Signal is a cross-platform encrypted messaging service developed by the Signal Foundation and Signal Messenger.
Many users have decided to make the switch, moving entire groups to Signal in a matter of days. While there are several useful features on Signal, many users are concerned that they will miss out on WhatsApp’s offerings. Here are 10 of these features that already exist on Signal, so you can switch right away.
1. Read Receipts and Typing Indicators
You can check who’s seen your messages and who’s “leaving you on read” with Signal’s read receipts feature, just as you can on WhatsApp. These can be turned off so others can’t see when you read their texts – but if you do, you won’t be able to see if they’ve read your messages. The app also supports typing indicators, popping up three dots to show someone is writing, but unlike WhatsApp, you can turn these off as well.
2. Disappearing messages
This feature, which only recently made it to WhatsApp after months of testing, has been in Signal for years now. You can choose to have the app delete your messages in the chat after a set period to keep the chat clean and save space on your phone. While WhatsApp limits the timer to only seven days, Signal lets you choose anything between five seconds to a week.
3. Full group support with admin roles
Part of WhatsApp’s appeal is the easy way you can set up groups and let people join using a link or by adding them manually. Signal also supports link invitations that can be revoked, re-created or simply disabled when not needed. However, Signal goes one step further and asks users to accept a request before being added to any group so you don’t get added to unwanted groups. Similarly admins can choose to approve any members joining via invite links.
4. Reliable end-to-end encryption for messages
Designed to ensure that only the intended recipients are able to see its contents, end-to-end encryption is becoming more and more popular today with more apps and services embracing the technology. In this case, Signal has employed their encryption in a much better way than WhatsApp. This is not surprising, considering that WhatsApp has been using Signal’s technology for end-to-end encryption of messages since 2016!
5. Attachments and forwarding messages
Another important feature in any modern messenger, Signal supports sending attachments in any format (except APKs) to any Signal user. An added bonus is that Signal does not compress photos sent as heavily as WhatsApp. All attachments are completely encrypted, just like your messages and calls. The app also supports forwarding messages to other users and groups.
6. Support for a desktop application
This feature actually arrived on Signal before it did on WhatsApp – Signal has a proper, offline, dedicated desktop application for Windows, MacOS and Linux. This means that unlike the WhatsApp Web app, your phone does not have to be connected to the internet for the desktop app to work. Facebook is working on true multi-device support for WhatsApp but we do not know when it will be publicly available.
7. Voice notes
Just like WhatsApp, you can send voice messages on Signal by holding down on the mic button which is located inside the area where you compose your messages. These are handy when you have to explain something at length but you can’t type and your hands are full. You can also hold and swipe up to ‘lock’ the recorder instead of holding the mic icon for an extended period.
8. Biometric locking
Another feature that has existed on Signal for years before it arrived on WhatsApp a year ago, Biometric locking ensures that no one except you has access to your chats. You can also choose how long the app will remain unlocked before it is locked again, as well as hide the contents of the notifications when it is locked.
9. Group video calls
Recently introduced on Signal, you can video call up to five people at the same time and continue those late night conversations, just like you did on WhatsApp. The developers at Signal bring useful features to users, but ensure that they implement those features in a very easy-to-use manner, so your group video calls are both secure and easy to set up.
10. Message archive and conversation pinning
These might not be considered an important feature by many, but for those of us who like to keep their inboxes tidy, the message archive feature is an absolute must. Unlike WhatsApp, you don’t have to long press and archive, just swipe a conversation away. You can also pin conversations so they’re always ready and right at the top of your list.
Are these features on Signal enough for you to switch from WhatsApp? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook if you made the switch!