Because there has been some fuss about WhatsApp recently, many people decide to switch to other communication services. The privacy-friendly Signal has recently become so popular that the servers temporarily stopped working. Time to look at what the app has to offer.
Signal has long been a sparse app that allows you to securely chat with friends, family and colleagues. But recently many possibilities have been added. We will discuss the most important ones with you.
Nowadays you can make video calls within Signal. These can be one-on-one conversations, but also group conversations. You do this by opening a conversation (or creating one with the pen, bottom right) and tapping the camera icon. Calling without video is also possible by tapping the phone icon at the top right of a chat. By the way, if you receive a call from someone you do not know, you will first see their photo and profile before you can record.
Of course, an app that relies heavily on privacy cannot do without privacy settings. Check those settings, especially things like Read receipts and Typing indicators. These sometimes cause discussions within other communication services. So turning them off doesn’t hurt. You can also lock the app behind a pin code or fingerprint and you can prevent screen recordings from being made.
Messages that delete themselves
With Signal it is possible to send messages that delete themselves over time. You can set that time yourself. It works slightly different on Android and iOS. On Android you can arrange this via the overflow menu at the top right, while on iOS you can find it under chat settings. Here you also choose your time limit.
Stickers and GIFs
Privacy is well and good, but we also just want to be able to share our dry humor with friends and family. Fortunately, Signal also supports stickers and gifs. If you don’t like the current selection of stickers, you can download extra stickers within the app by tapping the plus icon at the bottom right after selecting the stickers. And otherwise you will find extra stickers on Twitter under the hashtag makeprivacystick.
At first it was not possible to transfer chats to a new smartphone with Signal. But you can now. When you have installed Signal on both phones and have verified your phone number on the new device, you will receive a message on your old device whether you want to transfer your data. After confirming, you will receive a qr code that you scan with your new device. After that, the data is transferred securely.