatsApp chats.
The one quirk of Telegram’s import feature is that it can’t assign your WhatsApp chats to the exact date they occurred. Instead, your conversations and media files will all show up in Telegram as having been sent on the date you imported them. Appended to each item, however, will be a timestamp noting the time and date the message or media’s was originally sent in WhatsApp.
It’s a slightly clunky solution, but that’s the trade-off you’ll have to make in exchange for such an easy way to migrate your conversations from WhatsApp to Telegram. In fact, Telegram also notes you can use this same process to move your chats from Line and KakaoTalk, too. I haven’t heard of either of those chat services, but if you use them, you now have an easy way to switch if you want.
As part of the update that adds this export/import functionality, Telegram is also allowing its users to delete secret chats, groups they create, and their call histories for both sides of the conversation. In fact, it’s this ‘deleteability’ that makes Telegram a bit stronger for privacy over WhatsApp, since the latter only gives you a window of an hour or so to delete something you’ve sent to a group or a chat (and remove it from the recipient’s devices, too).