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 .zip file and it will extract – drag that file to your Applications folder to install it. Once that’s done, double-click Signal from your Applications folder to launch it.
  2. 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).
  3. Scroll down to the Linked Devices option and select it.
  4. Tap the Link New Device item.
  5. If Signal hasn’t already asked for access to your devices camera, it will now. Tap OK or Accept to grant it permission.
  6. Now hold up your phone and ‘scan’ the QR code on your Macs screen with the camera in your smartphone.
  7. Once it’s successfully scanned the QR code a confirmation message will appear – tap Link New Device
  8. At this point you can put your smartphone down and turn your attention back to your Mac.
  9. 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.
  10. Signal on your Mac will now copy the contacts and contact groups from Signal on your smartphone.
  11. That’s it – you’re done! You can now begin using Signal on your Mac to securely communicate with your friends.
  12. 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.

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