Can Signal become a more privacy friendly alternative to WhatsApp for blind users?

iOS & iPadOS


Since Facebook is linking WhatsApp more and more into Facebook (the next step in the strategy of the company to link all your data). I am looking to a more privacy minded chat app. In the past I installed Signal and was happy about the accessibility. Today Elon Musk also advise to use this app like Edward Snowden also did in the past.

Maybe it is time to help the Signal devellopers to make the iphone app more accessible and give tips for features to expand the functionality for blind users.

I already post a message on the community forum of Signal:…

I hope more people will give feedback to the devellopers.... It can only help us to switch to a good, privacy friendly, not Apple only, alternative for all the Facebook applications that don't give a damn about your and mine privacy.




Submitted by WellF on Monday, January 11, 2021

the app is already accessible, way more than telegram. It's also recommended by real nice people like activists and such.

Submitted by Malthe on Monday, January 11, 2021

I love signal! I've been using it during the past couple of years. The devs are very receptive to accessibility feedback, and you can also get on the beta track and provide accessibility feedback that way.


Submitted by Falco on Monday, January 11, 2021


For me it is not possible to lock a recording of a voice clip: when I swipe up with one finger the recording is locked but VO does not work any more..... that makes it impossible to find the send button.


Submitted by Dave Nason on Monday, January 11, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hi and thanks for bringing this topic up.
I’ve been a long time fan of WhatsApp, it’s a fantastic app with excellent accessibility, but like you say, the facebook factor is definitely a concern. As a result, I downloaded Signal yesterday.
From my initial use of Signal, I find it is usable, but definitely needs work for VoiceOver users.
I sometimes have problems when I try to explore the message thread by touch, having to swipe. This combined with it sometimes losing focus from where I want to be caused me problems.
Yesterday it did not tell me which messages in the thread were sent by me, and which were sent by the other person. This seems to be fixed in today’s update though, which is good to see.
I don’t like how the time stamp is a separate item to the message itself.
It is not telling me when a message I’ve sent has been delivered or read. I’m told that there is a visual representation of this.
On the main screen, the VoiceOver actions menu in the rotor is a bit of a mess, with some items appearing multiple times.
There is no actions menu on individual messages. There is a context menu if you double-tap and hold, but it can be a tricky menu to explore.
I haven’t had the opportunity to play with in-line replies to specific messages yet, but am curious to see how it’s done. This works great in WhatsApp thanks to the implementation of the actions menu in the rotor.
Question: Does it save photos and videos to your Photos app? I really like this feature on WhatsApp, and the option to switch it on or off for each thread or group. I don’t see a setting in Signal, but equally I haven’t received any pictures yet.
What is the best way to feed back to them? It’ll be interesting to see if it takes off. People are so invested in WhatsApp now that it may be difficult to get them to move.


I just contacted Signal using this link:

This was my message:

I am using Signal on my iphone. I am a visually impaired person and use voice-over (build in screenreader of iOS). I like the app but I have some suggestions to make the app more accessible:

- When someone sends a voice message it is not easy to see the difference between the time when a message is send and the length of the message. The result is that I am sometimes clicking on the time information instead of the length of the message to start plaing it. It would be better to label the length of the message like: “voice message of 1 minute and 30 seconds” or something like that.
- When someone sends two or more voice messages Signal only plays the first and I always have to click on the next message to start playing it. It would be better that Signal plays all messages at once.
- It is not possible to lock the recording when making a voice message. On other platforms you can click on the “record” button and swipe your finger up to lock the recording and you don’t have to keep your finger on the screen all the time.
this are some suggestions that can make the app better than it already is!



The reason why I started this topic is because I believe when we send feedback as much as possible they will see it as an opportunity to make the App more accessible....

The things the last poster said are good points to sennd to them using the link.


Submitted by Khushi on Tuesday, January 12, 2021

In reply to by Dave Nason

I'm also a big fan of whatsappbut I do not like that they're linking it to facebook so deeply. but I'll be using it till signal becomes accessible and more and more people start to use it.

Submitted by Pepper Fox on Tuesday, January 12, 2021

It seems nice so far. Given I only used Whatsapp with a handful of people, I deleted my account as soon as I heard the news. Unfortunately, my efforts to switch my friends and an entire fandom over to Signal have been unsuccessful. Well, at least I'm not using any Facebook apps anymore.

Submitted by LaBoheme on Thursday, January 14, 2021

In reply to by Dave Nason

quote: It is not telling me when a message I’ve sent has been delivered or read. I’m told that there is a visual representation of this., unquote

the other party may have turn read receipt off. there is also a typing indicator, many turn this off as well.

as for whether it will take off, i seriously doubt it. people say they care about their privacy, the truth is they really don't, judging by their actions. there are 124 people in my contacts, only five including myself have signal installed.

Submitted by Falco on Thursday, January 14, 2021

In reply to by LaBoheme

Nearly 15 years ago a guy started a social network site called Facebook... Now there are billions of users on the world that give a lot of information to that company... Data is the new oil and I hope that 2021 will be the year that political leaders understand that the power of the big five: Apple, amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft is not good for privacy..... I am happy that I live in Europe where the E.U. tries to protect the people for the power of this companies.

But we can also do things to say to this companies: "This is not OK" They make a lot of money with our data, they brainwash us with their "bubbles".... And they do this things to just make more and more money!

Submitted by JC on Friday, January 15, 2021

Signal is awesome and accessible. I just installed it as of yesterday, and they just released an update as well. way better than telegram, and simpler to set-up. Voice messaging is more clear on signal. it even vibrates to inform you that it's recording, then vibrates again when released.

- open the conversation
- dubble tap and hold on a message
- select the button “select more messages”
- choose “delete all”

I give them the suggestion to use the “action menu” in the rotlr for such things.

Submitted by Dave Nason on Saturday, January 16, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

In reply to by LaBoheme

Thanks, but yes I know this is an option in settings. I have it switched on, and the person I was messaging said they do too, but I’m still not hearing it with VoiceOver.
Can anyone confirm if they are getting delivery and read status when using VoiceOver?

Submitted by Falco on Tuesday, January 26, 2021


I just received a response from the Signal team. I will post it here and I hope other voice-Over users will post their feedback on the new forum category:


Hi Daan,

We apologize for the difficulties with VoiceOver and thank you for bringing it to our attention. The community forum posts are great. I have passed along the feedback you shared with our Designers. I'm sure we'll have some questions along the way as we make these improvements.

There's a new category on the community forum specifically for you to list out issues and we want you to post there first. Here is the link:

We want you to post there because we want to hear feedback from others and we want the accountability to improve this experience for you. We've had phone calls with VoiceOver users in the past and want to make Signal operable and robust for all users including deaf and motor impairment.


Submitted by Florian Ionașcu on Tuesday, January 26, 2021

I also have downloaded Signal and I am more than happy about the accessibility. I see that the devs often release updates, that's cool! The call quality is great!

Submitted by Ornella on Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Is there a way to unlock the recording? Like when you slide up to lock and when finished with the message I don't find a send button. For the mean time I just hold down the button and record and release when I'm done.

Submitted by Matthew on Tuesday, February 2, 2021

While the iOS app is quite usable, the story is much less bright regarding the macOS app unfortunately. Let's come together as a community and help them in their accessibility journey as the developers seem quite receptive and welcoming of the feedback.

Submitted by Mister Kayne on Wednesday, February 3, 2021

The application is accessible and the first impressions were very good. However, it lacks a feature that What app. offers; which is being able to create a BroadCast list which is missing in the signal app. I find this feature very handy when I want to send a message to a particular group of people without maintaining a group for them. Besides, many don't like the idea of group chats unless there is one common goal to the group. If I have a message which I feel that needs to be shared with a set of contacts only, then I create a BroadCast list and send it to them; this way all of them get the message from me and when replying they are DM