The secure instant messaging recommended by Edward Snowden and Elon Musk is the ideal candidate to replace WhatsApp. Here’s everything you need to know to get started with Signal.
You finally took the plunge and decided to abandon WhatsApp in favor of a more secure alternative? While the change can be scary, especially after years of using the same email application every day, switching to Signal shouldn’t be too much of a shock.
Tired of WhatsApp?
The secure instant messaging application, recommended by Edward Snowden and praised by Elon Musk, offers more or less the same features, with a fairly similar organization. Here’s everything you need to know to get off to a good start with Signal secure messaging.
1. Download Signal
If you have not already done so, start by downloading the Signal application. Available on all platforms, this messaging application secures your end-to-end exchanges with an encryption system that guarantees the protection of your personal data and therefore your privacy.
2. Sign up on Signal
Launch the application on your device, skip the presentation screens, and allow notifications to be activated. Signal should then ask you to enter your phone number, which will be used as your login ID to connect to the application.
Once this step has been completed, you should receive a validation code by SMS to be entered in Signal to validate your registration.
The application will then ask you to enter your “PIN”, or “Personal Identification Number”, which is a PIN code designed to secure access to certain elements of the application.
3. Send a message
When you arrive on the main page, Signal should tell you if some contacts in your address book have already installed the application. To send a message, simply press the pencil icon and select a contact from the list of contacts detected as Signal users. You can also choose to create a New Group in case you want to create a group conversation.
4. Explore the tools of conversation
As with WhatsApp, the application defaults to displaying checkmarks when your recipients receive your messages, but also when they read them. Signal also provides a number of features similar to WhatsApp.
For example, you can reply to a particular message by dragging the message bubble to the center of the screen, which will cause the message to be quoted in the reply field. It is also possible to display emojis responses to sent or received messages.
In addition, when you select a message within a conversation, a toolbar appears above the keyboard to allow you to display detailed information (date and time of sending and receiving for example), delete a message, copy it to the clipboard, quote the message in reply, forward it, and finally make multiple selections of messages from a conversation in order to delete them.
For the rest, the user will only have to deal with the known since it will be possible for him to share photos, videos, and other files with his correspondents, to illustrate the discussion with stickers or GIFs, to send voice messages, or to initiate an audio or video call from a conversation.
Note that if you are filming content from the application to share it with a third party, Signal includes an editing tool that automatically blurs the faces in the image.
5. Customize the preferences of a conversation
To customize the preferences of a conversation, simply tap the name of the conversation in a group conversation or the name of the recipient in a two-person conversation.
You’ll be able to access the conversation options and browse All media exchanged with your correspondent, search the conversation, activate ephemeral messages, manage notifications, and more.
6. Customize the application’s preferences
A number of Signal settings will need to be customized according to your preferences. To do this, from the main page of the application, click on your avatar.
You’ll be able to change the appearance of the application, to choose to use a light or dark theme, but most importantly, you’ll be able to manage privacy settings, such as disabling read receipts or the typing indicator that shows your correspondent when you’re typing text.