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How To Transfer Signal Chat’s To A New Phone

March 22, 2021

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Setting up a new smartphone can be a pain but, thanks to Signal’s excellent transfer tool, migrating all of your conversations doesn’t have to be.

Signal brings a lot of great messaging app features to the table, one of which is a transfer tool that’s now available for Android and iOS and makes moving conversations from one phone to a new one is made as simple as can be. In light of all impending WhatsApp policy changes that will see users lose access to the app’s features if they don’t accept the revised terms, a lot of people have been turning to Signal as an alternative. It has many of the same features as WhatsApp, is getting new ones all the time, and offers the same level of end-to-end encryption for all messages. Given its open-source nature and lack of Facebook ownership, it’s also seen as a much more secure service.

Just like WhatsApp, however, having end-to-end encryption enabled for all messages does come at the cost of convenience. Unlike apps like Telegram or Facebook Messenger, Signal can only be used on one phone at a time and all conversations are stored locally on the device. In other words, if someone logs into their Signal account on a new phone, they won’t immediately see any of their previous conversations. Thankfully, though, Signal’s migration tool does make it possible to move them across. 

For those that use an iPhone and have just got the latest model, Signal reassures that the process is pretty straightforward. To get started, make sure both the new and old iPhones are close to each other, have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled, and Low Power mode disabled. On the new iPhone, install the Signal app from the App Store and complete the login/registration process. Once that’s done, tap ‘Transfer from iOS Device’ and then ‘Next.’ Now, open Signal on the old iPhone, and there should be a pop-up on the screen. Tap ‘Next’, a small camera will open, and then use the old iPhone to scan the QR code on the new iPhone. This then begins the transfer process, which should only take a few minutes.

Signal’s transfer tool has been available on the iOS app since 2020 and, as spotted by Android Police, the feature now looks set to make its way to the Android app too. It’s currently only available in the Signal beta app (specifically, version 5.5.0), but the migration process is very similar. Open Signal on the old Android phone, tap ‘Settings,’ tap ‘Chats,’ and then tap ‘Transfer account.’ Next, grab the new Android phone and install Signal on it. Open the app, tap ‘Transfer or restore account,’ and then tap ‘Transfer from Android device.’ Similar to transferring messages between iPhones, both Android handsets need to be within close proximity to each other since the transfer is done locally over Wi-Fi.

No matter if chats are being transferred across Androids or iPhones, all conversations remain end-to-end encrypted just like they were on the old device, ensuring everything remains just as secure as ever. Having to manually transfer conversations in the first place is a slight annoyance compared to some of Signal’s competition, but considering nothing is lost from a data privacy perspective, it’s a pretty great solution all-around.

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