Signal has announced a new feature that allows iPhone users to transfer account data to a new iPhone or an iPad. The account data includes conversation history. Signal had introduced the feature last week with the 3.9.1 update, however, the company announced it today.
This is the first time that upgrading to a new device without losing any information has been possible on iOS.
The Signal app is using a QR code to authenticate data transfer. The QR code generated by a new device needs to be scanned on the older device. Account data is then transferred via a WiFi connection or Bluetooth. The best part, data will not be transferred via a third-party cloud. Also, the time taken for data transfer is less since the transfer is done locally.
Transferring account data from an old phone to a new one is always a hassle. Especially privacy focussed messaging apps like Signal doesn’t want to run the risk of decryption. WhatsApp lets you backup chat history to Google Drive or iCloud. However, WhatsApp warns that backups are not end-to-end encrypted. Apple’s solves this issue for iMessage backups with the help of end-to-end encryption, provided you use iCloud servers to backup.
Signal’s account data transfer mechanism seems is protected since the connection between both devices is end-to-end encrypted. Also, Signal employs multiple mechanisms to authenticate data transfer at both ends. In other words, the account data transfer feature will clone the Signal app on a new device.
It is worth noting that data on the old iPhone is deleted once it is transferred to a new one. So make sure you don’t delete account data before transferring to the new device. Unfortunately, the Signal app is yet to support data transfer between iOS/Android. Recently, Signal launched a new feature that allowed users to blur their photos to help U.S. protesters protect their identity.