What is Signal
Before actually seeing how Signal works, let me explain exactly what we are talking about.
As I already mentioned in the introduction of this guide, Signal is a free and open source messaging app that makes security and attention to privacy its cornerstones. Being an open source solution, unlike other "competing" applications (one above all WhatsApp), it is possible to analyze the source code and verify the strength of its encryption system.
In this regard, you should know that the service has several encryption algorithms, as Curve25519, AES-256 e HMAC-SHA256, which are used to make encrypted messages, calls and video calls made between users, so that they cannot be intercepted by any malicious persons, providers or by the Signal managers themselves.
Signal stores on its servers only the day the user connects to the platform. Everything else (chat, profile photo, location, files sent, etc.) is not hosted on its servers and this makes the app extremely respectful of users' privacy. It also integrates some functions that allow you to further increase the level of security, such as the one that allows you to set a timer for self-destructing messages.
Great right? So, now that you know Signal a little better, I can finally explain to you how to download it and use it to contact friends, family, acquaintances, etc. in a safe and simple way.
How to download Signal
The first thing you need to do in order to use Signal is, of course, download the official app of the service on your devices. So allow me to explain to you how to download Signal on smartphone, tablet and computer.
If you want to download Signal on Android, first open the Play Storeby pressing on the icon colored triangle which is located on the home screen or in the app drawer (the screen containing the icons of all installed applications), type “signal” in Campo di Ricerca placed at the top and tap on the first occurrence that is found.
In case you are reading the article from the device on which you intend to install the application, you can press on this link, so as to go directly to its download screen. At this point, after having gone to the section of the Play Store dedicated to Signal, press the green button Install and wait for the procedure to start and complete. If by chance a warning appears that you need to complete your account and enter a valid payment method, click on Continue e Ignore, in order to skip the step (the app, as mentioned, is 100% free).
Are you using a device that does not have the Google Play Store integrated (perhaps a Huawei device with AppGallery)? In this case, you can directly download the Signal APK package from the official website of the app and install it manually.
iOS / iPadOS
It was arranged di iPhone / iPad, to install Signal open theApp Store, pressing the icon of White “A” on a light blue background placed on the home screen, press on the tab Search (bottom right), write “signal” in search bar pop-up at the top and tap on the first available occurrence.
If you are reading this article directly from the iPhone or iPad on which you want to install Signal, you can reach its download screen in the App Store by pressing this link directly.
Finally, press the button Ottieni / Installa and confirm the installation via Face ID, touch ID or Password of your Apple ID.
If you want to download the Signal client on Windows, all you have to do is go to the program's website and click the button Download for Windows.
When the download is complete, open the .exe file you have obtained and wait for the installation of the program to be completed automatically: it should only take a few minutes (it depends on the speed of your Internet connection).
If you have one Mac, the procedure to follow to install Signal is a little different than the one I just indicated for Windows.
In this case, after going to the Signal website and clicking on the button Download for Mac, you have to open the .dmg file that you got. After that you have to drag theSignal icon in the folder Applications macOS, go to the folder in question, right-click on the program icon and select the item apri per due turn consecutive.
This operation must be done only at the first start of Signal and serves to "bypass" the restrictions imposed by Apple on non-certified software.
How to use Signal
After installing the app, it's finally time to find out how to use Signal on all devices. I assure you this is a breeze.
Smartphones and tablets
Let's start with smartphones and tablets. After installing and launching Signal on your Android or iOS / iPadOS device, press the button Continue and grant the app the permissions it needs to work properly: su Android, then click on the item Continue in the opened box and then up Allow three times in a row; up iOS / iPadOS, presses the button instead Enable permissions, Then OK e Allow.
Now, make sure the Country and country code are right (otherwise you will correct it yourself), write your own cellphone number in the appropriate testo field and press the blue button NEXT. Once this is done, enter the code of 6 code that was sent to you via SMS and, after indicating (in the appropriate text fields) name e last name, pig sul sul bottone NEXT.
In the screen that has opened, then create a PIN, that is a code of at least 4 digits, which will be used to protect your chats. After creating it, click on the button NEXT, re-enter it in the appropriate field and press the button again NEXT. With that done, you are ready to use the app.
The operation of Signal it's really that simple. To start chatting with a contact, tap on the icon pencil placed at the bottom right (on Android) or at the top right (on iOS / iPadOS) and, in the screen that opens, tap on the name of the person you want to converse with.
In the new screen that opened, tap on typing bar placed at the bottom, write the message to send to the person and forward it by pressing the icon of thepaper airplane with padlock. Pressing on the button capacitor positive (+) lead placed at the bottom right (on Android) or bottom left (on iOS / iPadOS), you can send photos, files, GIFs, share the location, etc. By pressing on the icon of camera placed at the bottom, however, you can take a photo at the moment and send it, while pressing on the symbol of microphone, you can send voice messages.
If you wish, by tapping on the icon handset (top right), you can also start an audio call (on iOS / iPadOS you can "turn" it into a video call by pressing the icon of the video camera present in the opened screen). By pressing the icon of video camera also placed at the top right (only on Android), however, you can directly start a video call.
If you want to customize some privacy settings regarding the open conversation, tap the contact name with whom you are chatting (above), press on the voice Messaggi to scomparsa (on Android) or move to ON the switch next to the wording in question (on iOS / iPadOS) and, through the appropriate menu, decide after how long to automatically delete the messages (eg. 5 seconds, 1 days, Etc.).
To act on the general settings of the application, however, go back to its main screen, press on thumbnail of your profile photo (top left) and act on the parameters of your interest. By pressing on the wording Privacy, for example, you can activate / deactivate the display of messages in the lock screen, prevent screen capture within the app, activate / deactivate write confirmations and read indicators, block contacts, customize the PIN and much more .
I highly recommend that you set the backup of conversations in the app settings (in the section Chat e download), so you will be able to transfer the chats (which does not happen automatically via the cloud as on WhatsApp or other messaging systems) to a new device or restore them in case of reinstallation: more info here.
Do you want to use Signal on the computer? To do this, after installing and starting the official client of the service, you need to scan the QR code that appears in the main window of the latter. To do this, as you can well guess, you have to act from the Signal app for mobile devices.
After starting the app in question on your Android or iOS / iPadOS device, press the thumbnail of your profile photo (located on its main screen, top left), tap on the wording Connected devices (your Android) or Associated devices (on iOS / iPadOS), press the button capacitor positive (+) lead (bottom right on Android) or on the wording Pair new device (on iOS / iPadOS) and frame the QR code with the camera of your smartphone or tablet.
Then confirm the operation by clicking on the wording Connect device (your Android) or Pair new device (on iOS / iPadOS), choose the name to assign to the computer where you are setting Signal, click on the button Complete the phone connection and wait for the synchronization of your account to start and complete. Keep in mind, however, that for security reasons the chat history is not transferred to the new connected devices, as Signal wants to guarantee the privacy of its users as much as possible.
Otherwise, the client's operation is practically the same as its mobile counterpart. In this case, through the sidebar on the right it is possible to select the names of the contacts to write to and on the right there is the box dedicated to chat.
To write a new message, you need to use the typing bar at the bottom right. As for sending files, photos, etc., you have to click on the button capacitor positive (+) lead located at the bottom right and select the document of your interest; by clicking on the microphone (bottom right), on the other hand, you can send a voice.How Signal works