How to Install Signal on Ubuntu 22.04 | 20.04

Signal Messenger is a free, open-source and privacy-focused messaging app that offers end-to-end encryption for secure communication. As a cross-platform application, Signal provides a seamless experience for users across various devices and operating systems, including Ubuntu. The app’s dedication to privacy and security, along with its rich feature set, make it an excellent choice for Ubuntu users seeking a reliable messaging solution for both personal and professional use.

Why Ubuntu Users Should Consider Signal Messenger

  • Privacy and Security: Signal uses advanced end-to-end encryption to ensure the privacy of your messages, calls, and media. It also has a disappearing messages feature that allows users to set a timer for messages to self-destruct after being read.
  • Open Source: Being open-source, Signal allows anyone to review its code, which further ensures the app’s commitment to security and transparency.
  • Cross-platform Compatibility: Signal is available on various platforms, including Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux. This makes it easy to stay connected with friends, colleagues, and family members, regardless of their device.
  • Feature-rich Experience: Signal offers a wide array of features, such as group messaging, voice and video calls, file sharing, and message reactions, making it suitable for both personal and professional communication.
  • Ease of Installation: Signal can be easily installed on Ubuntu via multiple methods, including the use of Apt or Flatpak, ensuring a hassle-free installation process.

The following guide will demonstrate how to install Signal on Ubuntu 22.04 Jammy Jellyfish or Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa using Apt or Flatpak. Note that for short-term Ubuntu releases, the methods for the LTS release in this article will also work unless your Ubuntu short-term release has reached its end of life.

Section 1: Install Signal with APT

Step 1: Update Ubuntu System Packages

Before we proceed with the installation process, it is crucial to make sure your Ubuntu system is up-to-date with all the existing packages. Updating the system ensures that you have the latest security patches and software improvements. To update your Ubuntu system, run the following command:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Step 2: Install Required Dependencies

Some dependencies are required for the Signal Messenger installation. While most of these packages are likely to be already present on your system, executing the following command ensures that they are installed:

sudo apt install software-properties-common apt-transport-https curl -y

This command installs the software-properties-common, apt-transport-https, and curl packages, which facilitate the addition of new repositories and ensure secure communication with them.

Step 3: Import Signal Repository

To install Signal Messenger via APT, you need to import the GPG key and the repository. This process ensures that you always have the most up-to-date version of Signal available on your system.

First, import the GPG key using the following command:

curl -fSsL | gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /usr/share/keyrings/signal-desktop-keyring.gpg

This command downloads the GPG key from the Signal website, processes it with the gpg command, and saves it to the /usr/share/keyrings directory.

Next, import the repository with this command:

echo deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/signal-desktop-keyring.gpg] xenial main | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/signal-messenger.list

You may notice the term “Xenial” in the command, but don’t worry. The application is still updated for use on all Ubuntu versions, including the latest releases.

Step 4: Update Packages Index

After importing the Signal repository, update the APT packages index to reflect the newly added repository. Run the following command to do this:

sudo apt update

Step 5: Install Signal Messenger

Finally, you can install Signal Messenger by running the following command:

sudo apt install signal-desktop

This command downloads and installs the signal-desktop package, making Signal Messenger available for use on your Ubuntu system.

Section 2: Install Signal with Flatpak and Flathub

This section will explore an alternative method to install Signal using the Flatpak package manager. Flatpak is a universal package manager similar to Snap, providing an easy and secure way to install applications on Linux systems. It allows you to have the latest version of applications, independent of your distribution’s repositories and offers better sandboxing for enhanced security.

Step 1: Enable Flathub

Before installing Signal through Flatpak, you must enable the Flathub repository, a primary source for Flatpak applications. To enable Flathub, execute the following command in your terminal:

sudo flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub

This command adds the Flathub repository to your Flatpak configuration, ensuring you have access to a wide variety of applications, including Signal.

Step 2: Install Signal

With Flathub enabled, you can now proceed to install Signal using the flatpak install command. Run the following command in your terminal:

flatpak install flathub org.signal.Signal -y

This command installs the Signal Messenger from the Flathub repository, providing you with the latest version of the application.

Note: If your system does not have Flatpak installed, please refer to our own guide on How to Install Flatpak on Ubuntu for step-by-step instructions on installing the most recent supported version of Flatpak.

Section 3: Launch Signal Messenger

Now that you have successfully installed Signal Messenger, it’s time to launch the application and start enjoying its features. There are multiple ways to open Signal, and we will discuss each of them to accommodate your preferences.

Step 1: Launch Signal from the Terminal

To open Signal using the terminal, execute the following command based on your installation method:

For APT installations:


For Flatpak installations:

flatpak run org.signal.Signal

Launching Signal through the terminal provides you with the advantage of monitoring any error messages or application logs that might appear during its usage.

Step 2: Launch Signal from the Desktop Environment

For a more user-friendly approach, you can launch Signal directly from your desktop environment. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open Activities.
  2. Click on Show Applications.
  3. Locate the Signal icon and click on it to start the application.

For a seamless experience, you can pin Signal to your sidebar, making it easily accessible for regular usage. This way, you’ll have quick access to the application whenever you need it, without having to search through the application list.

Example of Signal messenger application icon on Ubuntu Linux:

Section 4: Getting Started with Signal with Ubuntu Linux

Now that you have installed the messenger client on your desktop, here are some helpful tips for getting the most out of Signal on your Ubuntu Linux system.

Tip 1: Customize Your Signal Appearance

Signal offers various customization options to enhance your messaging experience. To access these settings:

  1. Click on your profile picture in the top-left corner of the Signal window.
  2. Select Preferences.

Here are some customization options you might find useful:

  • Theme: Choose between Light and Dark themes to suit your preference.
  • Chat wallpaper: Customize the chat background with a solid color or an image.

Tip 2: Set Privacy Settings

Privacy is a top priority for Signal users. To fine-tune your privacy settings:

  1. Click on your profile picture in the top-left corner of the Signal window.
  2. Select Privacy.

Some key privacy settings include:

  • Screen Security: Enable or disable screen captures and recent app previews.
  • Read Receipts: Control whether others can see when you’ve read their messages.
  • Typing Indicators: Show or hide typing notifications for your contacts.

Tip 3: Manage Notifications

Customize your notifications to ensure you receive important messages while minimizing distractions:

  1. Click on your profile picture in the top-left corner of the Signal window.
  2. Select Notifications.

Adjust the following settings to your liking:

  • Notification Sounds: Choose a sound for incoming messages and calls.
  • Message Preview: Display or hide message content in notifications.
  • Mute All Conversations: Silence notifications from all chats.

Tip 4: Use Signal Keyboard Shortcuts

Leverage keyboard shortcuts to navigate and use Signal more efficiently. Some essential shortcuts include:

  • Ctrl + T: Start a new conversation.
  • Ctrl + Shift + S: Open the search bar.
  • Ctrl + Shift + X: Archive or unarchive the selected conversation.

For a full list of keyboard shortcuts, click on your profile picture, select Help, and then click on Keyboard Shortcuts.

Tip 5: Link and Unlink Devices

You can link your Signal Desktop Messenger to your mobile app for seamless communication across devices:

  1. Open Signal on your mobile device.
  2. Navigate to Settings > Linked Devices.
  3. Tap the + icon and scan the QR code displayed on your desktop application.

To unlink a device, follow steps 1 and 2 above, then select the device and tap Unlink.

Example of desktop QR code on Ubuntu Linux:

Section 5: Additional Signal Commands for Ubuntu Linux

In this section, we will explore some additional commands to manage Signal Messenger on Ubuntu Linux, including how to update, uninstall, and remove the repository and GPG key.

Updating Signal Messenger on Ubuntu Linux

To check for updates and ensure that you’re using the latest version of Signal Messenger and other installed packages, run the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

This command will update the package lists and upgrade all packages on your system, including Signal Messenger, to their latest versions.

Uninstalling Signal Messenger

If you decide to uninstall Signal Messenger from your system, follow these steps:

Step 1: Remove Signal Messenger using the following command:

sudo apt remove signal-desktop

Step 2: Remove the Signal repository by executing the following command:

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/signal-messenger.list

Step 3: For better security and system maintenance, remove the GPG key with this command:

sudo rm /usr/share/keyrings/signal-desktop-keyring.gpg

For Flatpak installations, you will need to use a different command to remove Signal from your desktop:

flatpak uninstall org.signal.Signal

Closing Thoughts on Installing Signal with Ubuntu Linux

In conclusion, installing Signal Desktop Messenger on Ubuntu Linux is a straightforward process that enables you to enjoy secure and private messaging on your system. This guide covered various methods of installation, including the use of the official repository, Flatpak, and launching the application. Additionally, we provided helpful tips for getting started with Signal Desktop Messenger and some essential commands for managing the application on Ubuntu Linux.

Following the steps and suggestions outlined in this article, you can confidently install, use, and maintain Signal Desktop Messenger on your Ubuntu Linux system.

Additional Resources and Links

For further information and assistance with Signal Desktop Messenger, consider exploring the following official resources:

  • Signal Support Center: The official Signal Support Center provides answers to frequently asked questions and troubleshooting tips for various issues you might encounter while using Signal.
  • Signal Community Forums: Engage with other Signal users and developers on the official Signal Community Forums to seek advice, share experiences, or discuss features and improvements.
  • Signal GitHub Repository: Visit the Signal GitHub Repository to explore the source code, report bugs, or contribute to the development of the Signal Desktop application.

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