Signal number change update meets WhatsApp and Telegram at last

Most of the 40 million people who use the popular end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) instant messaging app Signal were drawn to it because of its steadfast commitment to privacy. However, this focus on privacy alone isn't enough to attract new users and more importantly, retain them.

Realizing this, the Signal Technology Foundation – the non-profit entity behind Signal – has been working on adding several new features to the app. In the latest such update, Signal finally gives users the ability to easily change their phone number. Until now, existing Signal users wanting to change their number risked losing access to all their chat history if such a change was made. 

The importance of this feature is evident from the fact that Signal publicized this new feature via a dedicated blog post. This also had a lot to do with the fact that Signal's primary rivals, WhatsApp and Telegram, have long offered this feature without users having to worry about losing their chat history. 

How to change your Signal phone number

The ability to change your Signal phone number is being rolled out for both the Android and iOS versions of the Signal app. If you don't see the option yet, it might be a good idea to manually try and update the app by going to the iOS App Store or the Google Play Store. 

Once you've update your Signal app to the latest version available, you should be able to change your phone number with relative ease. To change your phone number on Signal, take the following steps: 

  • Open the Signal app
  • If you are on iOS, tap the profile icon and go to Settings > Account > Change phone number
  • If you're using Android, tap the profile icon and go to Account > Change phone number
  • The app will now ask you to enter your existing (old) number in the first field, and the new number (the one you wanted to change to) in the second text field.
  • Tap on Continue, and then tap Done.
  • Recheck if the new number is entered correctly, and then follow the on-screen instructions to complete the registration process.
  • Once these steps are complete, you can seamlessly migrate all your Signal chat history to the new number. All your Signal contacts will also receive an alert indicating you have changed your number. They won't however, be able to see your new number.