It shouldn’t be a surprise that SMS isn’t exactly a secure communication protocol. That’s one of the many reasons that there is such an array of communication apps; Telegram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Slack, Discord and Signal to name a few.
All of the above have advantages over SMS, however, Signal is widely recognised as the most secure. It’s with this in mind, that the company has outlined its reasons for dropping SMS:
In the interest of privacy, security, and clarity we’re beginning to phase out SMS support from the Android app. You’ll have several months to export your messages and either find a new app for SMS or tell your friends to download Signal. https://t.co/u9XZ7XM7rT
— Signal (@signalapp) October 12, 2022
The most important reason for us to remove SMS support from Android is that plaintext SMS messages are inherently insecure. They leak sensitive metadata and place your data in the hands of telecommunications companies. With privacy and security at the heart of what we do, letting a deeply insecure messaging protocol have a place in the Signal interface is inconsistent with our values and with what people expect when they open Signal.
For many users, this won’t be an issue as they’re using a separate SMS app. Whether it’s the default on their phone or a third-party offering they’ve chosen. If you are using Signal, it’s a quick change to make through Settings –> Apps –> Default apps and ensure that something like Google Messages is now your default.
While it will undoubtedly upset some users, there is sound reason behind the change and the company has closed by firming its position around a security focus:
We are focused on building secure, intuitive, reliable, and pleasant ways to connect with each other without surveillance, tracking, or targeting. Dropping support for SMS messaging also frees up our capacity to build new features (yes, like usernames) that will ensure Signal is fresh and relevant into the future.
What’s your go-to SMS app on Android?