With WhatsApp's recent Facebook-induced privacy woes, Signal and Telegram are enjoying their time in the spotlight. Signal's privacy focus has specifically appealed to a lot of users who decided to switch away from WhatsApp, with the app seeing unprecedented growth and topping global app charts worldwide. But many of those newly-acquired users have quickly noticed Signal's limited feature set, forcing the app's devs to rush and try to plug some holes to keep everyone hooked. A few new features were promised two weeks ago, they showed up in beta last week and are now live in the latest stable version of the app.

Custom wallpapers

Signal chats used to switch their background color according to the app's theme: solid white for the light theme, solid black for the dark theme. With the new version, support for proper wallpapers has been added and, just like WhatsApp, they can be set per chat.

You'll find the option for the entire app under Settings > Appearance > Chat wallpaper, but you can also do it for each conversation by tapping the person's name in the top bar and looking for Chat wallpaper there.

Several preset wallpapers are available to choose from, including 12 solid colors and 9 gradient ones. You can also pick a local photo from your phone's storage. A preview lets you see what the wallpaper will look like in a chat.

 

After selecting the wallpaper, it'll be applied across all conversations or in the specific one you picked. If you turned on the setting, it will also dim a little when your phone switches to dark mode.

Animated stickers

Signal doesn't offer a ton of sticker packs by default, but there's a new one called "Day by Day" that's animated. It's installed by default, so you won't have to go looking for it, and it contains 24 animated stickers with plenty of general emotions or activities (rain, waking up, kisses, listening to music, thumbs-up, and more). As far as I can tell, the animation doesn't time out and will loop indefinitely.

Text status / About

Signal is also adding a simple About section for users' profiles, a feature that's been available on WhatsApp and Telegram (and various other messengers) for years. You get to choose an emoji and type a short blurb about yourself that your contacts will see when they open your profile. You can save several of these and easily switch between them, essentially using them as make-shift statuses if you want.

These features are now available in Signal v5.3.7, which is slowly rolling out on the Play Store. You can speed up the process and grab it manually from APK Mirror.

Stable release

The post has been updated to indicate that these features are now available on the stable version of Signal.

Signal Private Messenger
Signal Private Messenger