How to Use Signal on Your Mac

This guide will take you step by step through the process of installing and setting up the privacy-focused messaging app Signal to use on your Mac.

First things first, you do need to be using Signal on your smartphone (or iPad) before you can use it on your Mac. You’ll also need to have that same smartphone nearby when you set up Signal on your Mac. With that out of the way – let’s jump in!

  1. Head over to the Signal download page (link opens in a new tab/window). Find the section titled Download Signal for YOUR DESKTOP and click the Signal for Mac download link/button. Once the download has completed, double-click the .dmg file and drag Signal.app to your Applications folder to install it. Once that’s done, double-click Signal from your Applications folder to launch it.
  2. Signal.app in Finder for macOS

  3. A window with a large QR code will appear. Now it’s time to grab your smartphone. Open the Signal app on it and then select the Settings ‘cog’ icon (see screenshot below).
  4. an arrow pointing at a cog icon

  5. Scroll down to the Linked Devices option and select it.
  6. the Signal Settings screen for iOS

  7. Tap the Link New Device item.
  8. an arrow pointing to a Link New Device line

  9. If Signal hasn’t already asked for access to your devices camera, it will now. Tap OK or Accept to grant it permission.
  10. Permission request window in iOS

  11. Now hold up your phone and ‘scan’ the QR code on your Macs screen with the camera in your smartphone.
  12. a QR Code as viewed through the Signal app

  13. Once it’s successfully scanned the QR code a confirmation message will appear – tap Link New Device
  14. an arrow pointing to a Link New Device button

  15. At this point you can put your smartphone down and turn your attention back to your Mac.
  16. the Naming a Device window in iOS

  17. The window that used to have the QR code will now ask for you to give Signal a ‘name’ on your Mac. The default is probably fine but anything will do.
  18. naming Signal on a Mac

  19. Signal on your Mac will now copy the contacts and contact groups from Signal on your smartphone.
  20. Signal on a Mac syncing with Signal on a mobile

  21. That’s it – you’re done! You can now begin using Signal on your Mac to securely communicate with your friends.
  22. the Signal app running on a Mac

  23. If you ever need to ‘unlink’ Signal from your Mac, simply return to the Settings on your smartphone, select Linked Devices again and from there you’ll be able to edit/remove any of your linked devices.
  24. a list of Linked Devices


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