How to Install Signal Desktop in Ubuntu and Other Linux

3 min

This quick guide explains the steps required to install Signal desktop in Ubuntu and Other Linux. It is available in .deb, Snap, and Flatpak package format. Take a look at how you can install it.

About Signal

Signal is a free and open-source cross-platform secure messaging service. It has been developed by the Signal foundation and comes with many unique features that generally are not available in other similar messaging applications.

Signal is used primarily for secure messaging services because of how it handles the keys. By default, all the communications are end-to-end encrypted. And the encryption keys are stored at the user’s devices, not in the Signal servers. That means, no one has access to the keys except you or the user. This fundamental difference makes it unique compared to other messaging apps like WhatsApp, etc who store the keys in their own servers. And of course that it is opensource and peer-reviewed which means anyone can look into its code and there are no options to hide anything.

Features of Signal

  • Take a look at below some of the features of Signal desktop.
  • Traditional messages all available in Signal. Such as text, voice, video messages along with GIF, stickers, emoji.
  • Group voice and video calls (up to 8 people)
  • Offers self-destructing messages which can be 5 seconds to one week where the message is removed from sender and receiver devices automatically!
  • Both “typing…” and read receipt indicators are available for messages

Having said that, the only limitation of Signal I feel that it uses your phone number for account creation and not the username. That means anyone can view the phone number. However, Signal provides a registration lock PIN which you can use to protect your account.

The Signal desktop will work only if you have it installed on your mobile device (Android, iOS) and enabled it. Follow the below steps to install Signal desktop in Ubuntu and Other Linux.

Install Signal Desktop in Ubuntu and Other Linux

Install Latest Signal in Ubuntu, Debian, Linux Mint, and related distributions (via deb)

Open a terminal and follow the below commands to install Signal desktop. If curl is already installed, you can skip installing the curl package.

sudo apt install curl
curl -s | sudo apt-key add -
echo "deb [arch=amd64] xenial main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/signal-xenial.list
sudo apt update && sudo apt install signal-desktop

Note: The last source is available for xenial only. No sources are available for focal, hirsute, etc. You can still use the xenial sources in the latest Ubuntu releases. In my test which I did on Ubuntu 20.04 (focal), it worked fine.

Install Signal desktop via Flatpak app

Signal is available as Flatpak package. You can follow the below commands to install the Signal desktop as the Flatpak app.

flatpak install flathub org.signal.Signal

Running the package after installation.

flatpak run org.signal.Signal

Install Signal via snap

A Snap package is also available for Signal. Run the below command to install. Make sure your Linux system is setup for snap packages.

sudo snap install signal-desktop

Install Signal in Arch-based distributions

The Signal desktop is available in Arch User Repository. Hence you can easily install it using yay by following the command. Make sure Yay AUR helper is installed in your Arch Linux system.

yay -S signal-desktop

Install Signal in RHEL, Fedora

I could not find any .rpm package for Signal desktop. So, you can use the Flatpak or Snap installation method from the above. You should be good.

Running Signal

Signal Desktop is running in Ubuntu
Signal Desktop is running in Ubuntu

Once installed open Signal from the application menu. At this stage, you need your mobile phone to connect Signal desktop to your mobile’s Signal app. Follow the on-screen instructions to connect.

And this sums up the brief steps for installing Signal desktop in Ubuntu and other Linux systems. Let me know if you face any trouble installing Signal desktop via comments below.

Signal software – additional information

  • Source code: Github
  • Home page: Signal
  • Latest stable release (desktop): Signal desktop 1.39.4 – Dec 17, 2020
  • First release: July 29, 2014
  • License: GPLv3 (desktop), AGPLv3 (server)
  • Supported OS: Linux, Windows, iOS, Android, macOS


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