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Home / Tips and Tricks / Set custom chat backgrounds in signal for all conversations and some discussions «Smartphones :: Gadget Hacks

Set custom chat backgrounds in signal for all conversations and some discussions «Smartphones :: Gadget Hacks



Popular chat apps like Facebook Messenger and (sadly nowadays) WhatsApp may not do it when it comes to privacy and security, but they certainly provide some nice ways to customize your chats. If you’re concerned that moving to Signal Private Messenger means losing these features, don’t be – the privacy-focused app also lets you choose custom chat backgrounds for all your discussions.

Signal introduced custom chat backgrounds in versions 5.3.1 for iOS and 5.3.7 for Android that also included other features such as a status update-like “About” section in your profile and animated stickers. These are features you̵

7;d expect on a more mainstream, less secure platform, and reflect Signal’s renewed popularity following poor privacy PR from apps like WhatsApp.

Set the system chat background

On Android, tap the vertical ellipse in the top right corner of the chat list, then tap Settings. On iOS, tap your initials in the top left. On both systems, tap ‘Appearance’, then ‘Set Wallpaper’. From here you can either tap ‘Choose from Photos’ to choose an image from your phone’s photo library, or choose from one of Signal’s presets.

Once you tap on your choice, you will see the background in a preview window. When you choose your own photo, you have the option of pinching and dragging to fit the photo, and whether or not to blur the photo in the background. To change the wallpaper, tap the back arrow (Android) or “Cancel” (iOS). When you’re happy with your choice, tap Set Wallpaper (Android) or Set (iOS).

There are a number of settings on this page that you may also find useful. If you leave ‘Dark theme dim background’ enabled, your background will be dimmed when your phone uses a dark theme. You can turn it off to keep the original color regardless of your system theme. You can also tap “Clear Background” and then tap “Clear” (Android) or “Clear Background” (iOS) to restore the default chat background.

Background dim (left) vs. not dimmed (right).

“Reset all wallpapers”, followed by “RESET” (Android) or “Reset all wallpapers” (iOS), goes one step further and resets chat-specific wallpapers and the system default. So while we’re on the subject …

Set a chat-specific default wallpaper

In addition to setting the default wallpaper for all new chats, you can also set chat-specific backgrounds for your discussions. These background choices will not affect your other chats, and changing the system default will not affect the custom chat settings.

To do this, go to the relevant chat and then tap the chat name. On Android, you can also tap the vertical ellipse in the top right corner and then tap ‘Call Settings’. Then tap “Chat Background” on both systems and follow the same steps as above to choose the background for this particular chat.

As with the system default, you can select “Clear background” at any time to reset the chat background to whatever the system setting is.

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Cover image, screenshots and GIFs by Jake Peterson / Gadget Hacks

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