In the midst of all the chaos, Elon Musk put out a simple tweet that said “Use Signal”, and the revolution began. For those of you who don’t know, Signal is an instant messaging app, that has only one basic working principle – end-to-end encryption.
Governments in most countries have made the switch to the Signal messaging app a few years ago, as it absolutely takes no data from you, which means, whatever you share, whatever you speak, is all visible only to you and the recipient. Signal has no access to what you communicate on their platform.
We ourselves have made the switch to the Signal messaging app, and in this article, we are going to give you a review of the messenger, so that you can ultimately decide if it is worth making the switch.
Without further ado, let’s get started –
Let’s start with the Signal Story
The real brains behind the operation are Moxie Marlinspike and Brian Action.
Matthew Rosenfeld, aka, Moxie Marlinspike, is the creator of Signal, Co-Founder of the Signal Foundation, and also a co-author of the Signal Protocol encryption used by Signal, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Skype.
Brian Action is the executive chairman of the Signal Foundation and is also one of the co-founders of the popular messaging app, Whatsapp.
The idea of Signal was to make cryptography simple, and usable for individuals. They started off with a team of 7 people, with no VC funding of any kind. However, the workload soon started taking its toll, and the decision was made to expand this to an organization that would be better equipped to maintain the platform and the ever-growing user base.
The Signal Foundation started off with initial funding of $50,000,000, which eventually enabled them to dream bigger and have more resources at their disposal. Today, Signal is growing stronger and the team is committed to the project for the long run, which means the messenger that is receiving so much love, is officially here to stay.
The User Interface
The first thing you will notice about the Signal Messaging app is its absolutely spartan and fluid user interface. There are no-frills, no multi colors, no jazz, but rather a focussed UI that allows you to concentrate on the content you have received. The chats are spaced out well, and you will find the app very easy to adjust to, no matter what you are transitioning from.
You will see alerts show up about people from your native contact list, who have joined Signal, and you can chat with them immediately if you want to.
Even inside the chat, Signal is absolutely utility based. The chat background is a pleasing dark grey, with your chats appearing in the Signal Blue window, and the other person’s chat appearing in a light grey. The choice of colors is pleasing to the eyes, and the chats scroll through butter smooth.
The Voice call and Video call features are placed in the familiar location on top of the chat window, and the UI within the Call and Video chat windows is also similar to the other popular messengers.
The signal messaging app does allow a small degree of customization, in the form of an appearance option. You can choose between the Light or Dark modes, and to be honest, we are a bit partial towards the latter.
When it comes to chatting features, you can use your native keyboard in order to communicate easier with your contacts. The latest emojis are all supported and Signal is working on more encrypted stickers as we speak.
What we found overall, is that switching to the Signal Messaging app, from any other messenger is very easy, and takes a grand total of 10-15 seconds to get used to it.
Why You Should use the Signal Messaging App
Number 1. Complete end to end encryption
The USP of the Signal messaging app is the complete end to end encryption. This means that everything you do on the app is only under your purview. No one at the signal or any third agency will have any access to your activity on the app.
Number 2. Share absolutely anything
Signal allows you to send all forms of media through the apps. This includes images, videos, GIFs, stickers, and files. You will need internet connectivity to run this messaging app so make sure your phone has mobile data or Wi-Fi at all times.
Number 3. Speak freely
The Signal messaging app allows you to enjoy seamless audio and video calls no matter the distance or location. There is no long-distance fee, which makes Signal truly a top of the line instant messaging app.
Number 4. Encrypted stickers
If you are an artist and you want to explore your creativity in making stickers, the Signal messaging app allows you to create your own encrypted sticker packs which you can even share in the community.
Number 5. It is 100% FREE
The Signal messaging app is free for use and the company has also been very specific about the fact that they make money out of donations or grants for their platform. This way, they can keep the app free for use.
How does the End-To-End Encryption work on Signal?
The whole mantra behind the Signal app is the end to end encryption in all the messages and audio/video calls. Basically, the messages you send to your contact are encrypted and the package can only be decrypted by the recipient device. There is no middle man involvement.
Taking this to another level, you also have the option to encrypt the stored messages on your device. This means that even if someone gains access to your smartphone, there is no way for them to access your Signal messaging app content unless they have the passcode that you have set.
The messages are encrypted using the Signal protocol, which is by far the most robust and secure protocol ever developed. It amalgamates the Extended Triple Diffie-Hellman (X3DH) key agreement protocol, Double Ratchet algorithm, pre-keys, and uses Curve25519, AES-256, and HMAC-SHA256 as cryptographic primitives.
The only point you need to know is that if you send a message from the Sigal Messaging app to a different messenger on the recipient side, the messages won’t be secure.
Group Chats and Media Sharing
The Signal Messaging app allows you to create groups comprising of 150 members, and have group chats, just as you would on any other messenger app in the market. Other than group chats, the other aspect of messaging apps that people absolutely need, is Media Sharing. The Signal Messaging app allows you to share all types of Media with a size limit of 200 MB. This is more than what some of the other mainstream messengers offers, so you will not be left wanting.
Is the Signal Messaging App available on all platforms?
The quick answer is YES. The Signal Messaging app is available as a free download for iOS, Android, and PC. Just keep in mind that the initial setup has to be done on the smartphone, and then the same account can be used on the PC.
You can download your copy of the Signal Messaging App from the following links.
Signal for Android – Click Here
Signal for iOS – Click Here
Signal for PC – Click Here
All in all, the Signal Messaging App is by far, the best alternative for some of the mainstream messengers. It is fresh, it is relatively new, and offers the true end to end encryption experience.
The user interface is clean, and the features you expect to find in a modern Messaging app, are all there from the get-go. We are living in an age where data privacy is a true concern, and with the Signal Messaging app, we believe that you can take one step towards a more secure messaging and data sharing experience.