With the recent Facebook privacy issues induced by WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram are enjoying their time in the spotlight. Signal’s privacy is especially appealing to many users who have decided to leave WhatsApp, as the application has experienced unprecedented growth and is ranked #1 in applications worldwide. But many of these new users quickly noticed Signal’s limited capabilities, forcing the application’s developers to plug some holes to keep everyone online. Last week, several new features were promised and they are now available in the latest beta version of the application.

Custom Wallpapers

The chats section of the Signal app used to change their background color according to the theme of the application: plain white for a light theme, plain black for a dark theme. The new beta has added support for custom backgrounds, which can be set for each chat, just like on WhatsApp.

You can find the option under Settings > Appearance > Chat Wallpaper, but you can also do this for each individual conversation by tapping on the person’s name in the top bar and searching for the chat wallpaper there.

There are several predefined background images, including 12 solid and 9 gradient colors. You can also select a local photo from your phone’s storage as well. In the preview,y you can see how the background image in the chat will look like.

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Once you select a background image, it is applied to all chat conversations screen or to a specific chat. If you enable this setting, it will also dim slightly when the phone goes into dark mode.

 

Animated Stickers

Signal doesn’t offer many stickers by default, but there’s a new one called Day by Day, which is animated. It’s set by default so you don’t have to search for it, and includes 24 animated stickers with common emojis or actions (rain, wake up, kiss, listen to music, thumbs up, and more).

 

Text Status / About

Signal is also adding a simple About section for user profiles, a feature that has been available on WhatsApp and Telegram (and many other messengers) for years. You can select a smiling face and enter a short description about yourself, which your contacts will see when they open your profile.

These features are available in version 5.3.1 of Signal Beta, which is slowly rolling out via Play Store. You can get it by joining the official beta version of the application and waiting for it to arrive on your device, or you can speed up the process and get it manually from APK Mirror.