Telegram Messenger this week released a new update for iPhone and iPad that adds video transcription, separate topics in large groups, and other new features to the popular chat platform.
The new voice-to-text transcription tool can be activated using a new “→A” button in the bottom-right corner of a video, and is designed to let users read video messages from friends when they don’t have time to watch the video.
Like the existing voice message transcription, video messaging transcription is a feature exclusive to subscribers of Telegram Premium, which costs $4.99 a month and includes other perks like faster downloads, no ads, and a larger 4GB maximum file upload limit.
Meanwhile, for all users, Topics in Groups is a new feature that allows groups with over 200 members to create separate areas for more specific chats. Users can opt to get notifications from Topics and shared media settings that are independent of the wider group. Later this year, Telegram plans to introduce a different set of tools tailored to small groups.
Also new in this update are Collectible Usernames, a digital asset whose ownership is secured by the TON blockchain network. In addition to one basic username, Telegram users can now assign multiple Collectible Usernames, which work just like basic usernames except that they can be less than five characters long.
The Collectable Usernames are bought and sold through a new platform called the Fragment network which offers a “simple and secure way to acquire and exchange valuable Telegram domains.”
Elsewhere, Telegram’s Night Mode has been redesigned for the iOS app, making colors more balanced with better blurring effects as users scroll in chats and the chat list, and Telegram Premium users gain access to 12 new emoji packs that can be used in messages and captions or set as statuses.
Users will notice that this v9.1.0 update has a distinctly Halloween theme, but it was held up in Apple’s App Store review process, according to Telegram CEO Pavel Durov.
In a dedicated post, Durov says “Apple claims they review apps within 24 hours, but, in our experience, it takes at least 7-10 days for any meaningful product update to reach the App Store.” Durov has previously criticized Apple for its “obscure” App Store review process and delays in approving Telegram updates.