Register on Signal using a virtual phone number and without using your real phone number
Signal doesn’t track your contact book or links your phone number to create your digital profile. Of course, it requires a phone number for initial registration, but the good news is that you can use a virtual phone number to verify the OTP. Use any virtual phone number app like TextNow to register on Signal and then enable a PIN to take control of your account.
Don’t use a display picture and don’t use your real name
While signing up on Signal, don’t put your own photo as a display picture and don’t use your real name to get the utmost privacy. You can do the same on WhatsApp too but the fact that you have been using WhatsApp for so long, the metadata is already stored and linked to your digital profile. So, even if you decide to suddenly change your name and photo it would be less effective.
Enable PIN and Registration lock under Privacy settings
Your Signal account is not linked to your phone number. The beauty of using Signal is that the account is linked to a PIN that only you are aware of. This makes tracking users difficult. For added security, go to Privacy settings and turn on ‘Registration lock’. This prevents unauthorised access to your Signal from a different device.
Disable ‘Use system contact photos’ option under Appearance
Go to ‘Use system contact photos’ option under Appearance Settings and disable it. This will prevent your default contact book pictures from showing on Signal.
Disable Read receipts and enable ‘Always Relay Calls’ option under Privacy settings
Under Privacy settings, disable Read receipts and turn on ‘Always Relay Calls’ option to prevent revealing your IP address to your contact. Turning off Read receipts simply eliminates unwanted metadata information.
Disable ‘Show Calls in Recents’ option under Privacy
If you are an iPhone user, go to Privacy settings and disable ‘Show calls in Recent’. This will prevent all Signal voice and video calls from showing up on call history.
Set ‘Screen timeout’ to 1 minute
To prevent unwanted chat access, set ‘Screen timeout’ to the minimum of 1 minute, so that your Signal app gets locked to prevent unwanted access to other people.
Disable ‘Allow from Anyone’ option under Privacy settings
Go to Privacy settings and disable ‘Allow from Anyone’ option. This will prevent unknown people from contacting you on Signal.
Disable ‘Debug Log’ under Advanced settings
Go to Advanced settings and disable Debug log for extra privacy.
Verify safety number of each contacts that you add on Signal
Be sure to verify each and every contact on Signal before you start chatting with them on Signal.
Enable disappearing messages and set to the minimum of 5 seconds or 10 seconds
The disappearing messages feature works way better on Signal compared to WhatsApp. Even if one party has enabled this option the other party is forced to follow it. This makes it effective and you can set disappearing messages to a minimum of 5 seconds. This simply deletes the message after you have seen it for 5 seconds.