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Transition guide to Version 20.0

Javadz edited this page Feb 5, 2024 · 29 revisions


This transition guide aims to easy transitions from v13.x to v20.0 by listing relevant changes between these versions. It's important to note that this transition guide will not cover every last one of the many smaller changes that came along with the bigger structural changes. If you notice that some non trivial change is missing in here, feel free to add it.

Table of contents

Transition Script

We have prepared a script that is aimed at easing the transition for you. Note that this script currently just does some regex-based search & replace take some of the transition work off your shoulders. It is no way a substitute for reading this transition guide and manually adjusting your code base. In addition to the script, we recommend using a language interpreter (e.g. pylint) and a static type checker (e.g. mypy) on your code base to minimize the trial-and-error time during transitioning at a minimum. You can find the script here.

Contributions that fine tune or extend the script are welcome (you must clone the wiki repo to make changes)!

Structural changes & Deprecations

Overall architecture

ext.Updater is no longer the entry point to a PTB program and we have replaced the ext.Dispatcher class with the new class ext.Application.

The Application is the new entry point to a PTB program and binds all its components together. The following diagram gives you an overview.

Click to show the diagram

When initializing an Application, many settings can be configured for the individual components. In an effort to make this instantiation both clear and clean, we adopted the so-called builder pattern. This means that instead of passing arguments directly to Application, one creates a builder via Application.builder() and then specifies all required arguments via that builder. Finally, the Application is created by calling A simple example is

from telegram.ext import Application, CommandHandler
application = Application.builder().token('TOKEN').build()
application.add_handler(CommandHandler('start', start_callback))

We hope that this design makes it easier for you to understand what goes where and also simplifies setups of customized solutions, e.g. if you want to use a custom webhook.

There is also a standalone wiki page just about this topic.


The deepest structural change is introducing the asyncio module into python-telegram-bot.

asyncio is a library to write concurrent code using the async/await syntax.

What does this mean and why do we care?

python-telegram-bot is a library with the main purpose of communicating with the Telegram Bot API via web requests. When making web requests, your code usually spends a lot of time with - waiting. Namely, waiting for a response from Telegram. The same holds for many so-called input-output (I/O) tasks. Instead of sitting around, your program could already do other stuff in that time.

So far, PTB has build on the threading library to overcome this issue.

asyncio is a modern alternative to threading that comes with multiple advantages. Covering those or an introduction to how using asyncio works, is sadly beyond the scope of this transition guide or the PTB resources in general. Searching for python asyncio introduction or python asyncio vs threading in your favorite search engine will yield numerous results that will help you get up to speed.

The main points of what asyncio changed in PTB are:

  • PTB doesn't use threads anymore. It is also not thread safe!
  • All API methods of telegram.Bot are now coroutine functions, i.e. you have to await them
  • All handler & job callbacks must be coroutine functions, i.e. you need to change def callback(update, context) to async def callback(update, context).
  • the run_async parameter of the handlers was replaced by the block parameter, which has a similar functionality. More details on this can be found on this page.
  • The method Dispatcher.run_async doesn't exist anymore. Something that comes close to its functionality is Application.create_task (more on Application below). More details on this can be found on this page.
  • All methods that make calls to coroutines or perform any I/O bound tasks are now coroutine functions. This includes all abstract methods of BasePersistence. Listing them all here would be too long. When in doubt, please consult the documentation at ReadTheDocs.

Optional Dependencies

Some of the functionality of the telegram and telegram.ext modules rely on 3rd party dependencies. Since these features are optional to use and we aim to keep the footprint of python-telegram-bot small, we have reduced the number of 3rd party dependencies that automatically get's installed along with python-telegram-bot to a minimum. As of v20.0a5, only the 3rd party library httpx is installed, which is used for the default networking backend HTTPXRequest. If you wish to use any of the optional features of the telegram and telegram.ext modules, you will have to specify that while installing python-telegram-bot from now on. Please have a look at the readme for further details.

Refinement of the public API

We've made an effort to make it clearer which parts of python-telegram-bot can be considered to be part of the public interface that users are allowed to use. To phrase it the other way around: Which parts are internals of python-telegram-bot are implementation details that might change without notice. Notably this means:

  1. Only non-private modules are part of the public API and you should import classes & functions the way they are described in the docs. E.g. from telegram.error import TelegramError is fine, but from telegram._message import Message is strongly discouraged - use from telegram import Message instead.
  2. We have removed the module telegram.utils. The parts of this module that we consider to be part of the public API have been moved into the modules telegram.{helpers, request, warnings}.


We introduced the usage of __slots__ in v13.6, which can reduce memory usage and improve performance. In v20 we removed the ability to set custom attributes on all objects except for ext.CallbackContext. To store data, we recommend to use PTB's built-in mechanism for storing data instead. If you want to add additional functionality to some class, we suggest subclassing it.

Keyword-Only arguments

Since v20.0a1, all arguments of bot methods that were added by PTB are now keyword-only arguments. Most importantly, this covers the *_timeout and api_kwargs arguments.

Initialization of Telegram Classes

Since v20.0a5, TelegramObject and it's subclasses no longer accept arbitrary keyword arguments (**kwargs). These were formerly used to ensure that PTB wouldn't break when Telegram added new fields to existing classes. Instead, TelegramObject and it's subclasses now have an argument api_kwargs that will be used to store fields that are passed by Telegram and that PTB did not yet incorporate. These fields will also be available via the api_kwargs attribute.


Any data objects received by Telegram represent a current state on the Telegram servers, that only be changed by making a request to Telegram (or even not at all). We hence decided to make TelegramObject and all of its subclasses immutable, meaning:

  • Attributes of these classes can neither be changed nor deleted. For example update.message = new_message or del update.message will both raise AttributeErrors
  • Any attributes that contain a list/an array of items are now of the immutable type tuple. For example, is now a tuple instead of a list
  • All API methods of the telegram.Bot class that return a list/an array of items now return an immutable tuple. For example, the return value of get_chat_administrators is now a tuple instead of a list

If these changes have an effect on your current code, we highly recommend to overthink your code design. Keep in mind that for storing data in memory, PTB provides a handy built-in solution.

These changes were introduced in v20.0b0.

Removed features

We made a cut and dropped all deprecated functionality. Most importantly, this includes the old-style handler API, which was deprecated in Version 12, and the MessageQueue. As replacement for the MessageQueue, telegram.ext.{Base, AIO}RateLimiter where introduced in v20.0a3 (see also this wiki page).

Changes for specific modules, classes & functions


Previously some parts of telegram.{error, constants} where available directly via the telegram package - e.g. from telegram import TelegramError. These imports will no longer work. Only classes that directly reflect the official Bot API are now available directly via the telegram package. Constants and errors are available via the modules telegram.{error, constants} - e.g. from telegram.error import TelegramError.

Several classes

Previously, some classes (like telegram.{Message, User, Chat}) had an attribute bot that was used for the shortcuts (e.g. Message.reply_text). This attribute was removed. Instead, the new method TelegramObject.{set, get}_bot() are used.

Networking backend

Previously, the class telegram.utils.request.Request formed the networking backend of PTB. This class has been removed. Instead, there is the new module telegram.request, which contains an interface class BaseRequest as well as an implementation HTTPXRequest of that class via the httpx library. By default, the HTTPXRequest class is used for the networking backend. Advanced users may use a custom backend by implementing a custom subclass of BaseRequest. See this page for more information on that.


This class was removed as it is not part of the official Bot API. Use telegram.constants.ChatAction instead.


This module was rewritten from scratch. The constants are now grouped with the help of Enums.


  • The class has a new argument get_updates_request in addition to request and the corresponding request instance will be used exclusively for calling getUpdates.
  • The argument media of Bot.edit_message_media is now the first positional argument as specified by the Bot API.
  • The argument url of Bot.set_webhook is now required as specified by the Bot API.
  • The argument description of Bot.set_chat_description is now optional as specified by the Bot API.


The argument hash is now the second positional argument as specified by the Bot API.


telegram.error.Unauthorized was replaced by telegram.error.Forbidden. Moreover, telegram.error.Forbidden is now only raised if your bot tries to perform actions that it doesn't have enough rights for. In case your bot token is invalid, telegram.error.InvalidToken is raised.


The method was split into the two methods File.download_to_drive and File.download_to_memory. For download_to_drive, the custom_path parameter now also accepts pathlib.Path objects. Moreover instead of returning the file path as string, it's now returned as pathlib.Path object.


The argument force_reply was removed, since it always must be True anyway.


If both parameters current_offset and auto_pagination are supplied, the method now raises a ValueError rather than a TypeError.


This method was removed in v20.0a1.


This class was removed as it is not part of the official Bot API. Use telegram.constants.ParseMode instead.


The argument file_size is now optional as specified by the Bot API.


This class was removed as it is not part of the official Bot API.


The argument users is now optional as specified by the Bot API.




All abstract methods are now coroutine functions as implementations should be able to perform I/O tasks in a non-blocking way.

Data must be copyable

Any data passed to persistence will be copied with copy.deepcopy. This requirement is in place to avoid race conditions.

Persisting telegram.Bot instances.

In Version 13, we introduced a mechanism that replaces any telegram.Bot instance with a placeholder automatically before update_*_data was called and inserts the instance back into the return value of get_*_data. Unfortunately, this mechanism has proven to be unstable and also slow.

We have therefore decided to remove this functionality. Bot instances should still not be serialized, but handling this is now the responsibility of the specific implementation of BasePersistence. For example, ext.PicklePersistence uses the built-in functionality of the pickle module to achieve the same effect in a more reliable way.

More detailed information on this can be found in the documentation of {Base, Pickle}Persistence.

Return value of get_{user, chat}_data

BasePersistence.get_{user, chat}_data are no longer expected to return collections.defaultdict. Instead, they may return plain dicts.

Abstract methods

BasePersistence made a full transition to an abstract base class. This means that now all methods that a subclass should implement are marked as abc.abstractmethod. If e.g. you don't need update_bot_data because your persistence class is not supposed to store bot_data, you will still have to override that method, but you can simply make it pass.


The parameters & attributes store_{user,chat,bot}_data were removed. Instead, these settings were combined into the argument/attribute store_data, which accepts an instance of the new helper class telegram.ext.PersistenceInput.

Note that callback_data is now persisted by default.


  • CallbackContext.from_error has a new optional argument job. When an exception happens inside a ext.Job callback, this parameter will be passed.
  • Accordingly, the attribute CallbackContext.job will now also be present in error handlers if the error was caused by a ext.Job.
  • v20.0a1 removed the constant CallbackContext.DEFAULT_TYPE. That constant can now be found as ContextTypes.DEFAULT_TYPE.


The attribute commands was made immutable in v20.0a1.


ConversationHandler now raises warnings for more handlers which are added in the wrong context/shouldn't be in the handler at all.


The ext.filters module was rewritten almost from scratch and uses a new namespace policy. The changes are roughly as follows:

  1. telegram.ext.Filters no longer exists. Instead, use the module telegram.ext.filters directly. For example, Filters.text has to be replaced by filters.TEXT
  2. Already instantiated filters that don't need arguments are now in SCREAMING_SNAKE_CASE, e.g. filters.TEXT. Filter classes that do need arguments to be used are now in CamelCase, e.g. filters.User.
  3. For filters that are closely related, we now use a namespace class to group them. For example, filters.Document can not be used in MessageHandler. To filter for messages with any document attached, use filters.Document.ALL instead.

Moreover, filters are no longer callable. To check if a filter accepts an update, use the new syntax my_filter.check_update(update) instead.


v20.0a1 renamed the class Handler to BaseHandler in an effort to emphasize that this class is an abstract base class.


Since v20.0a1, this is no longer a subclass of CommandHandler. Moreover, the prefixes and commands are no longer mutable.


New arguments {chat, user}_id

All scheduling methods (JobQueue.run_*) have two new arguments {chat, user}_id, which allows to easily associate a user/chat with a job. By specifying these arguments, the corresponding ID will be available in the job callback via context.job.{chat, user}_id.

Moreover, context.{chat, user}_data will be available. This has some subtle advantages over the previous workaround job_queue.run_*(..., context=context.chat_data) and we recommend using this new feature instead.

context argument

To address the frequent confusion about context vs context.job.context, v20.0a1 renamed the argument context of all JobQueue.run_* methods to data. This also covers the corresponding attribute of Job.


Since v20.0a1, the behavior of this method is aligned with cron, i.e. 0 is Sunday and 6 is Saturday.


Unfortunately, the day_is_strict argument was not working correctly (see #2627) and was therefore removed. Instead, you can now pass day='last' to make the job run on the last day of the month.


Removed the attribute job_queue

This was removed because if you have access to a job, then you also have access to either the JobQueue directly or at least a CallbackContext instance, which already contains the job_queue.

Attribute Job.context

To address the frequent confusion about context vs context.job.context, v20.0a1 renamed the argument context of all JobQueue.run_* methods to data and renamed Job.context to


  • The argument filename was renamed to filepath and now also accepts a pathlib.Path object
  • Changes to BasePersistence also affect this class.

We have prepared a script that will help you convert your v13 pickle-files into v20 pickle files. Note that this script is a best-effort solution for a conversion - for some special cases, a conversion may not be possible without adjusting the v13 data before. You can find the script here.


The sole purpose of this class now is to fetch updates from Telegram. It now only accepts the arguments bot and update_queue and only has those attributes.



If you were modifying the user/chat_data of Dispatcher directly e.g. by doing context.dispatcher.chat_data[id] = ..., then this will now not work. Application.user/chat_data is now read only. Note that[key] = ... will still work.

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