Signal App Review: The Best Option For Encrypted Messaging?

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Signal app on phones (caption: Signal App Review)Signal App is an encrypted messaging app that’s considered the gold standard in private messaging. Recently, thanks in part to a promotional tweet from Elon Musk, the Signal App became a top contender in the encrypted messaging game.

This app can help you communicate privately on your phone or desktop without fear of your messages getting to anyone but the intended receiver. Our experts give you the lowdown on this app, its features, and how private it is.

Signal Website | iOS App | Google Play App

Article Overview

Signal

4.6 / 5
Signal
Reliability & Reputation 4.8
Variety Of Features 4.8
User Interface 4.3
Price 5.0
Customer Service 4.3

Pros

  • Open source inspected and verified
  • Secure meta information
  • Ability to set messages to self destruct (like Snapchat)
  • Added privacy with an additional lock screen
  • Developed by a non-profit organization
  • Funded by donations

Cons

  • Other similer apps have a more polished interface

Signal App logoKey Features

  • One-to-one messaging
  • Group messaging up to 1,000 people
  • Video and voice calls
  • Group calls up to 8 people
  • Send text, gifs, stickers, audio, video, and any file type

Price

  • Free

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about the Signal app. If you don’t see your question here, ask us in the comments below, and we’ll do our best to help you out.

Signal App for desktop

How Does It Work?

Signal works like most other messaging apps. You can chat, call, and video message one-on-one or in a group. It’s important to know that you can only share and receive encrypted messages with other people who are on Signal. It keeps things private with its encryption protocol and is user-friendly.

How Do I Use It?

You can use the Signal app on your Android, iOS device, or your desktop. Blackberry users are no longer able to use this app on their devices.

First, you’ll need to download the app. Next, you verify your phone number, and you can decide if you want to set it as your default messaging app. Once you have Signal on your phone, you can then download it onto your Windows or Mac desktop.

Is It Secure?

Signal uses end-to-end encryption, which scrambles messages while transitioning from the sender to the receiver and keeps them secure. The app is also an open-source platform, which means the encryption coding is open for anyone to see. You can rest assured that many security experts have thoroughly inspected the signal app.

Primitive cryptography: Signal uses the OTR protocol, 256-bit symmetric AES encryption, Curve25519, and HMAC-SHA256.

Is Signal Group Chat Encrypted?

Yes, signal group chat encryption is end-to-end, just like all the app’s messaging.

Is Signal The Most Secure Messaging App?

Signal is widely considered the most secure messaging app because of its encryption protocol. Many other messaging apps mimic this protocol.

How Do I Delete Messages?

Deleting Signal messages is simple, and Signal support gives easy-to-follow instructions on deleting, however how you delete things changes depending on your device.

For Android, you can:

  • Delete messages for everyone within 3 hours of sending
  • Delete alerts or messages
  • Delete specific chats or all chats

For iOS, you can:

  • Delete messages for everyone within 3 hours of sending
  • Delete alerts or messages
  • Delete a message with a link
  • Delete specific chats or all chats

For desktop, you can:

  • Delete messages for everyone within 3 hours of sending
  • Delete individual messages
  • Delete a chat

How Do I Recover Deleted Messages?

Messages are stored locally on your device. The Signal support page clarifies how to back up and restore messages on Android, iOS, and desktop.

Who Owns It?

Signal Messenger LLC was incorporated in 2018 by Moxie Marlinspike and Brian Acton. They also simultaneously formed the Signal Technology Foundation, a 501(c)(3) with the mission “to support, accelerate, and broaden Signal’s mission of making private communication accessible and ubiquitous.” The app is owned and operated by Signal Messenger LLC and funded by the Signal Technology Foundation.

What Do People Think Of The Signal App?

Consumers seem happy with the Signal App. The app averages 4.6/5.00 stars with more than 1 million reviews and over 50 million downloads.

Positive Reviews

Signal has a very clean look, and is extremely quick and easy to install, and add your friends. When you go to make a video call/audio call/text, you will see a blue ‘plus sign’. Touch it and where the keyboard normally is, there will be displayed your choice of, gallery, gifs, contacts, file, and location. This app is very well thought out! There’s permissions under settings that can be turned on or off that WhatsApp does not have. I’m very happy with this app! -Table Gardner, Google Play 02/02/2021

Switched over from WhatsApp. This app does not settle merely as a WhatsApp “replacement” but it also has features that surpasses WhatsApp. Signal is made with love (you can see it in how they labor over it while remaining a nonprofit) and with a singular vision of making a great messaging app with privacy at its core. Having the backing of the original creator of WhatsApp and people like Elon Musk gives me confidence that Signal will continue to be improved while keeping true to it’s values. Many features already added in the last 2 months. -Plee822, Apple App Store 01/18/2021

Negative Reviews

Needs to be improved. Crashes often when I try to send a picture or video. I have not been able to save videos. I get an error message. Complicated way of deleting chats or part of them. Much easier on WhatsApp. The feature Delete After A Certain Length Of Time is not practical, to say the least. This app needs to be simplified so that it’s more intuitive. As much as I would like to, I’m not ready yet to kiss goodbye to WhatsApp. -Daniel HECTOR, Google Play 02/02/2021

Signal is 5/5 stars for security, but I use the call/video function often and I would like to see the ability to flip the camera for both you and the other person to landscape mode (similar to current WhatsApp video function). Also, the ability to make either your video screen or the other person’s video screen big or small (also similar to current WhatsApp video function). A few of my calls failed while using the app. I downloaded Signal because I was looking for a messaging company I can trust, and so far, so good on that front. I really enjoy the simplicity of the application. That being said, there are definitely opportunities for improvement. -Crispinjim, Apple App Store 01/13/2021

Signal vs The Competition

You have several options when considering switching to an encrypted messaging app. Our experts review the top choices, including Signal, in our article about the best encrypted messaging apps.

Why Is Everyone Talking About Signal?

This three-minute video from Mashable can give you some insight into why Signal has recently become a hot topic.

Protect Your Privacy

Signal Website | iOS App | Google Play App

Being an open-source app that uses automatic end-to-end encryption makes Signal the gold standard in private messaging. However, it’s essential to think about more than messaging when it comes to protecting your privacy. Our experts have put together a comprehensive guide to protecting your identity and some excellent information on how VPNs protect you from hackers.

Have you used an encrypted messaging app?

About The Author:

Julie has been writing professionally since 2012. She is an active volunteer for a local arm of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country. Everytown does comprehensive research on gun violence and makes recommendations on how we can all make our communities safer. Her involvement with this organization has given her invaluable information about how to keep our kids safe.

She enjoys writing not only about gun safety, but from family-related content to informative articles about technology, events and healthcare. In her free time, you might find her hiking, trail running, biking or swimming. You might also find her in the kitchen where she loves to cook and bake.

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