Signal Messenger is a free, open-source messaging app that has been around for several years and specializes in end-to-end encryption. When you need to communicate securely but find it hard because of the restrictions put on traditional messaging apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, Signal messenger is one of the better forms of communication for those that require the utmost privacy.
The following tutorial will teach you how to install Signal Messenger on Debian 11 Bullseye. The tutorial will use the command line terminal with complete steps to install the official repository and tips on updating and removing the software securely and adequately.
Table of Contents
Before proceeding with the tutorial, ensuring your system is up-to-date with all existing packages is good.
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
Install Required Packages
The following dependencies will need to be installed. Most of these packages are already on your system, but running the command can help ensure they are installed.
sudo apt install software-properties-common apt-transport-https wget -y
Install Signal Messenger
First, you will need to import the GPG and the repository. Luckily this is straightforward, and you will always have the most up-to-date version available on your system.
Import the GPG key using the following command.
sudo wget -O- https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt/keys.asc | gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /usr/share/keyrings/signal-desktop-keyring.gpg
Next, import the repository.
echo "deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/signal-desktop-keyring.gpg] https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt xenial main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/signal-messenger.list
Users may notice Xenial, which is ok; the application is still updated for use on all Debian/Ubuntu distros.
Once done, run an APT update to reflect the new additional repository.
sudo apt update
Now you can install Signal Messenger using the following command.
sudo apt install signal-desktop -y
How to Launch Signal Messenger
Once you have completed the installation, you can launch Signal if your terminal is open using the following command.
The best method for desktop users is to launch the application using its icon. For regular usage, make to pin it to your sidebar.
Activities > Show Applications > Signal
Next, install Signal on your mobile device and open the application, then click on “Linked devices,” tap on the “+” icon that is on the bottom right and scan the QR code appearing on your Debian desktop that will link and sync your chats from your smartphone to your desktop application.
Example of desktop QR code:
How to Update/Upgrade Signal Messenger
To check for updates using the command line, use the following command to allow a blanket check for any updates across all APT packages.
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
How to Remove (Uninstall) Signal Messenger
When you no longer want Signal installed on your system, use the following command to remove it.
sudo apt autoremove signal-desktop -y
Next, remove the repository using the following command.
sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/signal-messenger.list
For good housekeeping and security, remove the GPG key as follows.
sudo rm /usr/share/keyrings/signal-desktop-keyring.gpg
Comments and Conclusion
Signal messenger is an excellent secure communication app because it uses end-to-end encryption. The message is encrypted on your device and can only be decrypted by the person receiving the message. It’s also important to note that Signal messenger is an open-source app, meaning the code is freely available for anyone to look at and audit. This helps ensure no backdoors or malicious code in the app.
Another reason Signal messenger is a good choice for secure communications is because it has been around for several years. The developers of Signal have a strong track record of protecting user privacy, and they have not been involved in any data breaches or scandals like some of the other messaging apps out there.