The right way to use Sign as an alternative of WhatsApp

Facebook’s WhatsApp changes its privacy policy on February 8th when some user information is shared with Facebook, including location, phone numbers, profile names and pictures, when you last logged in online, and more. People are now flocking to an alternative texting app called Signal that doesn’t collect your data.

According to Reuters, daily downloads have increased 18 times since WhatsApp changed its privacy policy and hit more than 800,000 downloads per day. This was likely supported in part by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who tweeted about “use Signal” earlier this month.

Signal, like WhatsApp, is a chat app that lets you notify and call friends and family using end-to-end encryption. This means your messages are better protected and cannot be easily read by anyone, including Signal itself. It supports group messaging and other fun features that you may already be using in chat apps like GIFs, videos and pictures. Even group video calls have been encrypted, although support is currently limited to five people. It’s completely free and can be used on iPhones, Android phones, Macs, Windows PCs, and Linux.

Signal isn’t a huge tech company looking to make money off of your information, either. It is a registered non-profit organization and is dependent on donations. The free app does not collect your private data and has no advertising.

Here’s how to use it.

Use of signal

The Signal Messenger app is displayed on a smartphone in Hong Kong, China.

Roy Liu | Bloomberg | Getty Images

  • Download Signal for iPhone or Android.
  • Enter your phone number. That way, Signal can send you a text message and verify that you’re using the app.
  • Enter the code you received by SMS.
  • Tap on “Register without transferring”. If you’ve used Signal before, you can choose Transfer from iOS Device to download your old conversations. However, this guide assumes that you have not used Signal before.
  • You are now on the Signal home screen.
  • Tap the pencil icon in the upper right to compose a message.
  • You can send messages to people who are already using Signal. However, you may have to tap “Invite friends to the signal” if your contact doesn’t already have the app. This allows you to compose an email or text message to friends and family with a link to download the app.
  • Once they have joined, you can start chats with the same pencil icon or create groups, similar to WhatsApp. You’ll even see read receipts, links to send audio messages, stickers, photos, and more.

That’s it! You are now ready to work with Signal. If you’d like to use it instead of WhatsApp, you can delete your WhatsApp chats by tapping “Edit” on the top left of the chat page. Select your messages and tap Delete. A copy of your messages can remain in chats that other users have participated in until they delete the chats as well.

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