It is no longer news that people are threatening to switch from Whatsapp to Signal. Actually, some of my own friends now ask me to send them messages on Signal and someone went as far as sharing on his status that Whatsapp is about to be deserted. LOL.
Nigerians have proven that privacy is actually a big deal to them, they are ready to fight if anybody encroaches on it as well as start looking for alternatives sharp, sharp! Some people are trying out Telegram while others are moving to Signal. Here, I will share 5 things about the Signal app that you should know if you are switching to it. The more you know about the app, the more you can fully enjoy using it.
Signal has better security and privacy features than WhatsApp
In addition to the end-to-end (E2E) encryption, Signal also allows you to send a message and restrict the company (Signal) from knowing who sent it. This can be enabled by turning on the ‘Sealed Sender’ feature, in which case Signal will only know the software address it is supposed to deliver the message to.
The E2E encryption is present on WhatsApp as well and Facebook actually uses the Signal Protocol to encrypt the messages we send on WhatsApp as well as calls. Since the privacy arguments against WhatsApp is that users do not want the company snooping on any of their personal data, Signal is a better option as the company does not collect users’ personal data. The sealed sender feature on Signal only takes this privacy protection up a notch.
In terms of social features, WhatsApp beats Signal
The basic communication features on WhatsApp are chats, audio and video calls, and voice notes. These features are available on Signal as well as the same cosy feeling you get when chatting on WhatsApp. Where Whatsapp beats Signal is in the presence of disappearing status, which is actually a big deal these days.
Some friends that you may not have checked on for a while suddenly come back to your mind when you see their status updates on WhatsApp. Statuses have now become a way for people to share about their day using video, graphic or text. Businesses also use it to promote their product to people on their timelines.
If you are looking to switch to the app, you need to decide if the absence of the status feature is a big deal for you. If you can do without it, you are good to go.
If you do not like accumulating chats, Signal has got you covered
Signal makes it easy to keep your chats with anyone below a constant benchmark. Over time, messages accumulate and you can have as much as 100,000 messages saved on your chat app alone. In the Settings section of Signal, there is a feature called “Conversation length limit” which automatically helps you to trim chats constantly.
Once you set your messages to never accumulate past a certain number of words, for example, if you set it to 5000, Signal deletes all messages except the most recent 5,000. That way, your chats stay lean and short all the time.
Ancient chats no longer have to take up space
This is similar to the trimming feature but there is a difference. If you navigate to the “Keep messages” option in Settings, you can choose how long you want messages to stay on your phone. Chats can stay for 6 months, 30 days, 1 year, forever or for any number of days you are willing to have them on your device.
If you set a timeline of 30 days for your messages, Signal deletes messages that are 30 days old and repeats that same process for every other message on the app.
You can stop people from taking screenshots of your chats
You can restrict people from screen grabbing shots of your chats on Signal. Whether your chat is open on Signal or it is in the recent list, enabling the “Screen security” feature will restrict anyone from taking screenshots of it on your phone. This gives an additional layer of security and ensures that information cannot be peddled anyhow.
However, this does not stop the person you are communicating with on the other side from taking screenshots on his or her phone. Still, it could prevent a malware that hacks your phone from taking screenshots of your chats without your knowing.
Suggested Read: Fix Zone: 10 Common WhatsApp Problems and Hows to Resolve them
Okay, one more
Signal is an instant messaging app that is developed by Signal Messenger LLC and is funded by the Signal Foundation. Whatsapp co-founder, Brian Acton is also a co-founder of the Signal Foundation. Acton left Whatsapp after Facebook bought the company for $21.8 billion.
Moxie Marlinspike is the other co-founder of the foundation as well as the CEO of Signal. Signal LLC is a non-profit company with no ties to major tech companies and cannot be bought by any.
You can continue using Whatsapp for communication as long as you’re fine with the privacy requirements and its functionalities. However, if you have privacy concerns that Whatsapp does not care about, then go ahead and switch to Signal.
Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!