We show you how to install Telegram on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (and up) in 4 different ways.
Just so no one is sat mouthing “What is Telegram?” at their screen, i’ll remind you that Telegram messenger is a free, full-featured, and increasingly popular WhatsApp alternative with server-side encryption and data privacy at its core.
There are official Telegram apps for Android and iOS (note: you need a working mobile number to create a Telegram account) but you can also use the service in a web browser, or through one of the official Telegram desktop clients available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
Keep in mind that this post is a tutorial and not a “Telegram vs WhatsApp” showdown. As such we don’t deep dive into the reasons why millions of fine folk make use of this messaging service in particular. That said, here are a few of Telegram’s features:
- Send text, photos, audio and video clips
- Individual, group and private chat options
- Make free voice calls to other users
- Messages are encrypted and can self-destruct
- Open API and protocol permits 3rd party apps
All of that waffle out of the way, let’s move on to the meat in this tutorial sandwich.
How to Install Telegram on Ubuntu
Regardless of the way in which you choose to install Telegram you get the exact same app, with the exact same features.
Additionally, the PPA and Snap app methods below also give you automatic updates to new builds as and when they’re released.
The Telegram desktop app for Linux is a native app and is (mostly) open source software distributed under the GPL v3 license. Code is available on GitHub. It should run fine under most desktop environments, e.g., Xfce, Cinnamon, etc, however a few DEs won’t support the tray indicator.
Method 1: Official Telegram Download
The desktop section of the official Telegram website provides installer packages of the Telegram desktop app for a variety of operating systems, including Ubuntu, Linux Mint and more.
Click the button below to download a tarball package for Linux distros (including Ubuntu) that contains a standalone Telegram runtime and updater:
To “run” Telegram using this package you need to extract the
tar.xz archive, enter the ‘Telegram’ folder, and double-click on the
telegram binary inside.
Then follow the set up instructions on the screen.
While this method does not “install” the app on your system it should add a ‘telegram’ shortcut to the system app launcher/app menu. However, for me, testing on Ubuntu 19.04, it did not — so keep that in mind.
Want to use the Telegram beta on Ubuntu? Use these download links:
Method 2: Install Telegram Snap App
Ubuntu user? You may prefer to install Telegram as a Snap application from the desktop Ubuntu Software app. To do this just search for ‘telegram-desktop’ app or click the following install button:
Prefer using the CLI? Use the following snap install command to install Telegram on Ubuntu from the terminal:
sudo snap install telegram-desktop
When the Telegram install is complete the app will be available to launch from app launchers and app menus. Once running, just follow the on-screen set-up instructions.
Method 3: Use the Telegram PPA
If you want to install Telegram on Linux Mint you may prefer using this PPA over the binary (method 1) or snap package (method 2).
Adding the Telegram PPA to your software sources is easy. Just pop open a new terminal window (
t) and run the following command, entering your user password when prompted:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/telegram
sudo apt update && sudo apt install telegram
Once install is complete you will be able to launch Telegram by finding it in your desktop environment’s app menu or app launcher.
On a related note, the Atareao PPA also contains the
telegram-cli app, should you wish to use the messaging service from the terminal — I’ve tried it before and it is fun!
Method 4: Install Telegram Flatpak
The Telegram Linux client is also available to install as a Flatpak app from Flathub. Note: on Ubuntu you will need to install Flatpak and set-up the Flathub repo before you can install the app.
As with WhatsApp, you do need a valid/working mobile telephone number in order to be able to sign up for and use Telegram even if you only intend to use it on the desktop.