Signal will soon let Android users wirelesly transfer their data

Signal hero
Signal hero (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Signal is rolling out a beta update that enables wireless account migration.
  • It allows a user to easily transfer their account between devices without the need for a local backup.
  • When it rolls out, it'll remain secure as the company is using an end-to-end encrypted local WiFi direct connection to transfer the data.

Signal, the messaging app that is set to replace WhatsApp for the most privacy-focused users, is borrowing one of WhatsApp's most useful features with wireless account migration. Have you ever thought about how to keep conversations and messages up to date as you swap between phones? Probably not. Whether you're using WhatsApp or Telegram, your chats are often stored in the cloud, and accessible on every device when you log in.

Signal's privacy-focused nature didn't allow for that, restricting users to only being able to transfer account data via way of a local backup. That's changing in version 5.5, at least in beta builds.

Via Reddit, The changelog for the beta update reads:

Your next upgrade deserves an upgrade. Quickly and securely transfer your Signal information to a brand-new Android phone. Use the end-to-end encrypted migration feature to move your account and messages from an old device to a new device over a private local WiFi Direct connection.

It's a step-up from basic file transfers, and it's nowhere as good as the seamless cloud transfer that users can experience on WhatsApp. Nevertheless, it is here, and it works, if you're in the beta at least.

Given past patterns, Signal will roll this change out to stable users in a matter of weeks. The messaging app has also added a slew of other features aimed at attracting users, from chat backgrounds to custom statuses. Little by little, Signal's starting to feel a lot more like a contemporary messaging app than it did at the start of the year.

Michael Allison