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Get started with Signal

Learn how to install and use Signal, a free and open source encrypted messaging app for Android and iPhone.

Learn how to

Signal basics

Messaging app

Signal sends text messages (SMS), messages via the internet (MMS) and internet voice calls (VOIP).

Encrypted content

Using Signal will prevent anyone from being able to read the content of your text messages, but will not hide that you are sending messages, nor will it hide that your recipient is receiving messages.

Contacts visible

Signal will only hide who the messages are being sent to if they are sent via the internet, but not when being sent by SMS

Think about the risks

In some countries, an encryption app such as Signal may attract attention, be illegal or subject to legal constraints.

Installation guide

Before starting to use Signal, you must download it. Review the installation guide to learn how to do so.

Requirements

To determine whether your phone meets the requirements to use Signal, visit the project homepage at www.whispersystems.org

Android versions

In it's current form, Signal requires Android 2.3 and up. Signal is compatible with GNU Linux, Mac OS, Android, iOS and other Microsoft Windows Compatible Programs.

Communicate with

When you use Signal you can communicate with users using the following programs:

  • Android: surespot, ChatSecure, Zom
  • iOS: surespot, ChatSecure
  • Microsoft Windows: Jitsi, Pidgin
  • Mac OS: Jitsi, Adium
  • Linux: Jitsi, Pidgin

Install Signal in 3 steps

Step 1. Download Signal

On your Android device, download and install the app from the Google Play store by tapping

Signal on the Google Play Store


Alternate download

If you want to use Signal independently of Google Play Services, download Libresignal instead on F-Droid which allows all Signal functions except phone calls.

Step 2: Review permissions

Before the installation process begins, you will be asked to review the access that the app will have on your phone. Review this carefully.

Complete the installation

Once your are happy with the permissions allowed, press 'Next' and the installation will complete.

Canceling the installation

If you do not agree with the permissions allowed, press the back button and the installation will be cancelled.

Permissions required


Step 3. Run Signal

Tap Open to run the app for the first time

Register Signal

Step 1: Register your phone number

Begin the registration process by entering your phone number including country code and press

Registration screen


Confirming number


Step 2: Confirm registration

Signal will send you an SMS message to confirm registration.
Note: If for some reason you do not receive the SMS you will be given the option to receive an automated phone call where you will hear a 6-digit code, this code once entered will complete the registration.


Registration completing
Voice verification screens

Configure Signal

Importing Messages

Signal can securely store your SMS messages, so it is recommended that you import the messages from your current SMS app.

Importing Messages

After registration is complete, Signal will open and you will be asked if you want to import your messages from the default SMS app on your phone. Press

Import messages into Signal


Access old messages

Once the import is complete you can access all your old messages in Signal and you should delete them from your other application.

Making Signal the Default Message App

After your old messages have been imported you should make Signal the default SMS application so that all messages you receive appear in it and not the old application. This can be done by tapping when prompted.

Set Signal as the default SMS application


Encrypted Storage

Signal also allows you to store all your messages in an encrypted container protected by a passphrase, so if someone gains access to your phone, they will not be able to access your messages when Signal is locked.

Automatic locking

After a set period of time, if you have not looked at any messages, Signal will automatically lock and you will have to enter your passphrase the next time you want to read your messages.

Enable encrypted storage

  1. Tap on in the top right of your screen to bring up the menu and select .
  2. Scroll down to the PASSPHRASE section and uncheck Disable Password.
  3. When prompted enter a passphrase that will be used to protect the messages stored on your phone and tap .

Passphrase options

Setting a password


  1. Check the box next to Timeout passphrase to have Signal lock after a period of inactivity (See Fig 9 above).
  2. Tap Timeout interval and in the next screen enter after what time you want Signal to lock if unused and tap .

Signal timeout settings

Next


  • (en/topics/tool-2-signal/1-messaging/1-intro.md): Send encrypted messages to other Signal users via SMS or the internet (MMS).
  • (en/topics/tool-2-signal/2-voice/1-intro.md): Make encrypted voice calls to other Signal users.
  • (en/topics/understand-4-digisec/4-secure-communications/1-1-intro.md): Know how to securely communicate