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A tool to download Telegram data (users, chats, messages, and media) into a database (and display the saved data).

Project description


A tool to download Telegram data (users, chats, messages, and media) into a database (and display the saved data).

Database schema:

Schema image

Schema image


This project depends on Telethon’s asyncio branch and tqdm. The easiest way to install these is pip3 install --user --upgrade -r requirements.txt or pip install --upgrade --user tqdm telethon-aio.

You may also want to install cryptg with the same method for a speed boost when downloading media. Telegram requires a lot of encryption and decryption and this can make downloading files especially slow unless using a nice fast library like cryptg. One user reported a speed increase of 1100%.

With these installed, you can simply git clone this repository and go onto ‘Usage’.


First, copy config.ini.example to config.ini and edit some values. To write your whitelist, you may want to refer to the output of ./telegram-export --list-dialogs to get dialog IDs or ./telegram-export --search <query> to filter the results. Then run ./telegram-export and allow it to dump data.

telegram-export vs telegram-history-dump

(For brevity we’ll just refer them to as “export” and “dump”)

  • SQLite instead of jsonlines allows for far more powerful queries and better efficiency but loses compatibility with text-manipulating UNIX tools as the data is not stored as text, or even more powerful tools like `jq <>`__.

  • export’s stored data is less complicated than dump’s json dumps

  • Support for saving the history of a person or other dialog, so you can see e.g. what their name was over time.

  • Using `telethon <>`__ instead of `tg-cli <>`__ allows support for newer Telegram features like pinned messages, admin logs, user bios, first-class support for supergroups and avoids the tg-cli bug which made dumping channels impossible, as well as several other tg-cli annoyances (such as being somewhat harder to install).

  • Newer and less mature than dump

  • No dedicated analysis program yet (dump has telegram-analysis and pisg)

  • Implemented features which dump does not support (incomplete list):

    • Admin logs

    • Dumping Users/Channels/Chats as their own entities, not just as message metadata. This allows things like user bios, channel descriptions and profile pictures.

    • Pinned messages (dump kind of supports this, but only by saving a message replying to the pinned message with text ‘pinned the message’)

    • Participant lists

  • Closer interaction with the Telegram API theoretically allows big speed improvements (Practical comparison of times soon™)

  • export’s database file is bound to a user (like dump), and the program will exit if you login as another person to avoid mixing things up. If you do use export with multiple users, you should specify a different database for each user. You can easily select different config files through --config-file.


  • Currently sort of unfinished. It dumps things, but the schema may change and we won’t support old schema transitions.

  • Certain information is not dumped for simplicity’s sake. For example, edited messages won’t be re-downloaded and there is currently no support for multiple versions of a message in the db. However, this shouldn’t be much of an issue, since most edits or deletions are legit and often to fix typos.

What does it do? Is it a bot?

It uses the Telegram API (what Telegram apps use), so it has access to everything a Telegram app can do. This is why you need an API ID and API hash to use it, and why one from Telegram Desktop will work. Since normal clients need to download messages, media, users etc to display them in-app, telegram-export can do the same, and save them into a nice database.

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