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Signal to end SMS support from its Android app, here’s what it means for users

Signal points out that plaintext SMS messages are insecure and this is the biggest reason why the company has chosen to do away with SMS support.

Signal to end SMS support from its Android app, here’s what it means for users
Signal points out that plaintext SMS messages are insecure and this is the biggest reason why the company has chosen to do away with SMS support. (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Popular messaging app Signal has decided to end its SMS support from the Android version of the app. The company states that the move will help streamline the overall Signal experience, offer better security and privacy and ensure people are not hit with unsolicited messaging bills. The company that feels that it has reached a point where SMS support no longer makes sense.

To ensure that this transition is smooth, the company will start to phase out SMS support from the Android app. Users will be given “several months” to transition away from SMS in Signal and to export SMS messages to another app.

Note that this change will not affect every Signal user. It will change things only for those who use Signal as their default SMS app on Android. In this case, users will have to select a new default SMS app on their phone. They can also choose to export all SMS from Signal to that app. To do so, go to the Settings in your Signal account. Select Chats>SMS/MMS. If SMS is enabled, you will have to export your messages and pick a different default SMS app.

Signal will also start showing in-app notifications reminding you to export your SMS messages and choose a new default app for your SMS messages before the support completely ends.

Signal points out that plaintext SMS messages are insecure and this is the biggest reason why the company has chosen to do away with SMS support.

“The most important reason for us to remove SMS support from Android is that plaintext SMS messages are inherently insecure. They leak sensitive metadata and place your data in the hands of telecommunications companies,” it states.

The messaging app also notes that today the cost of sending SMS is comparatively higher than what it was before. It says that people have long suffered from high messaging fees assuming that the SMS messages they were sending were being sent from Signal. “This brings us to our second reason: we’ve heard repeatedly from people who’ve been hit with high messaging fees after assuming that the SMS messages they were sending were Signal messages, only to find out that they were using SMS, and being charged by their telecom provider. This is a terrible experience with real consequences.”

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First published on: 14-10-2022 at 13:11 IST