But what is signal? Well, it’s a privacy-focused messaging app that’s been around since 2014. Other famous proponents of the app include Edward Snowden and former WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton.
Signal’s slogan is “Say hello to data protection” and the service, like WhatsApp, is encrypted throughout. In fact, WhatsApp uses the signaling protocol for its end-to-end encryption function. Unlike WhatsApp, however, Signal is not owned by Facebook. We take a look at everything you need to know about Signal.
What is signal Who made the app?
Signal is a messaging app available for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux. The app was developed by the Signal Foundation and Signal Messenger LLC and is a not-for-profit company. The app was created by Moxie Marlinspike, American cryptographer and currently CEO of Signal Messenger.
The Signal Foundation was founded by WhatsApp co-founders Brian Acton and Marlinspike. Acton, who left WhatsApp in 2017, has invested around $ 50 million to fund Signal.
Do you have to pay to use Signal? What are the functions?
The app is completely free to use. With Signal, users can send messages, make audio and video calls with their friends, share photos, videos and links, much like other messaging apps. In fact, the group video calling option was recently introduced in December 2020. Groups can also be created on Signal, which are limited to 150 members.
When you create a group, not all of them are automatically added to the group. People receive an invitation and have to accept the invitation to join the group, unlike WhatsApp where someone who has your contact can often add you to a group directly. And if you don’t change the setting in WhatsApp, anyone can add a group to you right away.
Signal lets you reply to messages individually, send emoji-based responses to a specific message, and even delete a specific message from chat by selecting the “Delete for all” option. These are all features we’ve seen in other messaging apps as well, including WhatsApp.
The signal also has a function of disappearing messages. You can enable disappearing messages for each individual chat and choose the time between 5 seconds and a week.
However, Signal’s focus is solely on privacy. The app is not just about offering end-to-end encryption, it collects minimal user data without affecting functionality.
Can you use Signal on a laptop or iPad?
Yes, you can use Signal on your iPad or laptop and link the account to the one on your phone. However, the chat history is not transferred when you create a link. What does that mean? Let’s say you used Signal on your iPhone and linked it to your Mac using the QR code feature. You can find this in the “Linked devices” function in the app settings. Your account will sync with your Mac, but any previous conversations will not appear on the Mac. This is because all of the message history is stored on the individual device itself.
Can I backup my chats on Signal to Google Drive or iCloud?
No, unlike WhatsApp, this is not possible. So if you lose access to your phone and set up Signal again on a new device, all previous chats will be deleted.
What are some of Signal’s privacy features?
Signal has numerous features that focus on data protection. For one, Signal’s privacy settings have the option “Forward Calls”, which routes calls through a Signal server to avoid sharing your IP address with your contact. However, according to Signal, this degrades call quality and may not be necessary for all.
It also offers the ability to toggle read receipts on or off so someone can see when you’ve read their messages. There is also the option to toggle typing indicators on or off to show when a message is being typed. Also, there is no feature like Status on WhatsApp that can be viewed when you are online.
Signal also allows users to turn off link previews from websites when sending them in Messages. There is also a security PIN that you can set up to protect your account. You can set PIN reminders to make sure Signal keeps asking you for them. Remember, this PIN cannot be recovered if you forget it. However, Signal allows you to change them from the setting. However, if you forget the PIN, you may lose access to your account.
Signal also has a screen lock feature that allows you to rely on Touch ID, FaceID, or your iOS device’s passcode to access the app. However, incoming calls and message notifications can be answered even when the screen lock is on.
What data does Signal collect?
The app also stores some additional technical information on its servers, including “randomly generated authentication tokens, keys, push tokens, and other material required to make calls and transmit messages”. The company says it “keeps this additional technical information to the minimum necessary for the services to operate.”
Signal does not store your messages or information about your calls on its servers. However, it “queues end-to-end encrypted messages on its servers for delivery to devices that are temporarily offline”. Example: When a phone’s battery is dead or the internet connection is lost. Signal says that a user’s message history is stored on their own device.
The signal also makes it clear that “the content of your messages or calls cannot be decrypted or otherwise accessed”.
Regarding other contacts, Signal says it “can optionally find out which contacts in your address book are Signal users”. It uses a service, but it adds that this information of a user’s contacts is kept safe.
According to Signal, this information can be “cryptographically hashed and sent to the server to determine which of your contacts are registered”.
The app makes it clear that “it does not sell, rent or monetize your personal data or content in any way – never”.
Can business accounts contact you through Signal?
The signal is intended for direct communication between people. There are no dedicated business accounts for small, medium or large businesses like WhatsApp. But yes, a company can join Signal as a regular account to contact users. However, you always have the option to block any contact.