Signal messages, pictures, files, and other contents are stored locally on your device.
Use a backup to move your local Signal data between Android devices.
How do I enable a backup?
- Open Signal.
- Tap the menu.
- Select Settings.
- Select Chats and media.
- Tap Chat backups.
- Copy the 30-digit passphrase from left to right, top to bottom. You will need this passphrase in order to restore a backup. Keep it in a safe place.
- Confirm that you have written down the passphrase.
- Select Enable backups.
- You can verify whether or not your backup completed successfully by checking the time of the last backup.
What if my last backup says "Never"?
- Make sure you have enabled the necessary permissions for Signal.
Go to Android Phone Settings > Apps or Apps & Notifications > Signal > App Permissions or Permissions > Enable all permissions.
- Make sure you have enough free space on your phone.
- Temporarily dismount or disable your external SD card so the backup can be saved to your internal memory.
How do I restore from a backup?
You will only be able to restore your chat history on a new install of Signal. Signal will automatically detect your messages and media from a local backup and ask you to input the 30-digit passphrase prior to registration.
What if I forget my 30-digit passphrase and need to restore messages on a new phone?
You will be unable to restore a backup without the passphrase. If you have access to the old phone where local backups were first enabled, and your message history is still displayed in Signal, you can create a new backup with a new passphrase. First, disable chat backups to delete all previous backups on your phone, and then follow the steps above to enable the feature again.
How do I move messages to my new phone?
- Enable the backup feature on your old phone and ensure that at least one backup has completed successfully.
- Find the 'Backups' folder within `/Internal Storage/Signal` or `sdcard/Signal` on your old phone.
- Locate the most recent backup. It will be labeled as 'signal-year-month-date-time.backup' and the timestamp in the filename will indicate when the file was created on your device.
- Transfer the 'Signal' folder from your old phone to your new phone. This process varies by phone and OS.
- This can be enabled on recent versions of Android through the USB settings tab in Android Settings > Storage.
- Select Continue
- Select Allow for contacts, media, and calling permissions.
- Go to Android Phone Settings > Apps or Apps & Notifications > Signal > App Permissions or Permissions > Enable all permissions.
- Open Signal and accept the selective permissions.
An iTunes or iCloud backup does not contain any of your message history. Messages are only stored on your devices. New messages, not conversation history, will be displayed after installing Signal on a new iPhone or reinstalling the app on your iPhone.