Story Time

nina-signal on 07 Nov 2022

Stories on Signal

If your favorite way to update your friends about life disappears in 24 hours, we’ve got some happy news for you.

Stories are now available on Signal for Android and iOS, with Desktop coming soon!

Give the people what they want

In the past years, stories have emerged as a new way to communicate, with their own unique purposes, norms, and idiosyncrasies. Ephemeral, low-stakes, and image-heavy, people use stories to share updates about their lives without the expectation of a response.

Sometimes you just need a chill way to show your crush that you went to a very cool concert, without having to text them. Stories let you share your life with a select group of people in a way that doesn’t result in a new message notification. They give you a place to tell the kinds of jokes that work better in a sequential image or video format, and to share what you’re doing without the pressure of a conversation.

Mystery Veggies Spotted Again

Stories have emerged to serve these specific functions and others in the broader communications landscape, and many of us have integrated them as one of the ways that we connect with one another. That’s why they have a natural place in any messaging app, including Signal.

Stories also happen to be one of the most common feature requests we receive from all over the world. People use them, people want them, so we’re providing a way to do stories privately. And without having to wade through a sea of ads.

Easy to opt out

We know that not everyone wants to share stories on Signal or even see other people’s stories. And that’s okay!

To opt out of stories, go to Settings –> Stories –> Turn off stories.

The choice to turn off stories is not broadcast to anyone; your story-sharing friends won’t know that you have opted out of seeing their updates.

The mechanics

You can share image, video, and text updates to your stories on Signal. Stories are available in the latest versions of Signal (v6.0) on both iOS and Android, which are rolling out now.

Stories will automatically expire 24 hours after you share them, but you can always manually delete them earlier. Sometimes in the cold light of day, you realize that whatever you thought was profound at 3 AM is, in fact… not.

Like everything we build in Signal (from group calling to contact discovery), stories are end-to-end encrypted. The only people who will be able to see your stories are the people you’ve selected–not Signal, not anyone else.

Choose your audience

It’s essential that you always know who has access to any information that you share with your Signal connections, whether in stories or elsewhere in Signal.

To choose who can see your stories, go to Settings –> Stories.

If you want to go broad, you can share your story with all of your Signal connections.

Here’s who’s in your Signal connections:

  • Everyone in your phone’s contact list who uses Signal
  • Anyone you’ve had a 1:1 conversation with in Signal (even if you haven’t added them as a contact)
  • Anyone whose message request you’ve accepted in Signal

You can choose to manually hide your stories from specific people.

To share stories with smaller subsets of people, you can create a custom story. For example, you might want to send a story to all of your coworkers, or to everyone you know who shares your Korean skincare obsession.

Signal Stories Creation Flow

Like read receipts for your chats, you also control whether you send view receipts for stories you look at and whether you see who’s viewed the stories you share. You can turn view receipts on or off in the Settings menu.

To keep things private, you’ll only receive stories from people who are in your Signal connections.

Tell the whole group

You can also send stories to existing group chats.

When you share a story with one of your pre-existing group chats, anyone in the group can see the story as well as other members’ comments and reactions to the story. You’ll be able to see updates that other members share to your group story whether or not you’ve interacted with them 1:1 outside of the group.

If you opt out of stories, you won’t see any group stories for groups that you’re a member of and the fellow group members won’t know that you’ve opted out.

Not so different after all

Stories might seem like a big shift for Signal, but in reality, they’re just another way for you to communicate with the people you’re already talking to. It’s not about building a following or amplifying content for engagement. Our focus is and has always been on facilitating private, intimate conversations between you and the people who matter to you.

Now get out there and send a story or two (if you like).