What is Signal APP and Why Are People Leaving WhatsApp?

WhatsApp’s latest modification to its Privacy Policy has sent several users ditching the platform in search for better alternatives. One such alternative is Signal.

The app has seen a Surge in its userbase with the Word’s richest Man Elon Musk endorsing the app. In fact, Signal’s servers were unable to handle the influx and verification codes were delayed, although the issue seems to be resolved at the moment. Which begs the question, “what is signal, and why are so many people turning to it?”

What is Signal?

  • Signal is a cross-platform encrypted messaging service that is available on iOS, Android, and Windows.
  • The platform is an open-source software application that uses end-to-end encryption for messages and media shared between users.
  • We can make video and audio calls on Signal.
  • We can also send links, photos, and videos, similar to WhatsApp.

Signal app owner

Signal was created by Moxie Marlinspike, an American cryptographer. The app as we know it today is developed by the Signal Foundation and Signal Messenger. Signal Foundation was founded on January 10, 2018, and a former co-founder of WhatsApp — Brian Acton — made an initial funding of $50 million (or approximately Rs. 350 crores based on the exchange rate in 2018).

Signal app download

The Signal app is available on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Linux, although you can only sign up via Android or iPhone. Once you have set up an account, you can link Signal to your iPad or your computer, and use the app even if your phone is switched off.

Signal Foundation

Signal Foundation, officially known as Signal Technology Foundation, is the non-profit behind the Signal app. Its mission is “to develop open source privacy technology that protects free expression and enables secure global communication”. At the moment Signal Foundation’s focus is on the messaging app, but it eventually plans to promote other privacy preserving projects too.

How does Signal work?

While Signal uses telephone numbers as contacts, like WhatsApp, it uses the Internet to send private or group messages to other users. Signal cannot “decrypt or otherwise access the content of your messages or calls.”

Is Signal free to use?

Yes, Signal is completely free to use. Signal can replace your default messaging app, although you may incur a fee to send a text message, depending on our mobile plan.

Can we make group calls on Signal?

We can make group calls on Signals, which are limited to 150 members.

What are Signal’s privacy features?

Signal has quite a few privacy features, including Screen Lock, Relay Calls, and more. Signal users can turn off link previews from websites when they are sent in messages. Users can also turn off Read Receipts, preventing people from seeing when you have read their message. When you turn on the option to Relay Calls on Signal, all your calls will go through a Signal server to avoid revealing your IP address, although Signal suggests that this will reduce call quality.

We can turn off the indicator that shows another person when you are typing. Signal also allows you to set a security PIN to keep your account secure, although there is no way of recovering a forgotten PIN. Signal also has a Screen Lock feature to ensure no one can access the platform on your phone.

Does Signal collect your data?

Signal’s privacy policy states that the messaging app only collects account information, which is primarily the phone number used to create the Signal account. In addition, it also collects some technical information including, “randomly generated authentication tokens, keys, push tokens, and other material that is necessary to establish calls and transmit messages.” However, Signal says it “limits this additional technical information to the minimum required to operate the Services.” Signal also says that it does not “sell, rent or monetize your personal data or content in any way — ever.”

Can we backup chats on Signal on the Cloud?

Unlike WhatsApp, We cannot backup chats on iCloud or Google Drive with Signal. All chats are stored on our phone, so if we lose our device, all our previous chats will be lost.

Is Signal better than WhatsApp?

In terms of privacy features, Signal is better than WhatsApp. However, if you care about app features and who’s using the messaging app, then WhatsApp is ahead. The most important part of any messaging app are the people who use it. If your entire social circle is on WhatsApp, then no amount of features can make Signal more appealing.

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