Signal gets some of WhatsApp's best features to make switching easier

Signal's latest update brings with it several new features inspired by WhatsApp.

What you need to know

  • Signal's beta app is getting an update with many new features that can be found on WhatsApp.

  • The new features include chat backgrounds, custom status updates, animated stickers, and more.

  • The update brings Signal's feature-set more to parity with that of other popular chat apps.

Thanks to the , Signal is enjoying a new swath of active users. The company has consistently ensured its customers that privacy is first and foremost its number-one priority, which should make those coming in from WhatsApp feel at ease. And while Signal may have had a , it's determined to become that app that users can be happy to use, and adds a ton of features that should make former WhatsApp users more comfortable.

  • You can add different backgrounds for individual chats by clicking on the person's name, or for all chats by going to Settings > Appearance > Chat wallpaper. You can choose between several solid and gradient colors and even select photos taken from your smartphone.

  • You can now add custom "About Me" text to your profile, selecting an emoji and typing a short blurb which can also act as a status message.

  • The app is now getting animated stickers, with its first pack, "Day to Day", already available. You can make your own stickers to share with friends using the desktop app.

  • Low-data mode for calls lowers the amount of data that calls use up, which may be ideal for those on limited data plans.

  • You now have the ability to have up to eight people on a call, up from five before.

  • You can select your download preferences to let the app know when to automatically download media files.

  • You now have the ability to share a group invite link that lets others join their group chat.

Many of these features are already available on many of the , so it's nice to see them being implemented on Signal, given its recent rise in popularity. The features are rolling out to Signal beta v5.3.1 which you can . And if you're still on WhatsApp and considering switching over to Signal, check out our on moving your group chats from WhatsApp to Signal.

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