Telegram founder says Apple forced them to remove animated Telemoji from the messaging app

Aug 14, 2022

A couple of days ago, Telegram's founder Pavel Durov shared a message on his channel claiming that Apple had deliberately delayed a revolutionary update for the instant messaging app. The version in question was reportedly stuck in review for 2 weeks.

This isn't the first time Durov has voiced concerns against the company. This time, he pointed out that if one of the most popular apps was receiving such treatment, it may be even more difficult for indie developers. That is a valid point, since Apple doesn't exactly have an impressive record when it comes to treating developers fairly, notably the recent changes to its policies to remove apps with low usage.

Soon after Durov posted the message, several articles popped up across blogs highlighting the issue. You can call it good marketing or bad press, but Apple didn't want any part of this. The Cupertino company approved the version the next day, and the app update was available for users. But there is more to it than meets the eye.

So, what was this revolutionary update that would change how people express themselves in messaging? Telemoji, aka an animated version of emojis in Telegram. The messaging service wanted to replace the static emojis with higher quality vector animated versions. Here is a short-animated demo of what the Telemojis look like, you can find the full video demo here.

But, that is not going to happen, at least not yet, because Apple told Telegram not to use the emojis. That was the reason why it had not approved the updated. Why is that? An official explanation has not been given, but it is likely because the original emojis were designed by Apple. It is possible that the tech giant didn't want Telegram to modify its creation, and use it in its app. That is fair in my opinion.

Apple tells Telegram not to use Telemoji in its app

Durov has termed this as a puzzling move by Apple, and claims that Telemoji would have enriched the messaging ecosystem. He also said that Telegram is working on making the emoji more unique, which probably means the emojis are being completely redesigned.

That said, Durov and Telegram have another reason to be mad at apple. With Telegram Premium offering a paid subscription for users, it has to cough up 30% of its earnings (for transactions made via the App Store) to Apple. The latest update for the messaging app brings custom emojis, these aren't free though. It allows users to create custom emoji packs and upload them to the platform. Premium users will initially get 10 custom emoji packs with access to over 500 emojis.

The Telegram update for iOS brings a new sticker panel, with tabs for stickers, GIF and Emojis. It adds a new privacy setting that is exclusive for Premium users, the option allows users to restrict who is allowed to send voice messages to them. Users can now gift Telegram Premium subscriptions to others.

Telegram may claim that Telemoji is unique. Is it though? Microsoft Teams and Discord have animated emoji too. I will admit however that the Telemojis look much better than those in the other two. I'm not really convinced that animated emojis are the next big thing in messaging, because stickers, animated stickers and GIFs have been around for a long time, and are not locked behind a paywall.

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Telegram founder says Apple forced them to remove animated Telemoji from the messaging app
Telegram had to remove animated Telemoji from the messaging app, because Apple told them not to use the emojis.
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  1. kalmly said on August 18, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    Emojis. Hmm. I miss when people used words to communicate.

  2. Ubik said on August 16, 2022 at 1:20 pm

    I remember back in the day that independent messaging program creators (for example Miranda) would not touch animated icons with a 10m pole because there was patent for this by Microsoft and the MSN Messenger. Something like this must be happening again.

  3. yes said on August 15, 2022 at 11:51 am


  4. Anonymous said on August 15, 2022 at 2:27 am

    I miss the day when emoji was just flat 2D icon. Emoji nowadays are huge distractions(just look at Discord and Twitch)

  5. Shawn said on August 14, 2022 at 10:44 pm

    Seriously no one has seen “The Emoji Movie”

    look at the phone they are all moving emoji’s =D

    Precedent already exists.

  6. olbaze said on August 14, 2022 at 10:47 am

    So how long until Apple implements this exact feature in iMessage?

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