22 March 2016

How to Run Open Whisper Systems' Signal Messenger App on Windows

One our favorite tools for secure messaging is Signal Secure Messenger app by Whisper Systems.  Signal is widely lauded for its end-to-end encrypted messaging, which is as easy to use as regular MMS/SMS texting.  Signal is available for iOS on the Apple AppStore and on Android through Google Play.

Open Whisper Systems is working on a Windows desktop app. It's in beta, but there is a long list to be invited to participate.  You can sign up for the beta here.

So while there is no released Signal app for Windows yet, we have discovered a way to install and use Signal on Windows. It involves an Android emulator and Google Voice. If you can't wait for the official Windows Signal app, here's you can get up and running today!

What you will need to install Signal on Windows 10

1. A Google or Gmail Account
2. A Google Voice phone number. Forward your Google voice number to Google Chat.
3. BlueStacks Android App Player

Once you have the above items, continue on.

Start the BlueStacks app player, and log into Google Play using your Gmail/Google account.

Install the Signal app and run it.

Signal will ask you to enter your phone number. Enter your Google Voice number.

Enter your Google Voice number into Signal

Signal will attempt to verify your phone number by sending a SMS code.  It will be unable to receive the SMS verification code of course, because you are running Signal from BlueStacks, and not a real phone.

Request that Signal call your Google Voice number with the verification code.

Request a voice call from Signal.

Signal will now dial your Google Voice number.  Google Voice will answer and record the verification code.  To retrieve this code, go to your Google messenger inbox.

The message will appear as a recording in your Inbox. Play the message to get the code.
Retrieve the Signal verification code from Google messenger.

Go back to Signal and enter the verification code. The installation of Signal will continue.

Signal app continues installation in BlueStacks after entering the verification code

You are now ready to start using Signal on Windows to send and receive secure messages!

Signal Messenger App Running in Windows 10
To start enjoying the privacy that comes with encrypted end-to-end messaging, invite your friends to install Signal. A million other people have done so.