Switching to Signal? Turn on these settings now for greater privacy and security

Switching to Signal because you're worried about privacy? Here are a few settings you should tweak to add even more security to your messaging.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Many people are making the switch from WhatsApp to Signal. Many are switching because of the increased privacy and security that Signal offers.

But with a few simple tweaks, did you know that you can make Signal even more secure?

Must read: WhatsApp vs. Signal vs. Telegram vs. Facebook: What data do they have about you?

There are a few settings I suggest you enable. There are some cosmetic differences between the iOS and Android versions of Signal, but these tips apply to both platforms.

The first place you should head over to is the Settings screen. To get there, tap on your initials in the top-left corner of the screen (on Android you can also tap the three dots on the top-left and then Settings).

There are three settings on iOS and four on Android I recommend turning on, and a few others worth taking a look at.

  • Screen Lock (iOS and Android): Means you have to enter your biometrics (Face ID, Touch ID, fingerprint or passcode) to access the app
  • Enable Screen Security (iOS) or Screen Security (Android): On the iPhone this prevents data previews being shown in the app switcher, while on Android it prevents screenshots being taken
  • Registration Lock (iOS and Android):  Requires your PIN when registering with Signal (a handy way to prevent a second device being added)
  • Incognito Keyboard (Android only): Prevents the keyboard from sending what you type to a third-party, which might allow sensitive data to leak

While you're here, Always Relay Calls, a feature which takes all your calls through a Signal server, thus hiding your IP address from the recipient, might be worth enabling, but it does degrade call quality.

On top of this, I suggest that you tame notifications, especially if you are worried about shoulder surfers seeing your messages.

To do this, head back to the main Settings screen and go to Notifications. For Show, change to No Name or Content for iOS and No name or message for Android.

The iOS version of Signal also has a feature called Censorship Circumvention under Advanced, which is handy if you live in an area where there is active internet censorship happening which blocks Signal. If this does not apply to you, leave this off.

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