Signal Removes SMS Support From Its App To Create A 'Clear And Intelligible User Experience'

Signal app

As a privacy-focused messaging app, security should be a priority.

This is why Signal, the popular messaging app, is trying to ensure that its users' messages remain private and secure. And this time, it wants to stop supporting SMS messages on Android. Signal considers this as a way to bring about a more “streamlined experience” within its app.

According to Signal in a blog post, users should begin to see notifications from Signal to inform them about the decision, as well as providing the support to export old SMS messages if users want to.

"This change will only affect you if you use Signal as your default SMS app on Android. Meaning that you use Signal on Android to receive and send both Signal and SMS messages from within the Signal interface."

"If you do use Signal as your default SMS app on Android, you will need to select a new default SMS app on your phone. If you want to keep them, you’ll also need to export your SMS messages from Signal into that new app."

Signal has been around for many years, but it's original purpose was not a privacy app.

"To give some context, when we started supporting SMS, Signal didn’t exist yet. Our Android app was called TextSecure and the Signal encryption protocol was called Axolotl," Signal explained.

When TextSecure became Signal, the app retains its support for sending and receiving plaintext SMS and MMS messages, in addition to Signal messages.

"We did this because we knew that Signal would be easier for people to use if it could serve as a homebase for most of the messages they were sending or receiving, without having to convince the people they wanted to talk to to switch to Signal first," the post continued.

But as years past, a lot has changed.

Signal has become one of the most popular privacy-focused messaging app on mobile and desktop, and has grown significantly from what was a small project by founder Moxie Marlinspike.

In this modern world of mobile and internet, SMS and MMS are still used. But it's no longer a secret that the messaging methods aren't at all secured.

If Signal keeps supporting SMS, this means that users would keep sending and receiving unsecured messages.

Messages sent through SMS and MMS aren't protected by Signal’s protocol.

So here, dropping SMS support allows Signal to clearly communicate its theme as a private and secure messaging app.

This in turn should ensure that users of Signal can avoid any misunderstandings of what is a secure message and what is an SMS text.

Besides that, dropping SMS support also means that users won't be hit with unexpected messaging bills, and allowing the app to create a "clear and intelligible user experience."

"We have now reached the point where SMS support no longer makes sense."