WhatsApp has long been the primary messaging platform or application for most of the world. With billions of users worldwide, WhatsApp has been one of the most commonly used applications among smartphone users since the last decade. Even before it was acquired by social media giant Facebook, the app had a global userbase. This was thanks to an intuitively designed interface, as well as a consistent user experience both over residential internet networks like Charter cable as well as mobile data plans.
When WhatsApp (after Facebook acquired it) introduced end-to-end encryption, it attracted even more users. Digital privacy is a huge motivator with more savvy online users, and WhatsApp promised complete encryption over texts, voice notes, images, videos, and even video/voice calls. But with the recent move to gather data from WhatsApp conversations, the app has opened up room in the same niche it dominated for many years.
Privacy-first messaging apps like Signal have seen an increase of over 4000% in their userbase since WhatsApp first announced the decision.
But how does Signal compare to WhatsApp from a user perspective?
Lets compare Signal VS Whatsapp Features
Comparing Signal to WhatsApp
On the surface, both Signal and WhatsApp are fairly similar apps. Both use end-to-end encryption, preventing unauthorized third parties from monitoring, tracking, or eavesdropping on you.
Both apps are free to use and need the internet (whether Wi-Fi or mobile internet data) to allow users to send messages, visuals, and even make calls.
Both make it very easy to communicate instantly, even with people located in different parts of the world. But that is as far as the similarity goes. Both apps are actually quite distinct from each other in many ways, such as the ones below:
Different App Models and Approaches
WhatsApp, and its parent company Facebook, are some of the earliest pioneers that made smartphone applications mainstream. Therefore, they have had years to test and refine their user interface before developing the best possible one.
They constantly keep updating their application too, meaning they’re always improving on what they already have. This means they have a huge advantage over many new applications like Signal which is only just entering the market.
At the same time, Facebook and WhatsApp are for-profit companies, and a key source of revenue comes from advertisers. Of course, this is only possible by offering user data for advertisers to efficiently target relevant audiences.
Signal, however, is a completely different app in terms of approach. For one thing, the application is owned by a non-profit organization.
This lends credence to its claim of being a user-first, privacy-focused app, which has earned it a huge following in a very short time. At the same time, it is fairly new to the industry. It lacks WhatsApp’s expertise, which is apparent in the clunkier and less user-friendly interface the application uses.
The Type of Data Collected
The biggest concern users have with WhatsApp today is privacy and confidentiality. Remember, however, that end-to-end encryption prevents even WhatsApp (or Facebook) from reading your texts and conversations. However, it still gathers user data that can include:
- The number linked to your WhatsApp account.
- Your IP address and device location data.
- The mobile network you use.
- The user time you log during a day.
- Cookies and payment data.
On the other hand, Signal does not collect data on you other than two very specific data points. It records the last date you downloaded Signal, and how long you have had the app installed on your device.
Signal also has an open-source policy, meaning its code is available for inspection by anyone with the technical skills to understand it. Many privacy activists and organizations have praised Signal’s dedication to privacy and the strength of the measures it has taken.
The Different User Interface
With over 2 billion active users, there is no denying WhatsApp has developed a successful and popular user interface. That also implies that the user interface is easy to navigate and understand almost intuitively.
It also allows the user several personalization and customizability options for a unique experience. Users will quickly abandon even the best of apps if the user interface, and the user experience by extension, are lacking. WhatsApp is available on iOS and Android and has a fairly simple method to sync your account to any new supported device.
Signal, Being a much newer entrant, lacks the years of experience and development that WhatsApp has put into its UI. As a result, it currently appears to be a far more basic and less sophisticated application than WhatsApp from the user interface.
Signal works well on iOS, Android, and even your desktop/laptop computer. However, the interface takes some getting used to because it isn’t immediately intuitive. It is also a lot less refined and a lot clunkier than the ease of use you may be used to on WhatsApp.
Signal VS Whatsapp – Of course, Its very hard to decide which one is better for you But you can compare features and use it.