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 Alicea 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?

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