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iOS Signal-like messaging app that won't alert contacts

Jonathan Greenberg
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Last Modified: 2019-10-30
I'm looking for an iOS texting app that offers end-to-end encryption but that doesn't display to other users that I'm using or have installed the app.

Signal appears to be a very well-designed app, but as soon as I download and launch it, I see the names of all other Signal users that are in my iOS contacts. Needless to say, they can also see that I use the app, and that's what I wish to avoid.

I'm looking for a secure iOS texting app — I don't need it for calls or anything else — that I and one other person can use without alerting any of our contacts to the fact that we're using the app.

Thanks for any suggestions!
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Consultant
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Commented:
Unfortunately that "feature" in Signal where you give it access to your iOS Contacts and then anyone who has Signal and your number on their contacts will see that you're using it is VERY COMMON in a lot of messaging apps.

You could try ones which don't require a phone number and therefore don't require access to the Contacts on iOS or Android
Threema - https://threema.ch/en/
Wickr - https://wickr.com/products/personal/
Jackie Man IT Manager
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Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
Agreed.

I have just installed Signal app in my iPhone and Android phone and during the setup, I reply No when the app asks me whether I allow the app to see my Contacts.

Try to uninstall and reinstall the app and reply No when the app asks you for the above question.

The downside of not giving the permission of your contacts to the app is you need to manually type the tel number of the receipt when you want to send a message via the Signal app.

Author

Commented:
Thank you both!

Eoin, it looks likely that Threema will do the trick. The only thing I'm looking for that it doesn't seem to offer is a way to make messages automatically delete at some point after sending. But it DOES offer end-to-end encryption as well as the anonymity I'm looking for, in that it enables you to not link your phone number to your Threema account, thus disabling other users from seeing you as a Threema contact.

Jackie, I thought choosing to not link my contacts in Signal would achieve this, but all it does is deprive me of access to my contacts from within Signal. Regardless of this setting, there's no way to hide yourself as a Signal contact to others that have your phone number in their iOS contacts. Threema gets around this by assigning a unique ID to your device. If two users exchange their Threema-assigned device IDs, they can contact each other, and no other Threema users will be aware that you're a user. This achieves my top priority.

Regards,
Jonathan

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