Signal secure messaging app launches encrypted group video calls

But it's only limited to five participants at the moment.


The work-and-study-from-home arrangements prompted by the coronavirus pandemic led to the rise of apps with group video calling capability this year. Now, Signal is joining the fray and offering a secure way to video chat with friends, colleagues or classmates. Signal has launched the new feature with the latest version of its apps, and as you’d expect, video calls on the service are end-to-end encrypted.

While most people probably already have a video conferencing app of choice at this point in time, Signal fans might appreciate being able to rely on the app for their group calls, as well. Other video meeting apps like Zoom have had security issues over the past few months. If you’ll recall, one of the concerns users raised about it was that it had no end-to-end encryption — more precisely, it claimed that it’s had the feature since 2016 when the truth is that it only just started rolling it out to video meetings this year.

Those who who want to use the feature will have to make sure they’re running the latest version of the app. Signal will automatically update legacy groups to the new groups interface, which shows a video call button at the top of the chat, in the coming weeks. Group calls will display the participants in a grid view, but users can easily swipe up to switch to a view that focuses the screen on the person who’s currently speaking.

The bad news is that Signal’s group video calling feature won’t work for big classes or meetings, since it’s currently limited to five participants only. The app’s developer says it’s working to expand the number of people that can join video calls, though, with the promise of making that happen “soon.”