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How much does it cost to build a signal messaging app in 2023?

Author image By Manish Patel  |  Tuesday, February 16, 2021 03:00 PM  |  5 min read  |   844

Messaging App

On 6th January, the announcement made by WhatsApp brought about a massive revolution across the tech world. The announcement which asked users to share their personal information with Facebook witnessed a massive number of mass uninstallation with people turning against its use. While on one hand, WhatsApp has to restore the damage to its stake by advertising how its updated policy does not compromise users’ data. On the other hand, Elon Musk’s two words tweet “Use Signal” changed the fate of WhatsApp. Its encrypted messaging app feature got people’s attention in no time – And it was all due to threats to WhatsApp user data privacy. 

The result of the tweet is two-fold – on one hand, the user base of the signal messenger app increased to a huge level with download climbing up by 4200%, and on contrary, how to create a hidden messaging app like signal became a new inspiration for startups and entrepreneurs that are looking to enter in such profitable domain.

This post aims to find an answer to one of the most burning questions asked by entrepreneurs – How much does it cost to build the most secure messaging app like a signal. But before we delve deeper, let’s find out how the signal app works and is it secure or not.

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What exactly is the Signal app and how does it work?

The signal messaging app is built based on the existing RedPhone and TextSecure application launched in March 2015. This application is free for users to use and received revenues just from donations and grants.

What makes the signal messenger app unique from other chat apps is that the signal source code is available on Github and the signal encryption app has been officially declared secure. It allows encrypted calls to be made across the world and the same goes for text messages. The messages are protected with end-to-end encryption which is not found in our normal SMS system.

Is signal- The secret messaging app for android users is secure?

The signal is one of the most secure messaging apps in 20223 where developers use end-to-end encryption to encrypt the messages that will be decrypted on the device of the intended recipient. The only way to read the message is to read it on the sender’s or the receiver’s device. 

The signal private messenger app relies heavily on the below cryptographic protocols:

  • AES-256
  • Double Ratchet algorithm, Curve25519
  • Extended Triple Diffie-Hellman (X3DH)
  • HMAC-SHA256

The voice and video calls done in the Signal app are protected using the same protocol.

What’s more?

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), there are multiple criteria to assess how secure a chat app is and they are:

  • Well-documented cryptographic design
  • Encrypted communication. No provider has the key to access the message.
  • Independent verification of correspondent identity.
  • Open-source code is available for independent review.
  • Independent security audit.

Unlike other applications, the Signal messenger application conforms to all the above standards as compared to the other competitor chat applications and assures security at the greatest level.

How does signal Encryption work?

The uncontested reputation of signal privacy backed by powerful users like Brian Action and Edward Snowden is something that is changing the user’s perception.

Here’s how the most secure messaging application of 2022 works:

If we consider majority encryption systems, when an app is installed on a phone, a permanent key pair is created which is used to encrypt and decrypt messages. One public key is sent to the messaging server and the private key is stored in the user’s device.

If the private key is compromised, the message can be easily hacked and misused.

The protocol that the signal uses is quite uncommon. It generated temporary key pairs for users along with the permanent keys. So, when a user sends a message over signal, the app merges the permanent and temporary pairs of private and public keys to create a shared secret key which is later used to encrypt and decrypt a message.

What are the must-have features to build a private messaging app like signal in 2023?

What are the must-have features to build a private messaging app like signal in

1. Real-time messaging

Real-time messaging is the core feature of an app that allows a user to interact in real-time from any corner of the world without any concurrent issues.

2. Sharing objects Feature

Signal messenger app for iOS and Android allow users to share multiple objects by giving them options of sharing contacts, media, documents, and location with a person privately or in a group.

3. Inviting friends and acquaintances

Inviting friends and acquaintances is one of the must-have features that your users would like to see in the first place when they open the signal app. Your app should have functionality that asks users to give access to their contact information to invite their friends and acquaintances seamlessly.

4. In-app calls and video calls

Calls have become a go-to feature of today’s messaging platforms that connects people globally from a single platform. While once limited to text messaging, today’s user installs applications that leverage in-app calls and video calls.

5. Message Disappearing

Don’t want anybody to poke into your personal life? Here comes the “Disappear Message” feature that lets you enable a timer of 5 seconds to 1 week for your seen message to disappear. Moreover, the app would not allow a user to take a snapshot. What else can be better in terms of security standards?

6. Private encryption to chats

Enabling this feature in your app will restrict the server to access any type of metadata including titles, membership lists, icons, and chats. 

Last but not least: How much does it cost to build a messaging app like signal?

The signal app development cost depends on multiple factors. Like every mobile app development cost estimation, it depends on four crucial factors including:

  • Mobile app design
  • Team Size
  • App features & functionalities
  • Location of the agency

When we talk about the signal app, if you replicate the same app, it would cost you way higher. Instead, we would suggest you build an MVP version with an encryption protocol. This way, you can test users’ expectations and do further improvements before launching a full-fledged application. Typically, the first version of your app should cost you around $70,000- $80,000 on a single platform. 

To Sum up,

While developing a brand-new secure chat application, privacy is a major concern. The Signal messenger app for iOS is not a one-of-a-kind app in the world. Instead, there are other major competitors like WhatsApp, Google Allo, and Telegram that would leave no stone unturned to defeat its rival.

So, despite replicating the app, make sure your app has unique tweaks and features to make your app a “limelight” in the oceans of “chatting applications”.

Do you want to create a solution that can surpass the signal messenger app?

If yes, contact Concetto Labs which has in-depth experience and expertise in building secure and scalable chat applications for years. Contact us now to get a free 30 minutes consultation on mobile app development.

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Manish Patel

Manish Patel is a Co-Founder of Concetto Labs, a leading mobile app development company specialized in android and iOS app development. We provide a one-stop solution for all IT related services.

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