WhatsApp has been notifying users of its new terms of service that come into effect on February 8. The new policy change comes with this option to either agree to the updated terms or lose access to one’s WhatsApp account. This has naturally alarmed WhatsApp users especially considering Facebook’s poor reputation with user data. WhatsApp has now clarified what the new terms mean for users and their data.
In this scenario, everyone is in a dilemma, whether to compromise on our privacy or to shift to another messenger. Well, there’s a good chance that many of us would want to go for the latter. We have got you covered with the best alternative for Whatsapp, i.e, Signal Messenger.
Why Should We Focus On Privacy?
There are certain instances where we want our information to be stored in an isolated manner. From bank details to chats with our loved ones, we would never want an unknown person to interfere or get access to such personal content. Here, privacy and encryption come into play.
Whatsapp, as we know, ‘was’ a privacy-focused messenger. Wonder why we quoted ‘was’? That’s because Whatsapp’s new policy gives Facebook Inc. access to all our data present on Whatsapp. This implies that the popular end-to-end encryption will no more exist after a few days.
Also Read: What Is End To End Encryption In WhatsApp?
What is Signal Messenger?
Signal is a cross-platform encrypted messaging service developed by the Signal Foundation and Signal Messenger LLC. It uses the Internet to send one-to-one and group messages, which can include files, voice notes, images, videos, and other media. But the main focus of the Signal app is to keep its user’s privacy intact and there are a lot of built-in features that keep our chats and conversations secure.
Also Read: How To Unblock Yourself On WhatsApp!
Let us compare some of the important aspects of Signal Messenger with Whatsapp.
Signal is owned by a non-profit organization whereas Whatsapp is owned by Facebook, which is aimed towards profit. Signal’s organization is dependent upon the donations they receive through their users, whereas the latter mines profit by selling user data.
Signal is arguably the safest messenger app, due to which it is one of the most popular applications in the European countries.
It is not backed by user data or ads but works for the people and their privacy. Moreover, it has got an end to end encryption for your messages, implying that no third party user will be able to gain access to your data, not even the organization itself!
Setting Up Signal Account on Your Smartphone
The process of installing and setting up your signal messaging account is very simple. Just follow the given instructions to start using Signal.
Step 1: Go to Google Play Store on your Android phone and search for Signal Messenger. In case you are an iOS user, perform the same steps through the App Store. It weighs under 40 MB on both platforms.
Step 2: Once the app is installed, click on ‘Open’ to launch the messenger.
Step 4: You will now be prompted to grant access to storage and media files on your device. Click on ‘Allow’ to continue.
Step 5: The next step is to enter your phone number with which you wish to create your Signal account. Enter the One Time Password that you receive in the dialog box on the next screen.
Step 6: Unlike Whatsapp, Signal allows you to create a PIN code for your account for accessing it easily in the future. Create a PIN by entering a suitable numerical password.
Step 7: Now, you have to enter your full name that will be visible to all your contacts in the future. The account setup process is now completed.
That’s it! You can use Signal Messenger for sending messages and media files to your contacts by clicking on the ‘Compose’ button present in the bottom corner.
Some Important Features of Signal Messenger
1. Relay Calls
This feature allows us to make encrypted signal calls using mobile data. It basically functions by relaying all your calls through Signal’s server so that your IP address doesn’t get revealed to the call recipient. But there’s a disadvantage to this privacy feature. Calls that are made after enabling ‘Relay Calls’ are relatively of low quality, implying that the experience and latency could get compromised. You can enable relay calls by performing the following steps.
Go to Settings > Click on ‘Privacy’ > Enable the ‘Relay Calls’ toggle.
2. Screen Security
Screen Security is Signal’s yet another privacy-focused feature.
Whenever we open the ‘Recent Apps’ list on our smartphones, a screenshot of the latest activity in the app appears by default. You can disable this for Signal Messenger by turning ON the ‘Screen Security’ button. Your device won’t be able to retrieve any information available on the screen when Signal Messenger is being used and the app won’t show any data in the recent apps screen on both Android and iOS devices.
3. Sealed Sender
This feature is claimed as a revolutionary enhancement in privacy for messengers.
You must be aware of the fact that all the messages that we send go through the company’s server and then reach the end recipient. Through the’ Sealed Sender’ option, you can send messages anonymously to any contact. In short, Signal’s servers will only know the destination where the data has to be sent, without any precise knowledge of the sender. The feature is already active by default so that you can access it without any hassles.
4. Censorship Circumvention
As mentioned earlier, Signal is one of the safest messenger apps, due to which it is banned in some countries such as Egypt and UAE which do not want their population to access enhanced privacy and encryption. However, Signal managed to get through this ban, and introduced a term called Censorship Circumvention. Through this feature, Signal tries to trick the blocking attempts of the country by making it look like a connection that is being made with a different domain.
Signal is probably the only app you should be looking to if you want to ensure your messages stay between you and your friends.
See, we are well aware of the fact that Whatsapp cannot be instantly ditched. It is probably the highest used messenger application in the world, and common users need some time to shift to another messenger. Over a period of time, Signal will grow with a larger user base, and a larger chunk of our internet-dependent population will adopt it as a primary instant messaging service.
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