Signal is one of the more popular encrypted messaging platforms on the market for those who want a secure (and free) way to communicate.
The app uses its own open-source, end-to-end encryption protocol and, as a bonus, is owned by a non-profit foundation rather than a tech giant like Facebook (WhatsApp’s parent company).
With Signal, your communication is encrypted end-to-end by default, meaning that no one else can drop into your messages, group chats and voice calls. You don’t have to enable any settings to ensure this.
The app has a disappearing-message feature for communications you don’t want to keep around. And because it’s open-source, the code is regularly audited for security flaws.
How to install Signal
1. Download the Signal software for your preferred platform:
Note that in order to use Signal on your desktop, you must have the app installed on your phone first.
2. Open the app on your phone and register using your phone number.
Heads up: Before you do this, you will have to click through the Terms & Conditions and decide whether to enable notifications and grant Signal access to your contacts.
3. Signal will send you a verification code via SMS. Enter this into the code field.
4. You’ll be asked to create a PIN for your account.
The PIN is four digits by default, but you can choose to make it an alphanumeric password or to use a longer PIN.
5. Fill out your profile.
Signal requires only a first name, and it doesn’t need to be your real name. It can be a nickname or even an emoji. A last name and a photo or other avatar are optional.
That’s all you need to do. Once you’re set up on your phone, you can enable a desktop or iPad version as well. Signal makes it easy to link multiple devices, too.
How to link a desktop or iPad to your Signal account
First, install and open the app on your desktop or iPad (Android tablets aren’t currently supported for this feature).
Then open Signal on your phone and tap your profile icon in the upper-left corner to access your Settings.
Tap Linked Devices > (Android) or Link New Device (iOS) and use your phone to scan the QR code on the device you want to link. Follow the prompts to finalize the setup.
How to use Signal
To send an individual message with Signal, tap the pencil icon in the upper-right corner. (Some versions of the Android app will have the pencil in the lower-right corner.) This will pull up contacts from your phone (if you enabled those permissions during set-up). Simply tap on a contact and start typing.
You can also search for Signal users who aren’t in your contacts by clicking Find by Phone Number.
To place an encrypted audio or video call, select a contact and then tap the phone or camera icon that appears in the upper corner of the screen.
To chat with a group, tap the pencil icon on the home screen, then New Group.
You can select members from your contacts or add people by phone number. Tap Next, enter a group name, and tap Create.
You can invite additional members by sending out the group link or adding from your contacts. Tap the group icon at the top of the screen to access your group’s settings. Scroll down to Group Link to enable this feature and share the direct link. You can also require an admin to approve member requests.
You can also use Signal for group calls (up to five participants) directly from a group chat.
To enable disappearing messages in an individual or group chat, go to the chat settings and toggle this feature on. You can select how long you want messages to appear for (from five seconds to one week).
Other Signal features
Signal has a number of additional privacy options you can enable. From the home screen, go to Settings > Privacy to change specific messaging preferences like read receipts as well as screen security, which prevents message previews from showing, and screen lock, which requires your password or biometric access to view the app.
If you’re sending photos or videos, Signal allows you to annotate as well as blur out portions of images. This is handy if you want to hide faces before sending media.
Tap the camera icon to capture or upload media — once you have an image to send, use the checkerboard icon to blur.
If you ever want to destroy your account, go to Settings > Advanced and tap the Delete Account button.
The app requires a working phone number to register your account, and that can leave you open to harassment and even hackers. Thankfully, there’s a way to use Signal without revealing any personal info at all, though it may require a decent amount of legwork depending on whether you use Android or iOS.
What you need to setup your new Signal account
The Intercept has a full rundown of how to create an account without revealing your personal phone number, but the key detail is that Signal only needs access to a phone network when you first register. After that, it’s all done over the internet.
So all you need is access to a working phone number. That could be a landline, a pre-paid SIM or another online service like Google Voice or Skype. Just make sure you have control over the number your using.
Signal, the Encrypted Chat App, Is Now Available on the Desktop
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If you have an Android phone you’re in luck. You can set up a new account on the device by going into the phone’s settings and selecting “Add user or profile.” Then you can switch between between accounts by dragging down the Android notification tab and selecting the user icon.
If you’re already using Signal on your iPhone it’s a little trickier to set up a second account, since Apple doesn’t support multiple profiles. Your best bet is to just use a separate device, which won’t need a cellular connection to work. You could also use Signal Desktop instead, but you’ll still need to delete Signal from your iPhone temporarily or do some serious coding to get set up.
Take Baby Steps Toward Encryption by Securing Your Smartphone
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How to create your new Signal account
This is the easy part.
When you set up the new account, Signal will send an SMS to the phone number you enter to verify it. If that doesn’t work (like if you’re using an old fashioned landline that can’t accept text messages), it will wait two minutes before calling the number and telling you a verification code. Enter that into the app and you’re good to go.
I'm coming from Telegram. I could use it perfectly without giving it access to my contacts – all the contacts were only in the app and they weren't linked to my contacts. When I wanted to add someone, I just added their number and after talking to them, their name and profile picture showed up. Everything was synced to my desktop app.
I've been trying out Signal for the last few days and it gets really buggy when I disallow access to contacts. When first adding a friend by phone number, it only showed his phone number. When I removed the conversation and started a new one, it showed his Signal nickname. When I installed the desktop app, it hung up while trying to sync contacts and after few minutes, it didn't show anything – not even the chats I started on my phone. Only after my friend messaged me, the chat showed up, but only with the single message, not the whole conversation.
My question is – WTF? How come I can't use "the worlds most secure messaging app" without giving it access to all my contacts?
Welcome to an app where all of your messages are end-to-end encrypted and where the server does not store a record of your contacts, social graph, conversation list, location, avatar, profile name, group memberships, group titles, or group avatars:
When first adding a friend by phone number, it only showed his phone number.
This is intended behavior. Signal profiles are end-to-end encrypted and only shown to other users who have received your profile key. Your profile key is automatically shared with any Signal users who you have saved in your phone, who are in a conversation that you created, and who are in a conversation or group that you have explicitly approved. Edit: In case it's still unclear, your device needs to first receive your contact's profile key through the encrypted Signal messaging channel before it can show you their Signal profile.
When I installed the desktop app, it hung up while trying to sync contacts [. ]
You can help the developers optimise the desktop app’s startup time by sending them a debug log.
[. ] and after few minutes, it didn't show anything – not even the chats I started on my phone. Only after my friend messaged me, the chat showed up, but only with the single message, not the whole conversation.
This is intended behavior. Signal Desktop can’t sync any messages that were sent before you linked the device to your account because the messages are not saved on the Signal server after they’ve been delivered, and even if they were, the new device would not have any of the necessary keys to decrypt them. When you add a new instance of Signal Desktop, it will only sync your Signal contacts and the Signal messages that you send/receive going forward.
A request to sync existing messaging history from the mobile app to a new instance of Signal Desktop is being tracked here:
My question is – WTF? How come I can't use "the worlds most secure messaging app" without giving it access to all my contacts?
You’ve just demonstrated that it is possible to use Signal without giving it access to your phone’s address book. On Android and desktop, you can initiate new conversations by entering the recipient's phone number in the "Enter name or number" field; on iOS, enter the recipient's number in the "Find by phone number" field.
Even if you give the app access to your phone's address book, none of its contents will be stored on the Signal servers:
Late addition: This may already be obvious to anyone who has read this far, but none of the issues described in the post above have anything to do with the fact that OP didn't give the app access to their phone's address book.
Does Signal have Last Seen ON feature?
Signal Private Messenger is known for its privacy and providing a secured platform for its users. With password protection, screen lock, screen security (blocks screenshots from chats) and incognito keyboard on your Signal account, you can rest assured no one is going to peep into your chats for sure. However, as we all know how the organisation keeps privacy and security the key USP, there is no feature that lets you use the Last Seen ON features like WhatsApp and other messenger apps. However, you will only get to know if the message has been delivered or not, but no info about the last seen and if the other person has seen your messages or not.
Can you upload Online Status feature on Signal?
As of now, there is no such feature that allows users to upload online statuses or send disappearing selfies like Snapchat and Instagram. However, one can share multimedia files such as images, videos, PDFs and more. They also have a Windows App which you can link with your phone through the "Link Another Device" feature. You can also use the Signal Windows App to make Video Calls, which feature is currently not provided by WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and more social applications.
With such alluring privacy features and industry-leading security policies, Signal is grabbing the attention of many users around the world. However, the increase in the user base has caused a server issue for the organisation in the previous days, but now the issues have been resolved. One can download Signal from Google Play Store and iOS App Store for smartphones, and you can install the app for Windows through the organisation's official website.
Signal is a free private messaging platform that promises security and privacy to users through end-to-end encryption. The emphasis on every conversation’s security has Signal quickly rising in popularity, but it may also have many parents asking, “How safe is Signal?”
With Signal, users can message people one-on-one, create group chats, and make free voice and video calls. With the app’s end-to-end encryption, only those involved with the conversation are able to view and access messages.
Users create an encrypted “Signal Profile” — a name and picture that they set up within the app. First names are required, but people can use a nickname, single character, or an emoji as their identifier.
“Message Requests” give users the option to block, delete, or accept messages from somebody trying to get in touch with them. Users can see the name and photo of the person trying to message them in individual conversations. For group conversations, users can identify who is in the chat prior to joining, giving them better control over who they are talking to.
Signal’s Recent Rise in Popularity
The protests surrounding George Floyd‘s murder last year year started Signal’s sudden rise. Because it’s easier to keep group communications private on Signal — unlike Facebook, Instagram or TikTok which can be monitored by law enforcement — many sought out Signal as a way to safely and securely organize protests.
Signal addressed the heightened use during this time in a blog post. They wrote, “Many of the people and groups who are organizing for that change are using Signal to communicate, and we’re working hard to keep up with the increased traffic. We’ve also been working to figure out additional ways we can support everyone in the street right now.”
The app also announced a new feature that made it easy to blur faces in photos, and an initiative to distribute face coverings to those protesting on the streets.
However, that same security and privacy many activists seek out in Signal may become a cause of concern for parents of teens using the app.
Is Signal Safe?
As mentioned, Signal is equipped with features to keep conversations as private as possible. Each one-on-one chat has a unique “safety number” that allows users to verify the security of their messages and calls with specific contacts.
For parents, it’s not hard to guess why this may be an issue. If a teen is using Signal to hide the content of their conversations, they will likely be successful.
The app also has a disappearing message feature, similar to Snapchat’s chat feature. Once enabled, a user’s messages will come with a timer and once the timer goes off, the message is deleted from the conversation. As with Snapchat, that doesn’t stop a person from taking a screenshot — so sending adult messages or images can still come back to haunt someone — but it’s still good for hiding communications.
Signal requires that users must be at least 13 years of age, but there is no real age verification on the app. As long as a child has access to a phone number, they can register a profile on Signal.
Signal is currently available in the iOS App Store, Google Play, and on Chrome.
Classroom management is key to creating an effective learning space. When effectively used, attention signals are one of the best tools for management. Without them, learning time is often lost in transition and student expectations can be vague and misunderstood. To avoid this outcome, I’ve put together a variety of my favorite signals along with strategies on how to implement them.
An attention signal is an action completed by the teacher that is met with a reaction by the students. Perhaps the most basic of these call-and-responses is the often used: “1–2–3, eyes on me!” “1–2, eyes on you!” Signals for classroom management can also be ways to begin a transition or communicate with each other during learning activities. This is just the start; classroom signals can be verbal, non-verbal, or musical. Even classroom objects can be used strategically as a way to get student attention. Here are a few of my favorites.
Student response: Talking’s done
This is a great signal for partner talk letting students know that they need to finish their conversation and turn their attention back to you.
Teacher: Hocus Pocus
Students: Time to Focus
Teacher: Jennings Jets
Students: Wheels Up
In your classroom, you may have a theme or a mascot. It’s fun to come up with a clever signal unique to your class. In my classroom, I call my students the Jennings Jets.
Teacher: 1–2–3 Eyes on Me
Students: 1–2 Eyes on You
Teacher: If you can hear me, clap once.
Teacher: If you can hear me, clap twice.
Students: Clap, Clap
Teacher: If you can hear me, put your finger over your mouth and say shh.
This is a great signal to use when your students may be walking around the room or you are out on the yard trying to get their attention.
Teacher: Ready to Listen
Students: Ready to Learn
Word of the Day
Using vocabulary to start or end an activity is another way to reinforce academics while keeping students’ attention. When giving directions, use the word of the day as the trigger to start a transition. For example, use “when I say our word of the day,” instead of the overused “when I say go.” Try content-specific vocabulary, such as math terms or a strategy you’ve been trying out in writing, as possible words of the day.
Silent Yes/Silent No/Silent Wait
Throughout the year, I teach my students sign language gestures as a way to communicate during activities without talking. This helps tremendously with learners that have frequent questions. While you are engaged with a student and another comes up to interrupt, use sign language to communicate.
This is a great way to bring students back to attention. Just start a short clapping chain and have students repeat it. Change the rhythm, change up the speed, and keep waiting for students to repeat after you. Within three or four clapping chains, attention will be returned to the teacher.
Hand Signal for Voice Level
Teach students about different voice levels. I use a scale from 0–4, 0 being completely silent and 4 being an outside-on-the-playground voice. When students are working independently, I set a voice level expectation. Then, when students return to their seat, I’ve taught them explicitly what to do when the volume gets too loud. They are responsible for “spreading the voice level.” They will place the intended voice level on their finger (usually a level 1 whisper voice for independent work time) and other students see this and copy the gesture. It is a signal that allows the students to self-monitor without my involvement.
Use a bell to signal attention. Teach your students what to do with their hands, bodies, eyes, mouths, etc. when they hear the bell. Using the bell the same way every time ensures your class will always know what to do when they hear it.
Using a short song (around one minute long) is a great way to familiarize your students with quick and efficient transitions. In my classroom, I use a song for set up and a song for clean up. As the class becomes familiar with the song, they’ll know to be ready to work or all cleaned up by the time the song has finished.
Lei during no-interruption time
During independent reading, writing, and math conference times I place a Hawaiian lei around my neck. It serves as a signal to my students that I am doing important work with other students and they can’t interrupt me unless they have an emergency.
Just like teaching math or reading, signals for classroom management need to be explicitly taught and practiced. When I teach my students a new attention signal, I follow a pretty typical regime:
- Model the new attention getting signal.
- Pick a student to act as me, and then I respond as the student.
- Then we practice as a whole group.
- And then, practice, practice, practice!
This last step is crucial. When you give an attention signal, you want students to stop in their tracks and give you their undivided attention. The best way to reach this end is with practice.
I like to give the students a conversation topic, such as the highlight and lowlight of their summer. I’ll tell them to walk around the room and chat about it. Then, when I see they’re fully immersed, I’ll use an attention signal. Then, we come back to the rug to assess how they did. Sometimes we will practice at least four, five, or six times. Although it may seem tedious, it’s worth it to practice again and again.
Before you get your students’ attention, it is best to be prepared. Remember to orient yourself somewhere in the classroom where the whole class can see you and you can see everyone. Make sure you are ready to give the directions using clear, concise language.
It’s best to remember this golden rule when giving directions: tell them what they need to do next, what tools they need, and where they should go.
After giving the signal, make sure all students are giving you eye contact or at least their quiet focus. Remember, you’re in control. This is another reason it’s so important that you practice and practice these systems of classroom management.
By teaching and practicing these attention signals in the classroom, you’ll give yourself and your students the tools everyone needs to maintain a controlled, respectful learning environment.
A mobile phone signal jammer is a device that blocks reception between cell towers and mobile phones. Developed for use by the military and law enforcement, these devices were originally created to combat threats like cell phone-triggered explosives and hostage situations.
See complete cell signal booster kits for your situation:
How do cell phone signal jammers work?
Known as cell jammers, signal blockers, GPS jammers, or text stoppers, a cell phone signal jammer holds up the radio frequency in a given area, creating a sort of signal traffic jam that blocks all communication. Like a radio silence bubble, no calls or texts can be sent or received as long as the user is within range of the cell phone signal blocker.
Are cell phone signal jammers legal?
If the prospect of a cell phone signal blocker sweeps your imagination off to the secret machinations of an evil Bond villain plotting away in his lair, you’re not alone. That’s why —you guessed it — it is illegal to sell, advertise, distribute, or operate cell signal booster jammers in the United States, as well as much of the world.
Because mobile signal jammer devices intentionally interfere with “authorized radio communications”, the FCC believes that cellular and WiFi signal jammer devices “pose serious risks to critical public safety communications, and can prevent you and others from making 9-1-1 and other emergency calls… (and) also interfere with law enforcement communications.”
In addition to public safety concerns, radio frequencies are legally protected by The Communications Act of 1934, which outlaws interference with authorized radio broadcasts.
So, why are cell phone signal jammers used?
Proponents of such technology argue that signal jammer devices are necessary in many of the places where humans just can’t seem to observe the widely accepted rules of proper cell phone etiquette. Think schools, theaters, vehicles, or an otherwise quiet train ride… pretty much any venue where talking, texting, streaming and the like might be deemed disruptive or even dangerous.
Keep in mind, a mobile signal jammer will not only block voice and text on your phone, it also interferes with GPS, WiFi, and probably most problematic of all — police radar. That’s why, as mentioned above, the Federal Government has banned the sale, promotion, and use of cell phone signal jammers in the US. So if you were envisioning a little peace and quiet, courtesy of a shiny new signal blocker, you might just have to settle for ear plugs.
Does a cell phone signal jammer block a cell phone signal booster?
Unfortunately, yes, a mobile signal jammer will interfere with your signal booster. Signal boosters work by amplifying an existing signal, but if that cellular signal is blocked, it doesn’t matter how strong it is — the signal jammer will run interference.
Do cell signal amplifiers stop signal jammers?
While cell phone signal amplifiers are an excellent tool for strengthening reception in rural areas, on the road, or when building materials get in the way, they are not yet an effective defense against cell phone signal jammers. As it stands, any signal jammer is also a signal booster jammer.
How do I detect a signal jammer?
The most common symptom of cell phone signal jammer interference is, you guessed it, dropped service. While apps do exist that claim to detect signal jammers, they are largely unproven, and require a working signal to function. Without highly advanced, military-level technology at hand, it is virtually impossible for the average consumer to definitively detect a cell phone jammer.
However, if you suspect illegal activity of this sort, contact law enforcement or file a complaint with the FCC.
How do I stop a cell signal jammer?
Unless you can physically locate the jammer itself — which usually looks like a walkie-talkie, a cell phone, or a wireless router — and disable it, blocking signal jammers is not your most viable option.
If you’re tech savvy enough to switch the frequency on which your phone operates, you might have some luck working around the jammer as well. But it does depend on the sophistication of the jammer that’s blocking your signal.
If you suspect you may be the victim of a cell phone signal jammer attack, your best bet is to relocate. Cell phone signal jammers don’t usually broadcast beyond more than 30 square feet, so moving away from your current position is usually enough to escape the jammer’s range.
Again, contact law enforcement or file a complaint with the FCC if you are being victimized by someone using a cell phone signal blocker.
How May We Help You?
Wilson Amplifiers is the leading provider of cellular signal boosters. Cell phone boosters amplify 4G, 4G LTE, 3G for any phone with any carrier for home, office, or vehicle.
We seriously hate dropped calls and poor coverage, so it’s our goal to eliminate spotty signal and poor coverage, one customer at a time.
Figuring out your LTE (4G) connection’s type and signal strength can help diagnose network or connectivity problems, but Android’s not very helpful with this out of the box. Thankfully, there are apps that will give you a bit more insight, and our favorite is a free download. Signal Spy is a simple, free tool that quickly and easily presents your current mobile network status including the connection technology (EDGE, HSPA, LTE), network band, signal strength, and carrier.
(And no, this isn’t a paid post – we get no money from Signal Spy, and we haven’t cooperated with them in writing this guide. It’s just a good, easy to use app.)
How to use Signal Spy
First, you’ll need to download it from the Play Store – here’s a link.
From there, just open the app, and it will provide you your current carrier, the connection technology, band (frequency), and signal strength. You’ll need to provide the app telephony and location permissions for it to function properly, but aside from that, it’s pretty plug and play: it should begin pulling your connection information immediately, and in a matter of seconds display it to you, as below.
How to interpret LTE band / frequency and signal strength
Image Gallery (1 Images)
Interpreting the information Signal Spy provides really depends on what you seek to get out of it. If you’re trying to verify whether your smartphone is connecting to a given LTE band in a certain location, for example, the app can even record your connection status and allow you to review it if you opt for the “pro” version – which is just a $2 in-app purchase. When you get a new smartphone, especially if you’re coming from an older handset, it’s possible your new phone will support LTE bands your old smartphone didn’t. You can swap SIM cards between your devices and, using the app, see which one each phone connects to.
Signal strength is a measure of how consistent and stable your connection to the cellular network is. If you’re dropping calls or losing data connectivity in certain places, monitoring the signal strength in real time could help you determine where your worst dead spots are. How weak is “too weak” to be usable? That really depends, but if your phone is reporting signal of -110dBm or “lower” (remember, gain is measured in the negative, so a “bigger” number like -110dBm is worse than -90dBm), it’s likely your data reception is pretty bad.
You may also wonder what the “GCI” number in the list is – it’s essentially the identifier for the cellular tower you’re currently connected to. It doesn’t really tell you much on its own, but could help if you were doing some advanced troubleshooting with your carrier, I suppose.
Can I trust this app?
An app that monitors your phone’s mobile signal should be trustworthy. Signal Spy does require the location and telephony permissions in order to run properly. You can read more about them on Signal Spy’s FAQ.
The telephony permission allows Signal Spy to read from your phone’s telephony status in real time, and is obviously necessary to report the data the app gives you.
The location permission allows Signal Spy to retrieve more accurate band and technology information utilizing the “coarse” location permission which pulls information from nearby cellular towers. While Signal Spy will work with the location permission disabled, it may not accurately report band (frequency) information.
Signal Spy does collect more detailed anonymous data about your connectivity if you turn on the “enhanced LTE detection” feature. This feature will report your currently connected tower data to Signal Spy anonymously to help improve its LTE detection database, and also potentially provide you more up to date and accurate results when using the app. It is turned off by default, and is completely optional to use the app.
There are other apps that can provide similar information about your LTE signal, but we like Signal Spy because it’s simple and the developers do a good job keeping it up to date. However, here are a couple other options to explore.
Network Cell Info Lite provides more detailed information than Signal Spy, though its interface is very. busy. But, some people may like the more graphically-focused data presentation of this app, and the Pro version allows logging and a few other features you may find worth $2. The Lite version of the app is linked below.
LTE Discovery is similar to Signal Spy in terms of data representation, but does provide a bit more context to some of the information (like exact uplink and downlink frequncies). It also can just show your currently connected LTE band in the status bar – something people may find convenient.
Millions of people use Signal every day for free and instantaneous communication anywhere in the world. Send and receive high-fidelity messages, participate in HD voice/video calls, and explore a growing set of new features that help you stay connected. Signal’s advanced privacy-preserving technology is always enabled, so you can focus on sharing the moments that matter with the people who matter to you.
• Say anything – State-of-the-art end-to-end encryption (powered by the open source Signal Protocol™) keeps your conversations secure. Privacy isn’t an optional mode — it’s just the way that Signal works. Every message, every call, every time.
• Go fast – Messages are delivered quickly and reliably, even on slow networks. Signal is optimized to operate in the most constrained environment possible.
• Feel free – Signal is a completely independent 501c3 nonprofit. Development is supported by users like you. No advertisements. No trackers. No kidding.
• Be yourself – You can use your existing phone number and address book to securely communicate with your friends.
• Speak up – Whether they live across town or across the ocean, Signal’s enhanced audio and video quality will make your friends and family feel closer.
• Whisper in the shadows – Switch to the dark theme if you refuse to see the light.
• Sound familiar – Choose custom alerts for each contact, or disable noises completely. Simon & Garfunkel wrote a hit song about it in 1964, and you can experience the sound of silence whenever you want by choosing “None” as your notification ringtone.
• Picture this – Use the built-in image editing features to sketch, crop, and flip your outgoing photos. There’s even a text tool so that you can add more words to the 1,000 that your picture is already worth.
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