RedPhone and TextSecure was migrated to Signal, but I'm a little bit worried about all the permissions Signal app requires. Why does signal require ex. location and calendar? I have tried to search for it, but cannot find any information about it.

Signal Private Messager required permissions:

Device & app history // Identity // Calendar // Contacts // Location // SMS // Phone // Photos/Media/Files // Storage // Camera // Microphone // Wi-Fi connection information // Device ID & call information // In addition to «Other» permissions.

Can anyone explain to me why this app needs so much permission?

  • As @CodeMonkey suggests, the location permission is used to determine your location when sending messages. (Which, to my mind, is quite crazy and one of the reasons I don't use the app. There are plenty alternatives out there, especially ones that can be used w/o providing a phone #.) Feb 25 '19 at 17:27
  • Signal is a modern Android app which uses the dynamic permission system that is available since Android 6. Therefore you can disable all permissions you don't want Signal to use (like location) in the Android settings.
    – Robert
    Feb 25 '19 at 18:43

There are certain APIs that they need to utilize in part of the code, which requires the permission to be granted. It may not be necessary for that API to be used, which is why apps still function if they lack permissions. They use alternative means or do not do anything because of that.

Identity, Contacts, SMS, Phone, Photo/Media/Files, Storage, Camera, Microphone, Wi-Fi. All of these are pretty much essential for running the basics of SMS messaging with few exceptions. Contacts helps for sender/receiver identity. P/M/F, Storage, Camera, Microphone are used for sending media, files, or taking media to send. SMS and Phone for the actual transmission of SMS. Wi-Fi is probably used to help identify if the phone is Wi-Fi connected or not for transmitting messages.

Calendar: This is probably used to help with setting calendar events when messages containing date information are received.

Location: As far as I know, messages are sent with location data unless not given the permission to access that information.

As for some of the other permissions, they appear to be things that help with how they send data across. The rest seem to be tidbits that help you do things faster or provide an alternative way to do something, like set wallpaper.

If you have a more specific permission you are worried about, I will do my best to add information about what it might be doing with it.

  • If I unterstand the source code correctly locations can be sent as attachment. But that is a user choice and does not happen automatically. If someone thinks I am wrong please point me to the corresponding source code section: github.com/signalapp/Signal-Android
    – Robert
    Feb 25 '19 at 18:48

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