Install Signal Private Messenger for Android

Edited by Jay, Annessa

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Signal Private Messenger makes a great alternative to the stock SMS app's that come pre-installed on Android devices. Users can avoid SMS charges and enjoy peace of mind knowing that their communications remain completely private. The app's server never has access to your messages or data, and nothing is stored or logged. Another key feature is that the app uses open source code and is always being reviewed for potential security risks. This ensures a high level of privacy because users from all around the world can monitor the app for vulnerabilities within the code.

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Users have the option of using Signal as their standalone (default) SMS app or, as an additional messaging app, similar to WhatsApp. End-to-end encryption is only utilized when both sides are using Signal, regardless if it's set as the default SMS app.

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In the steps below we installed a fresh copy of Signal Private Messenger on a Google Pixel running Android's Oreo OS. Users running a previous version of Android will also work, just as long as it's 4.0 or higher.

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Install Signal Private Messenger

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  1. 1
    Access your device's app drawer and launch the "Play Store" app.
    Signal-private-messenger-01.png
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  2. 2
    From the Play Store, type "signal private messenger" into the search box
    .
    When the results populate, tap the first link.
    Signal-private-messenger-02.png
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  3. 3
    On the app's information screen, tap "INSTALL".
    Signal-private-messenger-03.png
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  4. 4
    Signal will now request permission to access various parts of your device
    .
    Tap "ACCEPT" to continue with the setup.
    Signal-private-messenger-04.png
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  5. 5
    Once the app has installed, tap the green "OPEN" button.
    Signal-private-messenger-05.png
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  6. 6
    To connect your device with Signal, you have to enter your phone number
    .
    It should auto-load by default, but if it doesn't, enter it manually.
    Signal-private-messenger-06A.png
    If you're from outside the United States, tap the drop-down triangle, select your country of origin and tap "Register".
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  7. 7
    You'll be prompted to double check that your phone number is correct
    .
    If the number is right, tap "CONTINUE".
    Signal-private-messenger-07.png
    Signal will now verify your phone number automatically because it has access to your SMS messages.
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  8. 8
    On the following screen you can edit your profile name
    .
    To add an image, tap the camera icon in the upper-left corner and browse to your gallery, or take a new image with device's onboard camera.
    Signal-private-messenger-08.png
    Once the information looks good, tap "FINISH" to continue.
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  9. 9
    Next, you'll be asked if you want to make Signal your default SMS app
    .
    This is optional of course, but if the users you're communicating with aren't using Signal, you won't get end-to-end encryption.
    Signal-private-messenger-09.png
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Invite Friends, Create Groups, Send Messages, Make and Receive Calls

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  1. 1
    Now that Signal is installed and has verified your number, it's time to invite friends
    .
    From the main screen, tap the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner, then tap "Invite friends".
    Signal-private-messenger-10.png
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  2. 2
    On the Invite friends screen, tap "CHOOSE CONTACTS" and select which contacts you want to invite
    .
    With your contacts selected, tap "SEND SMS TO FRIENDS".
    Signal-private-messenger-11.png
    You can also share the invite link by tapping the share button on the Invite friends screen.
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  3. 3
    To create a new group, tap the three-dot menu in the top right corner, followed by "New group".
    Signal-private-messenger-12.png
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  4. 4
    On the New group screen enter a name and add members by tapping the "+" symbol.
    Signal-private-messenger-13.png
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  5. 5
    To send a message to a friend, tap the pencil icon in the lower right corner.
    Signal-private-messenger-14.png
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  6. 6
    On the new message screen you can either select a contact or, type the name or number of someone
    .
    With a contact selected, type your message in the text box and tap the blue circular send button on the right.
    Signal-private-messenger-15.png
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  7. 7
    To send an attachment, tap the three-dot menu in the upper right corner, followed by "Add attachment".
    Signal-private-messenger-16.png
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  8. 8
    You can choose how long the app waits before it deletes messages for a particular conversation
    .
    Tap the three-dot menu, then tap "Disappearing messages".
    Signal-private-messenger-17.png
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  9. 9
    In the disappearing messages menu box, tap a time interval, followed by "OK".
    Signal-private-messenger-18.png
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  10. 10
    To make a call, select a contact, then tap the phone icon in the top right corner.
    Signal-private-messenger-19.png
    Once Signal begins dialing your contact, you can select the video camera icon to initiate a video call.
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  11. 11
    To answer an incoming call, swipe towards the green phone icon
    .
    To decline the call, swipe towards the red phone icon.
    Signal-private-messenger-20.png
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  12. 12
    If you experience encryption issues during your conversation, tap the three-dot menu, followed by "Reset secure session".
    Signal-private-messenger-21.png
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  13. 13
    From the Reset secure session dialogue pop-up, tap "RESET".
    Signal-private-messenger-22.png
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Settings and Preferences

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  1. 1
    To access Signal's main options, tap the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner (from the main screen), then tap "Settings".
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  2. 2
    The first set of settings allows users to enable/disable the app's SMS and MMS features.
    Signal-private-messenger-24.png
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  3. 3
    Here you can; set Signal as the default SMS app, enable message delivery reports, and enable WiFi calling mode.
    Signal-private-messenger-25.png
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  4. 4
    Next we come to the app's Notification settings.
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  5. 5
    Here you can edit multiple options
    .
    Enable/disable notifications, select the sound, turn on vibrate and LED color, change the LED blink pattern, display the name and messages, and set priority.
    Signal-private-messenger-27.png
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  6. 6
    Moving along, we come to Privacy.
    Signal-private-messenger-28.png
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  7. 7
    Inside the Privacy section you can; set a passphrase, enable screen security (blocks screenshots), enable incognito keyboard, relay calls through the Signal server (hides IP), enable/disable read receipts, and manage blocked contacts.
    Signal-private-messenger-29.png
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  8. 8
    Next in the list of settings is Appearance
    .
    You can choose between the light or dark theme and change the language.
    Signal-private-messenger-31.png
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  9. 9
    Next we arrive at Chats and media.
    Signal-private-messenger-32.png
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  10. 10
    An important section to check out is "Media auto-download"
    .
    If you have a finite amount of data, you'll want to set this before using the app.
    Signal-private-messenger-33 1.png
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  11. 11
    Tap "When using mobile data" to choose which types of media will download when your device is using your mobile data.
    Signal-private-messenger-34.png
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  12. 12
    Tap "When using WiFi" to select the media that the app downloads when you're connected to WiFi.
    Signal-private-messenger-35.png
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  13. 13
    The next section of Signal's settings is Linked devices.
    Signal-private-messenger-36.png
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  14. 14
    Although you can only run a single instance of Signal per mobile device, you can still link to the desktop version
    .
    With the Signal's desktop application installed, go to settings, then linked devices.
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    Use the camera on the mobile phone to scan the QR code that is displayed on the desktop version to link the two.
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  15. 15
    The final section of settings is Advanced.
    Signal-private-messenger-38.png
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  16. 16
    Here you can enable/disable messages and calls by tapping the toggle switch.
    Signal-private-messenger-39.png
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  17. 17
    You can also submit a debug log
    .
    This is handy for keeping the app running smoothly and securely. If you submit a debug report, it will be posted online for other Signal contributors to view.
    Signal-private-messenger-40.png
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If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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Article Info

Categories : Software | Use Google Pixel and Pixel XL

Recent edits by: Jay

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