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How to use the Signal chat app on a Chromebook

Singal is a privacy-centric chat application for Linux, Mac OS, Windows, and mobile devices. With it, users can expect encrypted chat messages and many other privacy-respecting features. Here’s how you can use the Signal chat app on your Chromebook.

How to enable Linux support on your Chromebook

Signal does work on Chromebooks. However, you first need to enable Linux support on your device. Enabling Linux support on Chrome OS is easy. To start, click on the clock in the Chrome OS taskbar.

After selecting the clock, locate the “Gear” icon and click on it with the mouse. Once you’ve selected the “Gear” icon, scroll down and click on the “Advanced” button. Then, find the “Developers” section, and click on it.

Inside the “Developers” section, find the “Linux development environment” area, and click the button to install the Linux environment. When you select the button, a pop-up window will appear and tell you that Linux is being set up. This process could take some time, so be patient.

When the process is complete, Chrome OS will open up a new terminal window. In this terminal window, type in apt update to check for updates in the Chrome OS Linux container.

sudo apt update

After checking for updates in the Chrome OS Linux container, you’ll be able to install all pending software updates in the Chrome OS Linux container using the apt upgrade command.

sudo apt upgrade

How to install Signal on Chrome OS – Flatpak

Signal is available for Chrome OS users via Flathub as a Flatpak package. However, before you can install this software, you must enable the Flatpak runtime on your Chromebook.

To start, open up a terminal window on your Chromebook by launching the “Terminal” app from the app menu. Once it is open, search for “penguin” and click on it with the mouse to launch the container terminal interface.

Inside the terminal, install the “flatpak” package on your Chromebook. This package handles the Flatpak runtime, and without it, Flatpak apps will not run on Chrome OS.

sudo apt install flatpak

With the Flatpak package installed, it is time to enable the Flathub app store. This app store makes it possible to install programs like Signal. To enable Flathub, enter the command below.

flatpak --user remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

With the Flathub repo enabled, you can quickly install the Signal application on your Chromebook using the following command in the terminal window.

flatpak install flathub org.signal.Signal

How to install Signal on Chrome OS – Debian package

If you’d prefer to install Signal on your Chromebook as a native Debian package, you can. To start, open up a terminal window. You can launch a terminal window by searching for “Terminal” in the app menu.

Once the “Terminal” is open, search for “penguin,” and click on it to access the Chrome OS Linux command line. Then, use the four commands below to install Signal.

wget -O- https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt/keys.asc | gpg --dearmor > signal-desktop-keyring.gpg

cat signal-desktop-keyring.gpg | sudo tee -a /usr/share/keyrings/signal-desktop-keyring.gpg > /dev/null
echo ‘deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/signal-desktop-keyring.gpg] https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt xenial main’ |\

sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/signal-xenial.list
sudo apt update && sudo apt install signal-desktop

How to setup Signal on Chrome OS

To use the Signal app on your Chromebook, start by opening up the Signal desktop app via the app menu. Once it is open, open Signal on your Android or iPhone. Then, inside Signal, access the “Settings” area.

Inside the “Settings” area, find “Linked devices,” and tap on it. Then, tap on the “+” sign to access the add new device area. Once in the add new device area, a QR code reader will appear. Use the QR code reader to scan the QR code in the Signal app on your Chromebook.

When you scan the code, you will see a pop-up in your Signal app. In this pop-up, you will be asked if you wish to “link this device?” Select the “Link device” button to confirm you wish to link your mobile Signal app to the app running on your Chromebook in Chrome OS.

After confirming you wish to link the Signal app running on your Chromebook to your iPhone or Android mobile app, Signal will ask you to “Choose this device’s name.” By default, the device is named “penguin,” as that is the Chrome OS Linux container’s hostname.

Change your device’s name from “penguin,” to whatever you wish. Or leave “penguin” as the name. Then, click the “Finish linking phone” button. Upon selecting the “Finish linking phone” button, your Signal conversations will load up.

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