☕️ Step-by-step: Set up Signal on desktop
4 min read

☕️ Step-by-step: Set up Signal on desktop

We walk through setting up Signal messenger on desktop.
Horizontal stripes in shades of blue.
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To successfully complete this Instruction, you'll need:

  • To have Signal set up on a phone. Signal Desktop must be linked with either Signal Android or Signal iOS to send and receive messages. Signal messages are synchronized with Signal on your mobile phone. You can use this quickstart to fulfill this requirement.
  • A laptop, running either macOS (10.10 and above) or Windows 64-bit (7, 8, 8.1 and 10).

By the end of this Instruction, you'll have:

Set up Signal on a desktop device, which you can use to send and receive messages and files safely.

Helpful words

Click to see an explainer for each word in the Glossary.

Let's get started

A. Find the trusted source for the Signal Desktop app

Get the Signal client on your desktop by installing the app. You'll use the Signal app to access Signal services.

Do a search for signal in your browser.

Search for `signal` in your browser, choose results on the signal.org domain.

B. Get Signal on to your desktop

Download Signal Desktop from the trusted source.

Tap "Download for (your OS is auto-selected here)", then wait for the .dmg file to begin downloading to your device.

C. (macOS only) Mount the downloaded disk image

The file that is downloaded is a .dmg file. It is a disk image which contains the Signal Desktop client.

Tap the downloaded file to mount.

D. Install Signal Desktop

Windows: Double-tap the .exe and continue. Follow the prompts.

macOS: Follow the gifDoc.

Move the contents to the Applications directory.

E. Get QR code for linking Signal Desktop with Signal on the phone

Signal Desktop must be linked with either Signal Android or Signal iOS to send and receive messages. Signal messages are synchronized with Signal on your mobile phone.

Tap `Relink` on Signal Desktop.

F. On your phone, go to the Signal app's linking tool

In Signal, tap the hamburger menu in the top left, then tap `Linked Devices`.

Tap the plus icon in the Linked Devices menu to start the scanner.

Point the phone camera at the QR code displayed by Signal Desktop to pair.

H. Let the clients pair and sync (this could take time)

Wait for the loading screen to pass.
🐶 : Pause. Breathe. Get up, get a glass of water. Maybe have a look out the window. There's no reason to complete this gifDoc in one sitting.

I. Make messages expire and disappear after one week

In a chat, tap the triple dot menu in top right, tap disappearing messages, and tap 1 week.

J. Launch the file attachment tool

Prepare your message, then tap the ➕, then drag a file into the selection modal.

K. Attach a file


L. Send a document through Signal, with expiration enabled

M: Disable expiring messages

Once you enable disappearing messages, all messages sent in that conversation (with an individual or group) will expire and disappear at the end of the time. So remember to disable disappearing messages when you want messages to stay.

In a chat, tap the triple dot menu in top right, tap disappearing messages, and tap `off`.

N. Keep Signal Desktop updated

Keep Signal updated. Updates make Signal safer against new threats, like vaccines do, but not the same way.

This is the easiest step. Signal Desktop checks for updates on its own.


Take a quiz to test your recall!

Make business operations easier, with newer practices (like remote work), or more resistant to evolving causes of business interruption (like ransomware, credential stuffing, or spear-phishing), all of which are rising faster than ever since early 2020.

Sometimes-not always-we can improve both ease and security at the same time. We recommending exploring other ways to transform your Communications Layer.

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