Install Telegram for Linux as an application

Telegram for Linux

Telegram is a cloud-based messaging app that focus on security and speed. Its primary competitor is WhatsApp, which cares more about money than users’ privacy. Telegram is free, open source, and cares about the user.

You can find a Telegram app for every mobile platform: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Ubuntu Touch too (unofficial). Thanks to its openness, we could use it on desktops too, thanks to third party apps like Webogram (Chrome extension), Sigram (Linux native client), and others. Recently the team released the official desktop apps: a web version along with native clients for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X.

SaperBramate tells us more about Telegram, a good read before installing it!

Install Telegram for Linux

You can download Telegram for Linux from the official website. It will detect the operating system you use and offer you a download button that suits your needs.

Once downloaded, you can see that you don’t have a package (.deb, .rpm, or whatever), but a compressed archive (.tar.xz). If you extract the archive, you see two executables: Telegram, the application itself, and Updater, unsurprisingly the executable that lets you update the application. This means that you can’t have an application for Telegram, but only a precompiled binary.


But wait…we’re on Linux!


How to use Telegram for Linux as an application

Being on Linux means that, if you know how to do it, you can do whatever you want. And this is a case in which things are easy, although they might seem scary.

We will make Telegram for Linux available to our user only, to make things easier (i.e. avoid problems with permissions). I also assume that you are using GNOME or Unity, as things will change with other desktop environments.

First of all, extract the archive you downloaded previously from the Telegram website and place it in your home directory. Than open a terminal window and create the only file needed for our desktop environment to recognize Telegram as an application:

nano .local/share/applications/telegram.desktop

This will open the nano editor to create a new file. The contents of the file are like the following:

[Desktop Entry]

Let me explain this a little bit. First of all, we’re adding a new Desktop Entry of Application type. We’re calling it Telegram (the Name property) and setting the path to the executable (Exec) and icon.

But man, I don’t have any telegram128.png in my Telegram folder!

I know, but you can download it here:

Telegram for Linux icon

Right-click to download

Now, download the icon, save it into your Telegram folder, replace username with your own username in your desktop file’s paths, save it with Ctrl+O, confirm the name with Enter, then exit with Ctrl+X.

You’re done! Easy enough, wasn’t it? Check it out yourself!

CC BY-SA 4.0 Install Telegram for Linux as an application by Mattia Migliorini is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Web Designer freelance, Ubuntu Member, Linux evangelist. Loves working on clear and minimal designs and wants to create beautiful things for different devices.

deshack wrote 83 posts

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  • Meet Divecha

    How to install it on Elementary OS 0.4 Loki?

    • scott

      extract file telegram to opt folder then open apps using terminal. “sudo /opt/Telegram/Telegram

  • Stupidcache

    Some GNU/Linux distributions uses /usr/share/applications instead .local/share/applications

    • deshack

      Both of them are used. The difference between the two is that applications in /usr/share/applications/ are available to all users in the system, while those in ~/.local/share/applications/ are available only to the user that owns the home directory.
      Moreover, you obviously don’t need root privileges to write into your own home directory.

  • as

    Telegram on tails not work

  • Ellie

    Hi, i would like to know if this procedures for installing telegram works for Kubuntu 16.04. I was thinking to just change nano for kate since kate, is the text editor for this distribution. thanks before hand and sorry for my English in case i wrote anything wrong, not my first language.

    • deshack

      Hi Ellie,
      It should work on Kubuntu without modifications. If you want to use Kate, just do it. I used nano to avoid using other applications and stick close to the terminal, but as long as file location and contents are the same, you can do whatever you want.

  • William Fuller

    Hi deshack,

    I’m an aging windows-convert Lubuntu Xerial Xerus user. Would you happen to know the right procedure for the LXDE environment ?

    Thanks !

    • deshack

      Hi William,
      the procedure is the same. Just keep in mind that LXDE categories don’t match freedesktop categories, here’s the mapping:
      Accessories -> Utility
      Graphics -> Graphics
      Internet -> Network
      Office -> Office
      Sound & Video -> AudioVideo
      System Tools -> System

      So, if you want to show Telegram in the “Internet” category, use “Network”. If you use the desktop file I proposed in this post, you do not need to change anything: you should already see Telegram listed in the “Internet” category.

  • Artyom

    Sorry for noob question, using linux for 3rd day. I’ve done all the instructions, now, where i can run it? I’ve tried to find it in the menu search bar, but it shown nothing.

    • deshack

      Hi Artyom, what distribution did you install? Ubuntu? You should find it among the other applications.

  • Miguel Trigo

    Thank you!!

  • Rodnei

    Thanks man, it worked very well.

  • daniel


  • randomguy

    Thx a lot!

  • ken

    you’re the Governor. thanks

  • david


  • Oxigen

    Thank you man >< you are the best <3 Thank you again

  • Ponn

    It says “Error writing .local/share/applications/telegram.desktop: no such file or directory”. What does that mean?

    • deshack

      Make sure you run that command from your home directory. Alternatively, you can use the command nano ~/.local/share/applications/telegram.desktop. Also make sure the ~/.local/share/applications/ directory exists, otherwise create it before running that command.

  • sev

    Thank you very much 🙂
    Really helpful ^^

  • JAime

    Thanks mate! worked perfectly for me

  • Andre

    Dude, this is really awesome! You did the Telegram Team’s work, this should be found in their FAQ! Thanks a lot!

    • deshack

      Thanks a lot, it’s really satisfactory to read comments like this!

  • Fernando Cabral

    Very good instruction to install Telegram. It worked at first try. No flaws. Thank you.

  • nestor

    Great article. Thank you very much for your help 🙂

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