Since Facebook wanted to make money with WhatsApp, trust in Messenger has dwindled. Fortunately, there are safe and comfortable alternatives like Signal. We have collected answers to the most frequently asked questions about Signal Messenger in these FAQs.
Is it worth switching?
Is Signal better than WhatsApp?
When it comes to data protection, Signal is clearly at the top of the game. And behind it is the non-profit Signal Foundation, which makes no money from user data, while WhatsApp has been managed by Facebook for several years. Unlike WhatsApp, Signal is also open source, so anyone can view and verify the app’s source code. Signal is also in the lead when it comes to security: Signal and WhatsApp both use the Signal protocol for communication, ensuring that end-to-end encrypted messages are sent to the recipient. Signal also protects metadata like phone numbers, chat contacts, or group memberships better than WhatsApp. On the other hand, WhatsApp’s suite of functions is currently somewhat larger, but Signal developers are gradually working on the gradual implementation of the well-known features of WhatsApp & Co.
A reference on the desktop
Can I also use Signal on a computer?
Yes, there is also an indication of Windows, macOS, and Linux. You have to pair the desktop app with your smartphone before using it for the first time. To do this, open the smartphone app settings and add the computer under “Paired devices”. You can then use the smartphone app to scan the QR code displayed on your computer. Unlike WhatsApp, Signal works independently on the desktop: you can use the desktop app even when your smartphone is locked. Due to encryption, only the messages that have arrived since pairing appear on the paired devices; And the computer was unable to decrypt previous messages either. Separate related clients that you no longer use.
Video calls in Gruppen
Does Signal support video conferencing?
Yes, you can now make encrypted voice and video calls in groups. To do this, just open the group chat and click on the camera icon in the upper right corner. If the code is missing, it is still an old type kit that does not support all modern functions. In this case, you can either create a new group with the people you want to talk to or change the current group to the new group type (see ‘Old and new groups’). Signal supports conference calls with up to five participants. This limit will be increased in the future. Audio and video calls also work on the desktop.
Signal instead of USB stick
Can I use Signal to exchange data between my devices?
Yes, Signal can also send files and messages within an account thus serving as an alternative to a USB stick and as a digital notepad. You only need to chat with yourself using the contact “Note to me”. In this case, too, the transmission is encrypted. Maximum size is 100MB per file; Transferring executable files is not permitted in Signal for security reasons. However, you can package and send these files in a zip archive.
The PIN is protected
Why should I set a PIN for signaling?
Signal PIN protects data associated with your account, including your contacts, profile and settings. If a PIN code is not set, this data cannot be restored if Signal was set up on a new device and you do not have a backup – you will have to start from scratch. This is an important protection, because calling the phone number alone will be extremely insecure: if your phone number is assigned to a new mobile client, that person can access your data in another way. Attacks in which the perpetrator requests another SIM to hold your mobile phone are also thwarted in this way. You can also activate registration lock in Signal settings under “Data protection”, which prevents new devices from calling your phone number without your consent. This ban is valid for seven days: if you have been inactive for a week, your phone numbers will be issued again to new customers.
What can I do to protect my privacy as best as possible?
Signal offers a number of optional features that you can use to improve data protection. Activate the “Incognito keyboard” option in settings under “Data protection” so that the indication on the on-screen keyboard indicates that text entries have not been saved to the dictionary – and thus also often in the cloud. If necessary, turn off read receipts and writing indicators to prevent the person you’re talking to from knowing when you have read a message and when you’re writing it. If you activate “always indirect calls”, the app generally routes your calls through the signal server. This prevents the calling party from knowing your IP address. However, the call quality can be affected as a result.
In the case of particularly sensitive conversations, you can specify in the chat settings that messages are automatically deleted after a specified period of time. The time only runs after the recipient first reads the message. Of course, the malicious chat partner can still document messages, for example by capturing their mobile phone screen.
What do the safety numbers mean in my contacts’ personal files? Should I check it?
You can use the safety number to verify if your messages are actually reaching the correct recipient. In Signal, every chat has its own feature. It is basically the fingerprint of the encryption key used. If this key changes, your contact’s account may have been taken over by someone else. But there are also legitimate reasons, for example if your contact sets up their account again.
To ensure the confidentiality of your conversation, you should verify the safety number during a face-to-face meeting. To do this, both call participants open chat settings by clicking on their username. Then select “Check Security Number”. The displayed sequence of numbers must be identical for both ends. To make it easier to check number columns, you can scan the displayed QR code. If the number matches, both participants click Verified.
Old and new groups
What’s new in group type?
There are two types of chat groups in Signal: the current format and the old “old” groups. All newly created groups correspond to the current format and thus support modern functions such as voice call, video call, signage (@username) and admin functions. You can learn about old groups by the fact that Signal displays “Old Writing Collection” at the top of the group settings. Directly below you can easily convert these groups to the new type (“Update This Collection”). All group participants must use the existing signal emission for this purpose, including all associated devices. If there are users in the group emitting an old signal, they will be warned before switching and can specifically request contacts to update their signals.
Signal as an SMS app
I can also send SMS with Signal. Is this also encrypted?
No. You can set up Signal as the standard SMS and MMS app on Android, but the SMS messages are sent unencrypted over the cellular network as before. As usual, the transfer will be charged on your cell phone tariff.
Only for nerds?
Many encrypted messaging programs are very complex. Can I recommend Signal to my mother-in-law, who has only used WhatsApp so far?
Signal targets a wide audience, and is as easy to use and setup as WhatsApp. So you can encourage family, friends and colleagues to switch. Signal is equipped with some special functions, but it does not impose them on its users. If you just want to communicate as usual, you won’t be in contact with him. You really benefit from the added benefit of data protection and security with standard settings.
Can I somehow backup my chat logs and restore them if needed?
Yes, it works, but only on Android. To save, open the settings and “conversations”, there you will find the export function under “backup / save conversations”. Signal will show you a passphrase that you must write down. Backups are encrypted and cannot be restored without the passphrase. Signal provides you with restore if you set up the app again and the backup is in the appropriate storage location (/ storage / emulated / 0 / Signal / Backups).
You cannot create such backups on iOS, but you can at least transfer messages from one device to another if both of them are still working. The exact procedure is described in Instructions des couriers explained.
If you don’t care about being able to restore your old conversations in case, you can do without setting up the backup. Backups are not required for current account setup, for example after changing devices.
A little fun is always good
Does Signal support animated stickers?
Animated chat stickers are very popular for WhatsApp, Telegram & Co. It is also available recently on Signal. In the chat, just click on the sticker icon to the left of the text entry field. You can then select a sticker and submit it. Use the plus sign next to the sticker selection to add new sticker sets. The selection can currently be controlled within the app, but you can find it at https://signalstickers.com Very few combinations that you can install easily. on the site Find information on how to get it Create your own poster sets ability. Signal Desktop is required for this. Meanwhile, you can also change Signal’s chat background in Conversation Settings, as you are used to with other messaging programs.
In c’t 9/2021, we showed how useful Raspberry Pi can be as a corporate and home VPN router. We examined convenience, hygiene and security when paying by smartphone and smartwatch, tested office mice and made a farm robot for the home garden. You can read about this and much more in Issue 9/2021, which will be published on April 9th Hesse Store Available in a well stocked magazine stand.