When you send photos, videos or files via secret chats, before being uploaded each item is encrypted with a separate key, not known to the server.
This key and the file’s location are then encrypted again, this time with the secret chat’s key — and sent to your recipient. This means that the file is technically on one of Telegram’s servers, but it looks like a piece of random indecipherable garbage to everyone except for you and the recipient.
To this day, we have disclosed 0 bytes of user data to third parties, including governments.
Telegram only stores the data it needs to function properly — for as long as you want Telegram to function. We store messages, photos, videos and documents from your on our servers, so that you can access your data from any of your devices anytime and use our instant server search to quickly access your messages from waaay back.
This means that a copy still stays on the server as part of your partner‘s message history.
As soon as your partner deletes it too, it’s gone forever.
Messages in Secret Chats can be ordered to self-destruct.
As soon as such a message is read (2 checks appear), the countdown starts.
When the time is out, both devices participating in a secret chat are instructed to delete the message (photo, video, etc.). If you stop using Telegram and do not login for at least 6 months, your account will be deleted along with all messages, media, contacts and every other piece of data you store in the Telegram cloud.
You can change the exact period after which your inactive account will self-destruct in Settings.
Deleting your account permanently removes all your messages, groups and contacts. We never delete your funny cat pictures, we love them too much.