The latest version of Signal for both iOS (5.3.1) and Android (5.3.7) brings a number of new additions to the increasingly popular encrypted messaging app. These include mainstream features like chat wallpapers, animated stickers, and an “About” section in your profile. The iOS app now handles data more efficiently, too, bringing it closer to feature parity with the Android app.
The new features were first announced on January 11th, and Android Police reported on them rolling out in the beta version of Signal for Android last week Friday. With chat wallpapers, you can pick from a number of presets or select a photo of your own, and you can also set a wallpaper for a specific conversation or all of them. The beta had 24 animated stickers, according to Android Police.
The iOS app, meanwhile, is also more efficient with data. iPhone users will see a new setting to lower data usage during calls, an option to automatically pause attachment downloads during calls, and improved image compression among other enhancements.
Here's a sneak peek at some new Signal features that will start rolling out in a few days:— Signal (@signalapp) January 12, 2021
• Chat wallpapers!
• About field for your Signal profile
• Animated stickers
• For iOS: Media auto-download settings and full-screen profile photos (to match Android)
Good morning ! pic.twitter.com/KEAbhMswRI
Signal has long been a popular messaging option for those focused on the security of their communications — the European Commission told staff to switch to Signal in February 2020, for example — and Signal is still focused on releasing new security-focused features, such as encrypted group video calls. But more consumer-focused features like wallpapers and stickers could make Signal feel more approachable for users coming to the app from WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, and, ideally, keep them on Signal over the long term.