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?
- Tap on the profile icon to access Signal settings: >Chats and media > 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 a backup has 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:
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 unmount 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.
- Disable chat backups to delete all previous backups on your phone
- Follow the steps above to enable the feature again and create a new backup with a new passphrase.
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.
- Locate the most-recent backup on your old phone:
- Navigate to
/sdcard/Signal/Backupson your old phone.
- Backup filenames follow a simple format (
signal-year-month-date-time.backup) where the date and time in the filename indicate when the backup was created.
- Some devices may need to power down and restart to see the file.
Signalfolder 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.
- Navigate to
/sdcard/Signal/Backupson your new phone.
- Make sure the backup file that you transferred is visible. As a reminder, backup filenames follow this format:
- Allow the contacts, media, and calling permissions when they are requested. The media permission is required in order to locate backup files on your device storage.
- If you are using an older version of Android, you may need to enable permissions here:
- Android Phone Settings > Apps or Apps & Notifications > Signal > App Permissions or Permissions > Enable all permissions.
An iTunes or iCloud backup does not contain any of your message history. Messages are only stored locally and cannot currently be transferred between devices. New messages will be displayed after installing or reinstalling Signal, but previous conversations will not be available.
Manually transferring folders is not supported and may result in errors. Signal uses a stateful protocol, meaning that you cannot simply copy files to another instance of Signal or copy files after linking and using Signal.
To resolve Bad Mac, Error handling incoming message, or Message received was out of sync errors, follow these steps: