Signal vs iMessage

Last updated: December 17, 2021

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Signal
Privacy is possible, Signal makes it easy. Send high-quality group, text, picture, and video messages, all without SMS and MMS fees.
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iMessage
iMessage lets you send messages back and forth with anyone on iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, or a Mac. If you’re a texter, you’ll love Messages on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Now they all come with iMessage, a service that’s an even better kind of texting. Because it’s free for you and anyone texting over Wi-Fi using an iOS device or Mac with iMessage.
Signal vs iMessage in our news:

2021. Signal expands encrypted group video calls to 40 people



Messaging app Signal can now support group video chats with 40 participants — up from five — and end-to-end encryption will still be intact. End-to-end encryption means only the participants in the call can view the messages or video. No one, including the messaging provider, government authorities, or hackers, can view the calls, unless a participant accepts them into the video session or they snatch your device.


2020. Signal adds encrypted group video calls



Signal, the free and open source encrypted messaging app, launched end-to-end encrypted group video calls. The feature, which at present is limited to five people per call, allows members of a Signal group to pop in and out of an ongoing call at will. Notably, unlike Facebook's Messenger Rooms, group video calls on Signal are end-to-end encrypted. In an existing Signal group, you only need to tap the video icon in the upper-right corner of the screen to start the call. Once you've done so, group members can join or leave the call at their pleasure.


2020. Apple’s iMessage adds Slack-like mentions, pins, threads and more



Apple announced the next version of iMessage will support a number of popular features found in rival messaging apps like Slack or even Facebook’s Messenger, among others. This includes added support for common features like inline replies, pins, and mentions, plus updated customizations for group chats, expanded Memoji, improved search, and more. With the new inline replies feature, iMessage users in a group chat will be able to respond to specific messages using threads — a feature common to a number of other top messaging apps, including Slack. With inline replies, users can opt to view the replies within the full conversation, or you can opt to view them as their own thread.


2018. Apple Business Chat goes global



Apple introduced its iMessage-based communication system Apple Business Chat to the U.S. earlier this year. The service has now is going global - and is now available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Singapore, Japan, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The service is like those bot-based messaging systems, but a lot more convenient. It lets customers speak to real people, and it gives users lots of control over how much information they share with a business. To make Business Chat function, Apple works with customer service platforms, including LivePerson, Salesforce, Nuance, Genesys, InTheChat, and Zendesk.


2018. iMessage adds Google Search



Google Search is now available within iMessage. In an effort to more deeply integrate Google’s search engine on iOS devices, the company announced today that its Search app for iOS has added an iMessage extension, allowing iPhone and iPad users to search the web, then quickly add those search results to their iMessage conversations. With Google’s iMessage extension, users can type a query in the search box, or tap a button below for a specific type of search – like Weather, Food, Nearby (venues/businesses), Trending (news), or Videos. Each search result includes a “Share” button that, when tapped, adds the item directly into an iMessage conversation as card. When the recipient taps on the card, they’ll go to the Google search result.


2017. Apple enters customer service arena with iOS Business Chat



Apple debuted iOS Business Chat for its Messages application, a chat-based customer service channel for businesses. Essentially, it's a live-chat function in Apple's iMessage ecosystem that connects with the 1 billion active Apple iOS apps device users use — Apple Maps, Siri, Search and their own website and apps. Customers can also use it to pay for items through Apple Pay or schedule follow up support sessions through calendar integration. Customers will be able to from inside their iOS messenger platform connect with businesses through chat, pay for items, share photos of broken products, share videos and book flights after choosing seats.


2017. Encrypted messenger Signal adds voice and video calling



A new beta version of Signal, the encrypted chat application, has enabled voice and video calling. According to the app’s changelog, beta users are able to try the new feature with others who also have the setting enabled. Though aimed at the privacy-minded, Signal competes more broadly with apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Google Duo, all of which support video calling. These features are now considered table stakes for those entering the messaging app space with their own alternative clients. Signal may be catching up with the rest of the market, in terms of feature set, but the app struggles with adoption because it lacks the network effects of other, more social apps. This, of course, is by design. Because of its security and privacy focus, Signal doesn’t pull in your contacts from other social networks, upload your address book, or offer fun tools like Snapchat’s Snapcodes to make adding new friends easier.


2015. iMessage and FaceTime get two-factor authentication



Apple has improved the security of FaceTime and iMessage, its voice/video and multimedia chat communication tools. The services received two-factor authentication as an option for users to enable, meaning that even if someone uses their Apple ID email and password to enable iMessage or FaceTime on a new device, they’ll still need to use a PIN from an existing trusted device to gain access to those services. If you’ve previously enabled two-factor for iCloud, it’ll also be enabled to FaceTime and iMessage. The additional level of protection applied to these services helps ensure that people will have a harder time grabbing potentially private images from your iMessage history, or pretending to be you via online communication methods.