Many users had searched for similar alternatives in the wake of WhatsApp’s “take it or get out” new privacy terms.
One of the apps that gained more popularity due to the massive exodus from WhatsApp is Signal, a messaging app owned by a former WhatsApp co-founder who left due to Privacy issues.
With many people still contemplating if they should remain with the Facebook-owned WhatsApp and risk having their data mined or move to Signal, we aim to compare the two apps and see the similar features and how they are different.
Table of Contents
- WhatsApp Vs Signal: The Comparison
- Signal vs. WhatsApp: Which Should You Go For?
WhatsApp Vs Signal: The Comparison
While WhatsApp may be one the most popular messaging app with over 2 billion active users, Signal has a mere 10 million – 20 million userbase.
But this is not a popularity contest, so let’s dive in and bring out the differences.
Signal and WhatsApp have end-to-end encryption, which makes them very secure. But what you probably don’t know is that WhatsApp chat End to end encryption protocol is based on Signal’s protocol.
Since Signal is open source, it is relatively easy for WhatsApp to implement the same protocol, but that is as far as WhatsApp can go. All other parts of the messaging app are closed-source.
What this also implies is that Signal gets the latest security updates on its systems before WhatsApp does.
Signals also offer more in terms of encryption as it encrypts chats metadata to deter any prying eyes that may want to invade your privacy. Meta Data helps carry communication data between two points.
WhatsApp doesn’t encrypt its metadata; hence anyone who has access to it will be able to know who you were chatting with, when and for how long.
For the security options users can see and interact with, WhatsApp offers app lock features and an extra 2FA (two-factor authentication). Signal also has app lock features and 2FA, so it scores one over WhatsApp with its metadata encryptions.
2. Privacy Control
It would have been easy to add this section to the security option above, but most users are switching to Signal over its privacy promises, hence the need to treat it separately.
WhatsApp has had its fair share of privacy issues, and since Facebook owns it, the relationship isn’t helping its cause.
On the other hand, Signal app only collects your contact phone number and allows its encryption to do the rest.
WhatsApp introduced the Deleting Messages feature a while back, a feature Signal had implemented since 2016. Signal also takes it notches higher with features that block screenshots so the other party cannot munch your chats.
There is also an incognito keyboard that switches your default keyboard and prevents Google from getting your typing history. You can also relay your calls through Signal’s servers to avoid revealing your IP.
Unlike WhatsApp cloud backups that are unencrypted, Signal’s backups are fully encrypted.
You also get face blurring when sending images, blank notification pop-ups, and more to help you keep chats even more private.
Both apps support cross-platform messaging for Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows, but it is Signal that appeals that more to the tech-savvy users due to its support for Linux users. WhatsApp though as a web browser version for other platforms.
4. User Interface and extended features
WhatsApp has a far more acceptable and easier to use Interface than Signal. This love may be because WhatsApp has been around for much longer and has kept things much more straightforward. The same goes for overall features such as stickers, forward messages, status, etc.
Signal is working to make its interface and user experience more flexible and more comfortable. Still, it may take a little while to get used to Signal for people used to WhatsApp and who hate changes.
Overall, both apps allow sharing of messages, video calls, and voice calls, Signal can also act as your messaging app if you allow it to take over from the default Android message app.
Signal vs. WhatsApp: Which Should You Go For?
Both apps appeal to a different set of users. If you want something to use with no concern over privacy issues or wish to reach more customer base, WhatsApp is for you.
But if you genuinely want something more secured, with all privacy data intact, then you need Signal. While WhatsApp claims it cannot read your messages, it collects enough information to identify you. Its preferred Google Drive backup is unencrypted, meaning whoever has access to it can easily access your chats.
Being owned by Facebook, how much can you trust WhatsApp anyways?