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Signal vs iMessage: Is Signal better than iMessage in 2023?

Published: September 22, 2023 · 8 mins

Alekh Shah
Written By Alekh Shah
Signal vs iMessage

There are plenty of chat networks available in today’s digital world, regardless of whether you are an Android or iPhone user. Two of the most used chat networks are Signal and iMessage. While Signal is for Android as well as iOS users, iMessage is exclusively designed for Apple device users.

Signal vs iMessage: Detailed Comparison

Properties Signal iMessage
Ownership & Development Developed by Whisper Systems; Open-source Owned by Apple Inc.; Proprietary
Platform Availability Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux iOS, macOS, watchOS
End-to-End Encryption Messaging, voice/video calls, disappearing messages, ‘Note to Self End-to-end encrypted between Apple devices; SMS to non-Apple devices not encrypted
Data Collection Minimal metadata; Cannot access message content Collects more metadata than Signal; Cannot access message content
Features Pre-installed on all Apple devices Messaging, Animoji, Apple Pay, SMS/MMS integration, third-party app integrations
Backup Manual backup and restore Automatic backup to iCloud; Encrypted backup stored on Apple’s servers
User Base Growing but smaller than major messaging apps Pre-installed on all Apple devices
Interoperability Only with other Signal users Communicates with non-iMessage users via SMS/MMS; Loses encryption with non-Apple devices

Here, we have provided a detailed list of the pros and cons for both applications and bring to you all that you need to know about the Signal vs iMessage comparison so that you can judge their merits for yourself.


iMessage encrypted messaging app is a built-in app on an Apple device and is part of the default messaging software. iMessage only works for users sending messages from one Apple device to another, similar to how BBM works for messaging from one BlackBerry device to another. It is, however, capable of sending both iMessages as well as normal SMS’s.

If a message has been sent to an Android device from an Apple device through iMessage, the message will be sent as a normal text message, which will be green in color instead of the usual blue. The blue-colored bubbles and messages are iMessage online messages sent and received through your internet connection to and from Apple devices. If there is an issue with your internet connection, a message will be sent as a normal SMS, which will cost you the standard rates as per your carrier.

Pros of iMessage

The first advantage of this application is that it is built-in for Apple devices, so the user does not have to go through the hassle of searching for it in the App Store and then downloading it, and signing up. As with any Apple device, it is completely secure with end-to-end encryption.

iMessage, because of its superior and unparalleled protection, wins the case for Signal vs iMessage encryption comparison. You can just use your Apple ID and email or phone number to use iMessage, and you can see the phone number and email of all the people you contact.

The user interface of iMessage is very minimalistic and clear, typical of the signature style of Apple. The application also supports voice messages, which is of great convenience to users as their speech can be dictated and converted into written text.

If you send an SMS via iMessage, it features a green color, and you are charged with the usual SMS costs. However, if you use Wi-Fi or your data pack, there are no charges for using the instant messaging app between Apple device users. You can send unlimited messages that use a negligible amount of data, and in this case, they are colored blue.

The application is very efficient and well organized as it keeps you informed as to when a message has been sent when it has been read, and also when the other person is typing. iMessage is available for iOS devices with iOS 5 or later, like the iPhone, Mac, and iPad.

Cons of iMessage

iMessage is exclusive to Apple devices, which means it is not available for you if you are an Android user. It may be sleek and minimalistic, but it is not for you if you use anything other than an Apple device.


Signal encrypted messaging app is an open-source software application available for both Android and iOS users, and it is free of cost. Unlike iMessage, Signal never makes use of your normal SMS feature as it solely relies on your internet connection, without which you cannot communicate with anyone via Signal. The receiver and the sender both need to have a strong internet connection to establish a smooth communication line.

In the case of Signal vs iMessage comparison, there is no chance of SMS charges being levied as long as the app is used for instant messaging.

On the other hand, if you wish to send an SMS through Signal itself, it is possible if you are an Android user. It can be done by replacing your previous default text messaging application with Signal Android to send and receive unencrypted SMS or MMS. These SMS messages go through your data plan, and you will then incur the applicable charges.

Apple users cannot use this feature as Apple devices do not allow other apps to replace the default messaging app. Signal can be downloaded from the Google Play Store for an Android device with a version that is Android 4.4 or above.

Pros of Signal

Signal encrypted messaging app is an advanced application that features a high end-to-end encryption protocol, which makes every message sent on this application extremely safe and secure. Anyone has the option to audit the code and check the application’s security because it is free and open software. You can also choose the option of setting Signal as your default SMS text messenger, but these messages will be unencrypted.

Also, you can conveniently view the media sent in the media folder of the chat instead of having to scroll through the messages to when it was originally sent. Signal Desktop is a feature that works the same as WhatsApp Web. It is just an extension, and all messages that you send or receive on the phone via Signal will be mirrored.

In addition to the answer to the “Is Signal better than iMessage?” question, Signal comes with a “Note to Self” feature, where you can send yourself a message and sync your phone with your desktop.

Cons of Signal

Apart from your mobile device and a desktop, you cannot sign in to any more devices at the same time. Also, the application cannot function without being given access to your phone number and contact list. Signal is unreliable at times as there may be a delay in receiving messages and notifications of sent or read messages.

There is also a bug wherein some applications are unable to read unencrypted SMS messages of Signal as it affects functionality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Signal better than iMessage?

We are at the end of the Signal vs iMessage comparison, but it is still not black and white as to which application is better. Both have brilliant features, and there are flip sides to each application as well, so we leave it up to the users to choose one of these encrypted messaging apps based on which application matches their needs and preferences.

What are the key differences between Signal and iMessage?

The main differences are that Signal is cross-platform while iMessage only works on Apple devices, Signal offers end-to-end encryption by default while iMessage encryption is limited, and Signal is open source while iMessage is proprietary. Signal focuses more on privacy, while iMessage has more features for things like group chats and photos.

Which app is more secure and private?

Signal is considered more secure and private overall due to having end-to-end encryption enabled for all conversations. iMessage only enables E2E encryption for iCloud logged-out chats between Apple devices.

Can I use Signal on iOS and Android devices?

Yes, Signal has apps for both iOS and Android. This cross-platform support makes it easy to communicate across devices. iMessage is only available on Apple iOS and Mac devices.

Does iMessage work better than Signal for group chats?

Generally yes. iMessage has better support for larger group chats with features like naming groups, @mentioning others, pinned messages, media sharing, and more. Signal group chats are more basic.

Which app has better desktop support?

Signal offers a full desktop app for Windows and Mac, while iMessage is limited to the web-based iMessage for web and Mac app integration. Signal desktop access mirrors the mobile experience more closely.

Alekh Shah
Alekh Shah
With over a decade of experience in the digital marketing landscape, Alekh has driven exponential growth for global Fortune 500 brands. He has led dynamic, results-oriented teams to acquire customers across digital channels. He develops strategies that deliver tangible business results. His expertise spans digital marketing, branding, organic growth, partnerships, and campaign management. He stays ahead of emerging marketing trends and technologies.
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