WhatsApp vs Signal: privacy, features, how to transfer groups, and more

  • WhatsApp’s new privacy policy has made millions of users shift to Signal
  • Signal claims the users’ data is stored locally and it doesn’t store any information
  • WhatsApp group chats can be moved to Signal

WhatsApp’s new privacy policy and terms of services update made it mandatory for users to agree to share their data, including account registration details, transaction data, information on how you interact with others, and more with Facebook and its advertising partners. The social media giant gave the users an ultimatum to either agree to the changes or not to use the app again. This move could change the fate of the popular chat application across the globe as millions of users are moving to Signal as it seems to be a better alternative with strict privacy policy and better security of your personal data. In this article, we’ll show you how you can transfer group chats from WhatsApp to Signal, privacy features, how WhatsApp and Signal differ, and more.

How to transfer WhatsApp chats to Signal

Signal lets you transfer WhatsApp group chats to its platform, thereby making it easier for the transition. This is a blessing in disguise as you don’t have to do much to move all your WhatsApp groups to Signal messenger in a jiff and continue having conversations. Here’s how to transfer WhatsApp chats to Signal.

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  • Once you have registered an account on Signal, tap on three dots in the top-right corner and tap on ‘new group’
  • Add contacts that you want in the group and name the group
  • Now, in the chat section tap on three dots in the top right corner and select Group Settings and then Group link
  • Turn on the ‘Group Link’ toggle and tap on ‘Share’
  • Now paste the Signal group link in the WhatsApp group chat that you want to move

Anyone in the WhatsApp group has access to the link and can join the new group created on Signal. Interestingly, the same process can be followed on other chat applications such as Telegram to get more users onboard.

WhatsApp vs Signal privacy features

Top privacy features of Signal:

  • Screen Lock
  • Screen Security
  • Incognito Keyboard
  • Relay Calls
  • Sealed Sender
  • Pin Security

WhatsApp new privacy policy and terms of service show that the chat application will collect users’ data such as location, device model, operating system, battery level, browser details, payment processing method, transactions, and shipment data. Having access to such a long list of data means, while it’s scary in itself, means that WhatsApp (Facebook) will have a deep level of control on users’ activity and the same can be used to push advertisements and much more. However, WhatsApp says the messages and video calls are encrypted but it doesn’t seem to matter at the moment, considering the level of data it will have access to.

On the other hand, Signal claims that it enforces strict end-to-end encryption for messages and video calls. The data is never shared or viewed by anyone but the users. It says the company cannot decrypt or have access to the content of messages or calls. It queues end-to-end encrypted messages on its servers for delivery to devices that are temporarily offline. However, the technical information, including randomly generated authentication tokens, keys, push tokens, and other things are stored on Signal services.

Signal says that it will have access to users contacts yo display which contact in the address book on the platform. If a user contacts Signal support, the data shared is stored with the platform only for the “purposes of researching the issue and contacting you about your case.” Signal says that it may share user data when it has to meet any applicable law, regulation, legal process, etc.

Also read: Don’t like the new WhatsApp privacy policy? Here are 5 WhatsApp alternatives to consider

Signal features that WhatsApp doesn’t have

  • Signal SMS: The Signal app can be set as a default SMS application (Android Only), replacing the native system SMS app. This isn’t possible on WhatsApp
  • Screen Security: To block screenshots in the recent list and inside the app
  • Incognito Keyboard: This will disable personalised learning of what you type on the app. Popular keyboard apps like Gboard and Swift Key support incognito mode
  • Call Relay: This will relay all calls through the Signal server so it doesn’t reveal your IP address to the contact. However, this will reduce call quality
  • Sealed Sender: In addition to end-to-end encryption, there is Sealed Sender that doesn’t store a record of your contacts, conversation list, location, user avatar, profile name, and group members and more
  • PIN: Users can create a pin that keeps information stored with Signal encrypted so only users can access it. Profile, settings, and contacts will be restored when they reinstall Signal using this PIN
  • Blur Faces: Signal lets you blur faces before sending images in chats.
  • Note to Self: Unlike WhatsApp, in Signal you can jot down your thoughts without creating a new empty group. In Signal, tap compose button and search ‘Note to Self’
  • Groups with up to 1000 members: WhatsApp supports group chats with up to 256 members, roughly a fourth of the 1,000-member groups that Signal can support

Data that Signa collects

  • Nothing

WhatsApp features that Signal doesn’t have

  • Broadcast messages: WhatsApp lets you broadcast messages to multiple contacts at the same time
  • Group calling limit: WhatsApp supports group calling with up to eight people, in comparison Signal only supports up to five
  • WhatsApp Status: A feature that most users seem to find interesting on WhatsApp is ‘Status’. It allows users to express their thoughts or moments with their friends and family
  • WhatsApp Web: Unlike Signal that only has a native desktop app, WhatsApp has a web version for those who don’t really want to install the app. This makes it easy and convenient to operate while using a computer

Data that WhatsApp collects

  • Phone number
  • Email ID
  • Location
  • Contacts
  • Device model
  • User ID
  • Operating system
  • Battery level
  • Browser details
  • Payment processing method
  • Transaction details