How To Set Up and Use the Signal Messaging App

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What To Know

  • Enter your phone number and name, then follow prompts to get started.
  • To message someone, tap the pencil icon, select a contact, type a message, and tap the arrow to send.
  • Tap the smiley to send an emoji; tap GIF to share a GIF; tap the plus symbol to send a picture.

This article teaches you how to set up and use the Signal private messenger app on iOS and Android and how to add friends and send emojis or GIFs. The screenshots are from the Android version of Signal, but the process is very similar to iOS.

How To Set up Signal

The Signal text app needs to be set up first before you can use it. Here's what you need to do to get started. If you haven't downloaded the app yet, use one of the links below.

Download for:

  1. Once you've downloaded Signal, open the app and tap Continue.

  2. Enter your phone number and press Next to begin setup.

  3. Enter the code you receive via SMS.

    This may be done automatically by your phone depending on how it's set up.

    1. Next is the PIN page. If this is a new device, choose a PIN. Or, enter the same PIN from your other device if you're setting up Signal on a new device tied to an existing number used on Signal.
    Setting up your profile in Signal including your name and a PIN

    Make sure it's something you'll remember.

  4. Enter your name then tap Next.

    Process for setting up Signal including entering your phone number to start

    You can also add a profile picture if you want to add a more personal touch.

  5. You're now ready to use Signal.

How To Add Friends and Send Messages on Signal

Now that you've set up Signal, you can begin messaging friends through the service. Here's how to add friends and message them. 

  1. Tap the pencil icon.

  2. Tap a contact's name or enter a phone number.

  3. Enter a message to send.

  4. Tap the arrow to the right hand side.

    Steps for messaging someone on Signal

    If it has a lock next to it, that confirms Signal encryption is in place. 

  5. You've successfully messaged your friend and your chat history is now listed every time you open Signal.

How To Send Emojis or GIFs on Signal

Messaging friends and family isn't just about sending text messages -- it's also fun to send emojis or GIFs to add a bit of personality to your chat. Signal offers both. Here's how to send emojis or GIFs to loved ones via the service.

  1. Open Signal.

  2. Open or start a chat with someone.

  3. Tap the smiley emoji to find the emojis you can send your friend.

  4. For a GIF, tap GIF to search for a suitable GIF to send them.

    Depending on the device, you may need to press the plus button to the right in order to see the GIF option.

  5. Tap the arrow icon to send the GIF. 

    Steps for sending a GIF or emoji on Signal

    You can send multiple GIFs at once by tapping the plus icon next to the first GIF.

How To Send Photos on Signal

Sending photos via Signal is a fun thing to do, plus you get to enjoy the benefits of end-to-end encryption, so your photos and files are secure at all times. Here's how to send a photo via Signal Private Messenger.

  1. Open Signal.

  2. Open the chat window of the person you wish to send a photo to.

  3. Tap the plus symbol in the message bar.

  4. Find the photo you wish to send.

    The first time you do this, you may need to allow access to your photos and you may need to choose your photo gallery.

  5. Enter a message to accompany it then tap the arrow to send it.

    Steps for sending a photo through Signal
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