Why You Should Use Signal

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Privacy-first messaging app Signal, funded by the nonprofit Signal Foundation, helps you bring some of the best attributes of in-person conversations into the digital sphere.

Page last edited → 29 May 2022
Page last reviewed → 26 June 2021

It gives you control over who knows what you and the person you’re talking to are saying (and who doesn’t)

Similarly to other messaging apps this is done using end-to-end encryption, which prevents everyone except the sender and the intended recipient from accessing the content of any given conversation. In Signal’s case this is paired with private link previews, to make sure no-one (not even the people at Signal or the website owner) know anything about the link you’re sharing, private GIF search, so that Meta-owned GIPHY or even the people at Signal don’t know who is requesting that perfect GIF you’re sending, and encrypted stickers, so that stickers and sticker pack info are only ever available to the parties involved in a conversation.

It gives you the ability to verify the identity of the person you’re talking to

Much like other messaging apps Signal allows users to verify each other’s identity (as well as the fact that end-to-end encryption is actually working) by way of comparing a numeric code or a QR code either in person or over a different communication channel. In Signal’s case the feature is known as Safety Number.

It gives you control over who knows the name of the people you know and the people you’re in touch with (and who doesn’t)

This is made possible thanks to features such as sealed sender, that allows you to communicate with anyone on Signal without the people at Signal knowing who that person is, and private contact discovery, that allows the app to scan your contact list in a way that doesn’t disclose your contacts to any third party.

It gives you the freedom to determine with whom you’d like to share who you are, what groups you’ve joined, and what they’re about

This is done thanks to encrypted profiles, that allow you to make sure only your contacts (not even the people at Signal) have access to your name and profile photo, and private groups, so that only the people in any given group have access to that group’s photo, name, and members list.

It gives you the ability to choose not to have everything that’s ever being said in a conversation saved and stored indefinitely

This is possible thanks to disappearing messages, that allow you to set a custom timer after which read messages disappear from Signal, and view-once media messages, that allow you to send images or videos that can only be viewed once.

It gives you the ability to protect your identity or that of someone else

This is available for images using the face blurring tools and lets you automatically or manually apply blur to faces in any photo before sending it.

It gives you the ability to choose whether or not the person you’re talking to is able to know where you’re from

This is possible via the Always Relay Calls setting which if enabled prevents the person you’re talking to from having access to your IP address.

For more info on the topic check out the Secure communication chapter of the Good Privacy Practices guide.