Signal Messaging – Where Are the Messages Stored?
Whether you are a new Signal or a loyal supporter since its inception, you may have been wondering where all your messages go? Let us tell you straight of the bat – they don’t go far.
In this article, we’ll reveal exactly where your Signal messages are stored. We’ll also discuss other privacy-related topics such as whether Signal can be tracked, how secure this app is overall, and much more.
Where Are Messages Stored on Signal
You may have been using Signal for months now without thinking about where your messages are stored. However, you may need to backup messages or delete data on your device, so knowing where to find your messages can come in handy. Whether you’re an Android or an iOS user, we’ll show you where to find your messages.
Where Are Signal Messages Stored on iPhone and Android,
All messages you send on Signal are stored locally on your device. Signal doesn’t have any access to your messages or any data you send through the app. Texts you send exist on Signal’s servers only while in transit, and they are end-to-end encrypted. The only way to get access to your stored messages on any device is to enable chat backups.
Enable a Chat Backup on Signal
If you want to keep a record of your messages, your only choice would be to run a message backup. We’ll provide you with steps on how to do so below.
- Launch Signal on your device.
- Tap on your profile icon. It’s the small, round icon in the upper-left corner of your screen. You’ll now access “Signal Settings”.
- Scroll down to “Chats and media” > “Chat.”
- You will see a 30-digit passphrase. Signal will ask you to enter this passphrase when you want to restore your backup. Write the passphrase down or copy it to a safe location.
- You’ll have to confirm that you’ve written the passphrase down.
- Select the “Enable backups” option.
- Check the last backup time to verify whether the backup was completed.
- Signal will display where to find your backup. Please save your backup folder on another device.
Where Is Signal’s Backup Stored?
After you’ve enabled a backup, Signal will display where you can find it. Check above for steps on how to enable a backup on Signal. Here’s how to find your backup folder:
• Launch Signal on your device (only mobile).
• Click on the small, round avatar at the top of the screen to enter “Signal Settings”.
• Go to “Chats and media” or simply “Chats.”
• Head over to “Chat backups” > “Backup folder.” You will see your backup folder’s location. You can access it by going to “My Files” or plugging your phone into a computer.
The backup file should read “signal-year-month-date-time.backup.” If you use an older Signal version, you might find your backup at “/InternalStorage/Signal/Backups” or “/sdcard/Signal/Backups”.
Can Signal Messages Be Retrieved?
Yes, your messages on Signal can be retrieved if you have enabled chat backups beforehand. Here’s how to retrieve your messages:
For Android Users
• Enable a backup on a phone that has your Signal message history. Follow the steps listed above on how to enable a backup.
• Save your 30-digit passphrase.
• Move the Signal folder with the backup file. It’s the file named “signal-year-month-date-time.backup.” If you’re using the same phone, move the file to your computer. If you have a new phone, move the backup file there.
• Instal Signal from the app store and paste the 30-digit passphrase before entering your phone number.
For iOS Users
If you’re an iOS user, you can only transfer your messages from one iOS device to another.
First, both devices need to be connected to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, run on the latest Signal version (3.21.3 or later), and run on iOS12.4 or later. For iOS14, you need to enable the “Local Network” permission in your iOS Settings > Signal.
Your new phone should be in the same room and registered on the same number as the old one.
Make sure the camera on your old phone is functioning properly, as Signal will ask you to scan a QR code to link your devices.
• Install Signal on your new phone or iPad. You can download it from the App Store.
• Complete the registration.
• Click “Transfer from iOS Device” to get a QR code.
• On your old phone, select “Next.”
• Move your old phone to the new device and scan the QR code.
• Use your new phone to send a text.
Note that your chat history will be deleted from your old phone.
Can I Still Retrieve My Messages if I Forgot the 30-Digit Passphrase?
Unfortunately, no. You can’t restore your messages without the passphrase. You will have to create a new backup and get a new passphrase. First, disable your previous chat backup. Then turn it back on to create a new one.
Can Signal App Be Traced?
Signal is a heavily encrypted messaging app. Its end-to-end encryption prevents third-party software, mobile service providers, public networks, or even Signal itself from reading your messages. Unless you’re using the app to send Insecure SMS/MMS messages, your conversations are untraceable.
However, you should be aware that an attacker can always find a way into your phone if they set their mind to it. Signal has a way of combatting attackers by setting a unique safety number. This feature allows you to double-check how secure your messages and calls are. For example, if someone texts you from a new phone pretending to be your friend, you’ll see a safety number change.
How Can I See the Safety Number?
To see the safety number for a specific chat, simply follow these steps:
• Open the chat you want to see the safety number for.
• Tap on its header.
• Scroll down and tap on “View safety number.” You can verify your chat’s encryption with a specific contact by comparing the number with the number on their device.
How Secure Is the Signal App?
Due to its end-to-end encryption system, we can say Signal is very secure. Its system works to encode the sender’s message in a specific way that can only be unlocked by the receiver’s device. If we tell you that some of the world’s most known political institutions prefer this app, you will get an idea of how secure your messages are.
However, you can do a few things to ensure an even higher level of security for your messages. Yes, we know not even Signal can spy on you, but what happens if you receive a notification and a person next to you reads it off your lock screen? Or if someone steals your phone? Thieves can easily gain access to your messages. You can hide the new Signal message preview on your phone screen and set an unlock pattern on your phone. As an additional safety precaution, you can enable Signal to only open once you have entered a password or biometric scan. This will keep potential intruders away from collecting your private conversations.
Bonus Tip: How to Hide New Signal Message Preview on Your Screen?
For Android Users: Open your app settings > “Device” > “Sound and notification” and select “When device is locked.” Choose “Hide sensitive information content.” This way, you’ll get a notification when you receive a message, but you can only see the content and the sender when you unlock your phone.
For iPhone Users: Open your app settings > “Notifications” > “Background Notifications” and select “Show.” Choose the option you like best, but we recommend “No name or message.” This way, you’ll get a notification when you receive a message, but you can only see the content and the sender when you unlock your phone. You can completely remove Signal notifications by going to your iPhone’s Setting app. Select “Notifications” > “Signal” and turn off “Show on Lock Screen.”
Does Signal Store Data?
No, Signal doesn’t store any of your data. All of your files, messages, photos, or links you send will be stored locally on your device. Signal doesn’t have any access to your data.
Keeping Your Messages Secured
As you can see, Signal made it notoriously difficult it is for an intruder to access your messages on their app. Signal has set the standard when it comes to gaining its user’s trust with its robust security system. As the app doesn’t store any of your messages on its servers, you can only restore them by enabling chat backups. Having read this article, you now know how to do just that.
Have you enabled chat backups on your device? How often do you do backups? Share your experience in the comments below.