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Telegram closes out 2019 with major feature update

The team behind the Telegram messaging app comes out with big feature updates on a semi-frequent basis, and today seems to be a big day for the app. To close out the year of 2019, there's a new update rolling out to Telegram users, bringing the app to version 5.13, and it adds a bunch of new features.

First off, for the users that worry most about security, Telegram has introduced a guide to reproducible builds, which lets users independently verify that the source code on GitHub is exactly the same as what's in the apps they get from the App Store or Play Store. If you've ever been curious about this, you can check out how to get started here.

In more user-facing features, custom themes can now use gradient backgrounds instead of a single color, and there are new background patterns to choose from if you don't want to use a specific image. Telegram's default themes also come in a variety of new color schemes now.

There are many improvements to the messaging experience too. After it introduced scheduled messages earlier this year, the team is now making it possible to schedule messages to be sent as soon as the recipient is online. If you want to find a previous message, you can now see search results as a list, rather than scrolling the entire conversation.

If you want to share your location, you can now find venues near you directly on the map, rather than go through the list of everything around you. And if you listen to podcasts or audiobooks on Telegram, the app will now remember your position when you're listening to audio files of 20 minutes or more. You can also now play these files at 2x speed so you can get to the point more quickly.

There are some platform-specific improvements, too. On Android, it's now possible to switch to night mode quickly from the user menu, and the maps preview will also adhere to it, so you won't be blinded if you share your location in night mode. On iOS, the Maps theme is set by the system theme. Android also gets some new ripple animations to make the app feel more lively, and you can see a user's profile picture by pulling down on their profile page.

There's even more, with the ability to select parts of the text within a message, or sharing content from other apps and send it to multiple users at once. You can also now mark the entire archive as read. Telegram has also made it easier to choose the video quality before sending a file, introduced a new contact sharing interface, and other fixes and improvements.

iOS users also have plenty to look forward to, starting with text scaling options that now apply to the entirety of the app. There's also a new option to choose your preferred browser for opening links in Telegram. Telegram integration with the iOS share sheet has also been improved, and you can customize which options show when sharing to Telegram. It's also now easier to switch accounts before even opening the app through a long-press shortcut on the iOS home screen.

Finally, the storage usage page has been updated to make information more readily available, and it's easy to clear the cache for a specific chat by selecting multiple messages and using the new "Clear cache" button. And if you're looking to leave a group, the full user list will be hidden until you choose to see it, so the "Leave group" button is accessible without any scrolling.

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