How to install Signal Desktop on Ubuntu 20.04 [A Private Messenger App]

It might sound paranoid, but it’s unfortunately also true: Everyone is out to get your data.

Governments and law enforcement want to monitor as much as they can, and private industry has found all sorts of ways to slice and dice personal information for profit.

Signal is a messenger app that protects your messages, calls, and video chats from prying eyes and data-hungry corporations.

Signal is a secure, free, and open source messaging application that uses end-to-end encryption to securely send and receive all kinds of communications with other Signal users.

Which means that not even the owners of Signal can monitor them. Only the people in the conversation can see them.

Using the Internet for all encrypted communication, Signal comes highly recommended by some of the top privacy and security advocates.

Think of it as a more private alternative to WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, iMessage, and SMS.

It’s an cross platform application. Signal is available for Android, iPhone, and iPad. There’s also a Signal desktop client for Windows, Mac, and Linux. To join, all you need is a phone number. It’s free.

Signal Private Messenger puts privacy and security first. With secure messaging, voice calls, group chats, video calls, and even stickers, Signal is an uncompromising app that doesn’t exploit its users.

Signal is also completely open-source. The source code for the project’s client apps and server software is available on GitHub.

Key Features of Signal Private Messenger:

  • Chat Colors, Wallpaper, and Themes
  • Set and manage disappearing messages
  • Data Usage Options (Wi-Fi & Cellular)
  • Note to Self
  • Archiving or unarchiving chats
  • In-app Payments
  • Proxy Support
  • Show in Suggestions
  • Incognito Keyboard
  • View Message Details
  • Group Link or QR-code
  • Manage a group
  • Delete for everyone
  • @ Mentions in Group Chats
  • Storage Management
  • Font Size Options
  • Language Options
  • Mark as Unread
  • Forward
  • Pin or Unpin Chats
  • Broadcast Media
  • In-App Notification Options
  • Message Reactions
  • View-once Media
  • Many More….

Advantages and Disadvantages

Every application has some advantages and disadvantages. Here we have listed our observations on Signal.

Pros:

  • Free and Open Source
  • End-to-end encryption secured with open-source technology
  • Encryption algorithms: Signal protocol, with Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) for text messages, voice messages, and video calls
  • Operated by a nonprofit
  • Multiplatform support
  • Published transparency reports
  • Group chat
  • Can replace your phone’s SMS messaging app
  • Voice and video chats
  • Does not log IP Addresses
  • Disappearing messages

Cons:

  • Not as seamless as less secure competitors
  • Occasional delays, lost messages
  • Few fun features

This article explains two methods of installing Signal Desktop App on Ubuntu 20.04.

Choose the installation method that is most appropriate for your environment.

Method 1: Installing Signal Desktop as a Snap Package

The easiest way to install Signal Desktop App on Ubuntu 20.04 is by using the snap packaging system.

Signal snap package is distributed and maintained by Github & Signal itself.

A snap package is a type of universal Linux package that you can enjoy irrespective of the distro. Its an self-contained software packages that include the binary all dependencies needed to run the application.

All you need is the snap service pre-configured, In the case of Ubuntu 20.04, it comes with snap pre-installed.

If snapd package is not already installed then you can install it by running following command.

$ sudo apt install snapd

Note: Snap packages can be installed from either the command-line or via the Ubuntu Software application.

This is actually the Snap version of the Signal Desktop App. It can be used on any Linux distribution that has Snap support.

Open your terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and type the following command to install the Signal package.

$ sudo snap install signal-desktop

That’s It. Now you can open the Signal Desktop application with the help of Activities search bar.

If you are not comfortable with the command line, open Ubuntu Software, search for “Signal” and install the application.

Method 2: Installing Signal via official repository

Prerequisite: Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.

Open your terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and run following commands one by one to install Signal Desktop from its official repository.

Step #1

Type the following command to install Signal official public software signing key.

$ wget -O- https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt/keys.asc | gpg --dearmor > signal-desktop-keyring.gpg
cat signal-desktop-keyring.gpg | sudo tee -a /usr/share/keyrings/signal-desktop-keyring.gpg > /dev/null

Step #2

Then add the repository to list of repositories.

$ echo 'deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/signal-desktop-keyring.gpg] https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt xenial main' |\
  sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/signal-xenial.list

Step #3

Update your package database and install signal.

$ sudo apt update && sudo apt install signal-desktop

Thats’s It. You can now launch the Signal application.

When the new application version will be released you can update with the help of following command.

$ sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Starting Signal Desktop

In the Activities search bar type “Signal” and click on the icon to launch the application.

When you start the Signal application, a window like the following will appear.

You can use the Signal desktop application on Ubuntu by scanning this QR code from your phone.

How to Uninstall Signal Desktop from Ubuntu 20.04

For some reason, If you want to uninstall Signal application, refer following commands.

If you have installed Signal via Snap type the following command:

$ sudo snap remove signal-desktop

If you have installed the appication using apt then uninstall by running the below command:

$ sudo apt remove signal-desktop

Conclusion

I hope that now you have a good understanding of How to install Signal Desktop on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa.

If anyone does have any questions about what we covered in this guide then feel free to ask in the comment section below and I will do my best to answer those.

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