Those on Linux that value their privacy need only use one instant messaging tool: the Signal privacy messenger. Why? It’s a secure, encrypted instant messenger app that focuses heavily on your privacy and safety.

Signal has many features. Notable ones include support for images, groups, videos, and even voice calls!

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Signal is a security-focused message app, and it takes user privacy very seriously. Many prominent privacy advocates, journalists, and anti-censorship activists speak highly of it. With that said, the app isn’t impervious to spying and snooping. For this reason, you may want to set up a VPN to use alongside it, to further protect your privacy.

ExpressVPN takes the top spot as the best VPN reviewed by our security experts. It works well on Linux and has an excellent client for download. Better still, they offer fast download speeds with 256-bit AES encryption and perfect forward secrecy across 94 different countries. Also, they have an exclusive offer for AddictiveTips readers: 3 months free on the annual plan, a 49% discount.

Ubuntu installation

Ubuntu users will not have issues installing Signal, as Debian and distributions that use it as a base are the only ones that have official support. To install it, open up your terminal and follow the instructions step-by-step.

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Note: if you use Linux Mint, Elementary OS or other Linux distributions that use Ubuntu as a base, follow these instructions too.

Signal for Linux requires a special, third-party software source. Having an outside software source enables Ubuntu users to get the latest Signal software updates!

Step 1: Use curl to grab the repository key and install it to Ubuntu.

curl -s https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt/keys.asc | sudo apt-key add -

Step 2: Add the third party software source to Ubuntu by using the echo command.

echo "deb [arch=amd64] https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt xenial main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/signal-xenial.list

Step 3: Using the apt update command, refresh Ubuntu’s package repositories and allow the third-party repo to set itself up.

sudo apt update

Step 4: Install any pending software updates to your Linux PC with the upgrade command.

sudo apt upgrade -y

Step 5: Install Signal to your Ubuntu PC with apt.

sudo apt install signal-desktop -y

Debian installation

Signal’s primary support for the Linux desktop involves Debian. As a result, users of Debian (as well as users of Debian derivatives) will have no issue getting it working. To install it, launch a terminal window and follow the steps below.

Step 1: Grab the repository key and set it up in Debian. Make sure you do not skip this step! Without this key, Signal will not install correctly!

curl -s https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt/keys.asc | sudo apt-key add -

Step 2: Add the third-party software source to your Debian desktop’s Apt sources.

echo "deb [arch=amd64] https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt xenial main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/signal-xenial.list

Step 3: Update Debian’s software sources, to allow Signal’s third-party software source to set itself up on your PC.

sudo apt-get update

Step 4: Install any pending software updates on Debian with the upgrade command.

sudo apt-get install upgrade -y

Step 5: Finish up the process by installing Signal to your Debian Linux PC.

sudo apt-get install signal-desktop -y

Arch Linux installation

Do you use Arch Linux and need access to Signal? If so, you’ll need to install it from the Arch User Repository, as the client doesn’t officially support Arch Linux. To interact with the AUR, installing the Git and Base-devel packages are required. Launch a terminal and use it to install these packages using the Pacman package tool.

sudo pacman -S git base-devel -y

Now that you’ve got the required packages working on Arch Linux, it’s safe to start the Signal installation. In the terminal, use the git clone command and grab the latest snapshot of Signal for Linux.

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/signal-desktop-bin.git

After downloading the source code, move from your home directory to the newly downloaded code folder.

cd signal-desktop-bin

Run the makepkg command and generate an installable package.

Note: Keep in mind that when you try to build a new package, it may fail to compile, if dependencies are not correctly set up. Find the dependencies for Signal on Linux here.

makepkg -si

Fedora installation

Fedora Linux doesn’t have official support for the desktop version of Signal. However, users can install and use it just fine thanks to a third-party Copr repository. To get it working, open up a terminal window and enter the commands listed below.

Worried about your security on Fedora? Don’t worry! It’s not a random, unsecured RPM file on a remote server. This version of Signal is safe, as it generates an installable RPM via a Spec file on the fly. Users can easily read the spec recipe and learn all about what the files contain.

To install, enable the Copr repo.

sudo dnf copr enable luminoso/Signal-Desktop

Then, install Signal using the DNF package manager.

sudo dnf install signal-desktop

OpenSUSE installation

OpenSUSE doesn’t currently have a way to install and use the Signal Desktop app via an RPM package, as the Copr RPM generation tool only works for Fedora. If you’re an OpenSUSE user in need of the Signal Desktop app, your best bet is to skip to the Flatpak instructions.

Generic Linux installation via Flatpak

Signal doesn’t advertise it, but it’s possible to install the client via the Flatpak universal packaging system. This method of installation is perfect for OpenSUSE and other Linux distributions with no official support.

To install Signal via Flatpak, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Follow our guide and learn how to set up and install the Flatpak universal packaging system on your Linux PC.

Step 2: Launch a terminal window and use Flatpak to enable the Flathub software repository.

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

Step 3: Install Signal with the following command.

flatpak install flathub org.signal.Signal

Step 4: Startup Signal for the first time with the launch command.

flatpak run org.signal.Signal