You might have already heard of Signal, the secure messaging app that is capable of being a solid WhatsApp alternative. Whether you’re switching from WhatsApp or are just curious to try out Signal, here are the top features you won’t find on the platform. After finding out the missing features, you can decide if you should move to Signal or other messaging apps like Telegram.
Features Missing on Signal in 2021
1. Online Status
Yes, you can’t see if a person is online on Signal. You also won’t know when someone was last active on the platform. This is a neat privacy-oriented feature, but users accustomed to online status might have a hard time getting used to this approach. In a nutshell, if you’re moving to Signal in hopes of checking your crush’s last seen status, prepare yourself for disappointment.
2. Starred Messages
One of the major concerns of users switching from Signal to WhatsApp is the lack of starred messages. For the uninitiated, the feature lets you bookmark important messages for quick access. Unfortunately, it is not available on Signal. As a workaround, you can forward important messages to the ‘Note to Self’ section. It may not be as convenient as starred messages, but it gets the job done for now.
3. Status Updates
After Snapchat stories and Instagram stories proved to be an instant hit, Facebook-owned WhatsApp introduced status updates in 2017. Fast forward to today in 2021, status updates are one of the most used features on WhatsApp. If you have at least 50 contacts on WhatsApp, you’re likely to see approximately 10 people posting new WhatsApp status updates every day, especially in India. While I don’t personally want status updates on Signal, the fact that Signal doesn’t have this feature might be a dealbreaker to some users moving away from WhatsApp.
4. Live Location Sharing
Don’t get me wrong, you can share your location on Signal’s personal chats and groups. However, the ability to share the live location for a particular duration is missing from the secure messaging platform. Hence, it won’t be convenient to use Signal if you are on the move and want to keep your loved ones updated with your location in the meantime. On the other hand, messaging apps like Telegram and WhatsApp have this flexibility.
5. User ID
At this moment, you can’t add people on Signal unless you have their phone number. Given that Signal is touted as a privacy-friendly platform, giving out something as personal as a phone number to start a chat seems counterintuitive. However, in a recent Reddit AMA, Signal hinted at its future plans to introduce user ID system. It’ll be exciting to see when Signal rolls out the feature.
6. Web Version
Although you can use full-fledged Signal Desktop apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, it is worth pointing out that Signal lacks a web version. Hence, you can’t use Signal from the comfort of your web browser. If you want to use Signal on your computer, you will have to install Signal Desktop.
7. Message Scheduling
You can’t schedule messages to be sent later on Signal. A lot of people use message scheduling on other messaging apps like Telegram as a way to send reminders, birthday wishes at 12 AM, and more. This is one feature we would love to see on Signal someday.
8. Quoted Replies for Stickers
One strange omission on Signal is the option to quote messages when you send stickers. This results in confusion, especially in group chats where someone who has recently sent a message might think a new sticker you just sent is meant for them, while you might have been reading old messages and tried to reply to an old message with a sticker. This is one of the minor conveniences I found while using the app and honestly, it can get annoying at times.
9. Chat Import Tool
Unlike Telegram which has an import tool to bring messages from WhatsApp, Line, and KakaoTalk, you can’t import chats to Signal. Implementing a chat import tool is easier said than done, and we’ll have to wait to see if Signal manages to achieve this sometime in the future.
Signal Missing Features
If you’re coming from WhatsApp, you’ll also notice that you don’t have a payments feature on Signal. However, I didn’t mention it above since a messaging app doesn’t necessarily have to offer payments feature. In case you’re looking for a platform that has all the features listed above (except status updates), you should consider moving to Telegram and go through the best Telegram tips and tricks while you’re at it.