There has been a significant change from onsite to online meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. From office workers to students and teachers in virtual classrooms, and CEOs carrying out online meetings, they are all using different communication and collaboration platforms like Zoom, Skype, Slack, Teams, WhatsApp, etc. Other than these apps, there is a Signal app that has grabbed huge attention in a couple of months because of its privacy and security features.
Some of its security features include self-destructing messages, screens security, and an end to end encryption. It lets you send one-to-one or group messages, transfers files, makes and receive voice and video calls, etc. You can use the Signal app not only on your phones but also on your desktops. The desktop client of Signal is available for Linux, Windows, and MacOS.
This post is about how to install the Signal messaging app on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. There are following three methods to install Signal on ubuntu desktop:
- Installation via Apt
- Installation via Snap
- Installation via Ubuntu Software
Note: You will require sudo privileges to install the Signal messaging app on your Ubuntu desktop.
Method #1 Installing Signal Messaging App on Ubuntu via apt (Command Line)
Signal is not available in the default Ubuntu repositories. You can install it by adding its repository to your system repositories list. Here are the steps to do so:
1. Download the official repository signing key using the below command in Terminal:
$ wget -O- https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt/keys.asc | gpg --dearmor > signal-desktop-keyring.gpg
2. Now, move the downloaded key to the /usr/share/keyrings/ directory.
$ sudo mv signal-desktop-keyring.gpg /usr/share/keyrings/
3. Add Signal desktop repository to your system repositories list. To do so, use the below command:
$ echo 'deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/signal-desktop-keyring.gpg] https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt xenial main' | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/signal-xenial.list
4. After adding the Signal repository to your system, you will need to update the repository index.
$ sudo apt update
5. Now use the below command to install the Signal messenger application on your system:
$ sudo apt install signal-desktop
When prompted with the y/n option, press y to continue.
When the installation of the Signal desktop application is finished, you can confirm it as follows:
$ apt list --installed | grep signal
This command verifies that Signal version 1.40.1 is installed on our system.
To launch the Signal messenger on the desktop, the command is as follows:
Method #2 Installing Signal Messaging App on Ubuntu via Snap (Command Line)
Signal messaging desktop application is available as a snap package. If you want to get the Signal snap application, first make sure you have snapd installed on your system. To check if snapd is installed, use the below command:
$ snap version
If snapd is installed on your system, you will see a similar output:
If it isn’t already installed, run command below to install it:
$ sudo apt install snapd
Now install the Signal snap package as follows:
$ sudo snap install signal-desktop
The above output verifies that Signal version 1.40.1 has been installed on our system.
To launch the Signal application from the command line, type signal-desktop in Terminal:
Method #3 Installing signal Messaging App on Ubuntu via Software Center (GUI)
If you are not comfortable working in the command line, you can install Signal graphically via Ubuntu Software Center. Here are the steps to do so:
1. Open Ubuntu Software Center. To do this, press the super key and type ubuntu software. From the search results, click the Ubuntu Software icon to open it.
2. In the Software Center, click the search icon at the top left corner of its window and type signal. From the search results, click Signal Desktop.
Then the following view will appear. Click the Install button to install the Signal Desktop application on your system.
If you scroll down, you can see the version that is going to be installed on your system.
Now type your password for authentication and click Authenticate button.
Now the installation of Signal will be started and once installed, you will see the following view:
To launch Signal from the graphical interface, press the super key and type signal in the search bar that shows up. From the search results, click the Signal icon to launch it.
Use Signal on Desktop
Once Signal desktop app is launched, you will see the following view with the QR code. This QR code will be used to connect your Smartphone to the desktop client.
Now open the Signal app on your Smartphone and go to Settings by clicking the three dots icon on the top right corner. Then from the Settings menu, click Linked devices.
Now assign Signal app the permission to use the camera. Then use your Smartphone to scan the QR code that appears on your Ubuntu system.
Then tap Link Device. Once the QR code is scanned, your Phone’s signal app will be linked to the desktop signal app. After that, you’ll be asked to choose the device name for your system. Enter any name and click Finish Linking Phone.
Once the devices are linked, you will be able to use Signal on your desktop system.
In case you need to remove Signal from your system, you can do so as follows:
To remove the Signal app installed via apt, use the following command:
$ sudo apt remove signal-desktop
To remove the Signal app installed via snap, use the following command:
$ sudo snap remove signal-desktop
To remove the Signal app that was installed graphically, go to the Installed tab in Ubuntu Software. Find the Signal app and click the Remove button in front of it to remove it from your system.
In this article, we have presented three different methods for installing the Signal messaging app on Ubuntu 20.04 desktop. Now you can use the Signal app on both your Smartphone and desktop system at the same time.
Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications including CCNA RS, SCP, and ACE. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various websites.