How to lock your Signal messaging app with a passcode and keep all of your private conversations and files secure

  • You can lock your Signal app so that anyone trying to open it will have to enter a passcode or other type of verification.
  • To lock Signal, open its in-app settings and select "Screen Lock."
  • Signal will use the same security method and passcode that your phone uses.
  • Locking the Signal app is an important way to keep your private conversations private.
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Signal is a popular app for journalists, government officials, and anyone who needs to have private conversations or transmit documents securely. This is because it's built with end-to-end encryption, which makes sure no one can listen into your conversations.

While the service is already extremely secure, its encryption means nothing if someone can just pick up your phone and open the app.

That's why Signal allows you to lock the app, requiring anyone who opens it (yourself included) to verify their identity before they're shown any messages.

Here's how to lock Signal, and keep your conversations safe.

How to lock your Signal messaging app

1. Start the Signal app.

2. Tap your account icon at the top-left of the screen and tap "Privacy."

3. Find "Screen Lock" and turn it on by swiping its button to the right. On the iPhone, it'll be halfway down the page in the "Screen Lock" section, but on Android it'll be at the top of the page in the "App access" section. 

  • You can also set up your "Screen Lock Timeout" settings, which let you unlock Signal once, then have the ability to open it without a passcode for a short time afterward.

4. Use the back button to exit Settings.

The screen lock may not take effect immediately. You may need to close and restart the app, or simply restart your phone. 

The next time you start Signal, you'll need to use whatever security method you use to unlock your phone, such as a passcode or fingerprint scan.

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  • Yes, password managers are safe — here's why you should use them, and how they keep your data secure

  • How to save audio messages on your iPhone, and change your settings so audio messages won't delete after 2 minutes

  • 'What is a keychain password?': How to navigate Apple's Keychain Access app and change your password

  • How to use LastPass to save and manage your passwords and other personal data

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