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How to Use Signal App: Top 10 Tips to Get Started

by Parth Shah
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Signal Messenger is having its Zoom moment in 2021. The trend started when WhatsApp, the world’s most popular IM (Instant Messaging) platform, made a controversial change in the privacy policy and vowed to share user data with the parent company, Facebook. On top of that, a recent endorsement Tweet from Elon Musk led to a surge in Signal usage over the last week. If you have recently boarded the train and want to know how to use Signal, you have come to the right place. We have compiled a list of tips to get started with the Signal app.

How to Use Signal App

First, let’s understand why everyone is talking about the Signal app. Founded by WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, Signal aims to deliver the most private and secure communication with end-to-end encryption. That doesn’t mean it’s short on features. Signal is on par with rivals such as Telegram and WhatsApp and in some ways, it even trumps those messaging apps.

Signal works just like any other messaging app as far as the front end is concerned. You open the app, verify your mobile number, and see a list of all your contacts synced. UI is easy to navigate and messages/files work just like in WhatsApp. All of this with a dash of security and privacy that is fast becoming a luxury these days.

Now follow the tricks below to smoothly get started with Signal Messenger.

1. Disable ‘Contact Joined’ Notification

Based on the current trend, you are going to receive a number of notifications suggesting ‘X Contact Joined Signal’ on your device. Sometimes, it’s good to know which friend or family member joined the Signal platform but over time, it becomes an unnecessary add-on to your notification center. 

contact joined signal notification

Thankfully, Signal offers a way to disable such pop-ups. Open the Signal app and go to the app settings. Navigate to Notifications > Events > Disable Contact Joined Signal option and you are good to go. 

2. Identify When a Message Gets Read

WhatsApp uses a Blue-colored double tick to indicate when the messages get read by the recipient. Signal does things slightly differently. You will notice a double-tick that suggests that the message is received by the person. And a double-tick with a white background indicates that the media, file, or message is read by the recipient. 

read messages icon in signal

3. Delete Messages

There comes a time when you accidentally send a wrong message to a wrong person or make a typo in a conversation. Signal allows you to remove the message from both sides. 

delete messages in signal

Simply long-press on a message that you want to delete and select the delete icon at the bottom. From the following menu, tap on the ‘Delete for Everyone’ option, and the message will disappear from the chat. Do keep in mind though, the other person will notice a confirmation that you deleted a message in chat. 

4. Use Disappearing Messages

This is one of my favorite add-ons in the Signal app. You can enable Disappearing Messages from the chat info and select the fixed time from 5 seconds to 1 week to remove messages. 

disappearing messages in signal

When you message the other person, you will notice a live timer that goes around suggesting the time left for the self-destruction of the message. I mostly use it to forward OTP messages and other confidential information to family members. 

5. Quote a Message

This one is useful in long conversations. Using the Quote function, you can pin-point a message that you are referring to. 

quote message in signal

Long-press on a message that you want to quote and select the left arrow at the bottom to type the message.

6. Change Chat Theme

For some reason, this option is only available on the Signal Android app. You can go to the chat info and tap on the Chat Color option. Signal will ask you to choose from the 13 color options available. Select the one you prefer and you will see an immediate change in the chat theme. 

change chat color in signal app

7. Disable Read Receipt and Typing Indicator

Signal allows you to disable read receipt and typing indicator so that user on the other hand doesn’t notice when you read or type a new message. 

disable read receipt on signal

Go to the Signal Settings > Privacy and turn off Read Receipts and Typing Indicators for all users. 

8. Block a Number

This one is pretty straightforward. You can easily block those annoying and unwanted users from the Signal chat. Simply open their chat and tap on the contact name above. Select Block User from the following menu. 

block user in signal

From now on, you won’t receive any messages or updates from that user. 

9. Lock Signal App

Similar to WhatsApp and Telegram, Signal allows you to lock the app using biometrics on the device. Go to Signal Settings > Privacy > Screen Lock and enable the option. By default, it’s set at 15 minutes. You can change it from Instant to 1-hour duration to lock the app. 

screen lock in signal

At any point, you can disable the function from the Privacy menu. 

10. Link Devices

You can use Signal on your iPad or laptop, and link the account to the one on your phone. Say you are using Signal on your iPhone and you link it to your Mac using the QR code feature. This can be found in the Linked Devices feature in the app’s settings. Your account will get synced to your Mac, but all previous conversations won’t appear on the Mac. That’s because all message history is stored on the individual device itself.

link device signal

Wrap Up: How to Use Signal Like a Pro

Folks, there is a reason why guys like Edward Snowden and Elon Musk prefer Signal over any other messaging services out there. Give it a try and go through the tips above and start using Signal like a pro on your iPhone or Android.

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