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Signal adds a raft of features in wake of WhatsApp exodus

If you felt Signal was lacking in features, this update is for you.

Published onJanuary 22, 2021

Signal Private Messenger stock photo 3
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • Signal’s latest beta release includes features that’ll make anyone who left WhatsApp feel more at home.
  • Among other additions, there’s a new feature to set independent wallpapers for all of your chats.
  • You’ll also find an option to set a status update and support for stickers.

A little more than a week after an influx of fleeing WhatsApp users took it down for the better part of a day, Signal is trying its best to keep those individuals from returning to Facebook’s chat app. Its latest beta release, which was spotted by WABetaInfo, adds a number of features, all of which should be familiar to you if you’re one of those people who left WhatsApp after it announced its disastrous privacy policy change.

To start, you’ll find a new option to set independent wallpapers for all your chats. This is a fun customization feature that’s been a part of a variety of messaging apps, not just WhatsApp. It was notably missing from Signal where your customization options were limited to picking between light and dark modes. Another new personalization feature allows you to write a short status update other people can see when they’re browsing through their contact list. Signal has a couple of suggestions like “Free to chat” and “Taking a break” to help you get started.

Related: The best messenger and chat apps for Android

Also new to this update is support for animated stackers, and Signal’s first sticker pack, “Day by Day.” A corresponding update to the desktop client allows you to create your own stickers, which you can share with your friends and family.

On the practical side of things, the update introduces a low-data mode for calls, and an option that allows you to set a destination for files to be downloaded automatically. You’ll also find a new feature that allows you to send shareable group chat invites to your friends. Lastly, Signal has enhanced its group call functionality so that now you can include seven other people in a call rather than only five total.

Again, all of these are features you’ll find in other chat apps, not just WhatsApp. But if you’re one of the people who ditched WhatsApp for Signal, they should help make you feel more at home.

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