Telegram is throwing a bone at its non-premium users this month by extending access to more emoji reactions. The feature now allows all users to choose from “dozens” of emoji that they can drop into message bubbles as another way to contribute to the conversation. And if you’re paying the $4.99 a month for Premium, don’t worry, you now get an endless supply of reaction options thanks to the custom animated emoji packs released last month, plus more new features.
Paid Telegram Premium subscribers can now use all animated emoji as status, in addition to the default seven which can change color depending on the theme. For example, you can choose a rotary controller emoji to indicate that you’re busy sharding on your Xbox. It will appear in friends’ chat lists, groups, and on your profile page instead of the normal Premium badge, which is also where you tap to apply the status.
There is also a better login system for “users who disconnect and reconnect frequently” which can send a temporary code to your email address or can use login with Apple or Google. iOS users will notice that the login UI has improved and includes the “fun animations” that Android users are already enjoying.
Speaking of Android users, the app will now have smoother animations when handling in-app media, and the app icon will match Android’s color and dark mode settings. And the downloads section, like the iOS version, can now have priority items so you can download those huge, uncompressed astrophotography images ahead of your friend’s kid’s dance recital video.
Finally, there is now a better link format to share your Telegram user profile. Instead of the old t.me/username, now you can do username.t.me, which is easier to share audibly and is better for accessibility.
Telegram has been on a roll lately, adding more premium features for subscribers, but there have been a few bumps in the process. Founder Pavel Durov had hinted at features coming in June ahead of launch, like removing ads, as well as features targeted at power users like large file support and those emoji reactions.
He said the new animated emoji feature, which includes an open custom platform to create your own versions, “will revolutionize the way people express themselves.” Apple blocked an earlier update with “Telemoji” that apparently came too close to Apple’s custom designs, but Telegram eventually added “hundreds of vector emojis with smooth animations.”