In the light of wide-spread security threats and hacking, security becomes the vital thing to consider during mobile app development. Every day we hear instances where data breaching or account hacking has been done because of the development flaws. Therefore, it has become a priority these days to Develop Secure Encrypted Messaging Apps Like Signal. 

Built on the pre-existing RedPhone and TextSecure application models, Signal is the most secure encrypted messaging application in the market today. It was put to sea in March 2015 by Open Whisper Systems. The app runs on end-to-end encrypted messaging protocols named Curve25519, AES-256, and HMAC-SHA256. It protects the communication and ensures that no MITM (man-in-the-middle) hacking happens. Simultaneously, its source code is available at Github that is accessible by anyone for anytime security checks.

The article today will describe how to make an app like signal? Moreover, the user will get acquainted with the types of security standards utilized in encrypted apps, functioning, etc. To build an app like Signal, it is better to understand the application first. So, here is a detailed account of Signal and messaging apps like signal.   

What is a Signal App? What Does Security mean?

Before we take a deeper dive into the sea of security and encryption standards, let us learn the fundamental unit i.e. Signal Messaging App. It is a cross-platform app firstly, developed by Signal Technology Foundation and Signal Messenger LLC. It enables one-to-one and group messages which accompany files, voice notes, images, and videos. It also supports one-to-one and group voice and video calls. It is treated as the most secure and encrypted app that every mobile app developer keeps this module as the base.   

signal app

But, what security is? This is well explained by the Electronics Frontier Foundation (EFF) based on 7 grounding parameters: 

  • Communication encrypted in transit
  • Key communication encryption will have no provider access.
  • Correspondent’s identity through individual verification
  • If the key gets stolen then there would be secure pass communications
  • Code open to independent review
  • Well-documented crypto design
  • An independent security audit. 

Having said that, Signal stands as the A-category player. This is why any messaging app being in the development phase picks Signal’s security parameters as their security aspects. 

Why Do People Want An App Like Signal?

The signal is the crown-jewel and offers high-end security features. Just like it, many users want their data to be as secure as possible and prefer development on the grounds of the Signal App. There are a few features that Signal offers that left users spell-bound. Therefore, we are going to put a glance over some amazing characteristics offered under Signal App:

Register via Contact Details

Convenience is what an individual seeks when it comes to handling an application. Signal offers a magnificent interface where a user needs to log in with Contact details. No need of remembering the passwords or log-in IDs. Only a contact number is what is needed. Afterward, submit the code sent to the contact number, and then here you go!

Message Disappearing 

Don’t want anybody to peep into your private life? Here comes the “Disappear Message” functionality. It enables you to put a timer of 5 seconds to 1 week of your read (seen) messages to disappear. Moreover, taking snapshots is also restricted in the app. What else do you want on security standards?

Must Read: How to develop a multi-purpose messaging app like WeChat?

Audio & Video Calls

Firstly, the signal offers one-to-one and group voice and video calls on far better security parameters. Mostly. Business enterprises mark Signal as the most authentic way of sharing any confidential data over voice and video calls. Hence, Signal comes in the priority when it comes to developing a secure instant messaging app

Private Encryption to Chats

This feature has blown away the market which offers private encrypted chats with friends or family or with loved ones. The server of the app has no access to any group metadata which includes icons, titles, and membership lists. 

Security & Encryption

Deployment of security and encryption is not a piece of cake. It needs dedicated development efforts. But yes, if you have Telegram API (another secure chat app), you are all set to go further. The fundamental benefit is you need not develop a back end and a database, reducing time and saving money. 

end to end encryption

How Development of a Secure Messaging App Takes Place?

Before we jump onto the development aspect, it is crucial to keep an eye on features, technique, pricing, etc. parameters. It is better to gain analysis on pre-existing and new-technique to be deployed on the development. So, here is a guide on the technical aspect of the development:

What Kind of Security Has to Be Added?

Security means encryption and encryption becomes possible with the help of these two processes:

  • P2P (Peer-to-Peer Encryption)
  • E2E (End-to-End Encryption)

Development of messaging apps takes place on the above-said technology. P2P was highly condemned these days due to some flaws, hence End-to-End Encryption becomes the king here. 

How E2E encryption works? Let us get it into more simplest form. The message we send gets encoded and sent to the server, where it brings to the recipient. Now at your friend's device, decoding happens. This ensures that only the friend that you have mentioned can read your message. Whatsapp has adopted this technology back in the year 2016. From then onwards, you see a message that says “Your Chats are Encrypted”. 

messaging encryption

Another messenger app is “Telegram” which has mushroomed with its fancy interface and cool stickers, a perfect match for most secured chats. The team claims that they have developed their own protocol to secure the chats. The security protocol named as MTProto has no open-source access to it. Thus, nobody can understand how security at Telegram works?

Default Encryption Setting

A feature to consider while adding a secure parameter to your application. It is not about E2E encryption putting security layers to the application, but your application must have options to turn on the end-to-end encryption. Meanwhile, in some scenarios, the message is being encrypted in a few instances. 

Pre-Established Budget

Now comes the point, How Much Will It Take to Have An App Like Signal? As we all know, the development of any app depends upon the feature and other requirements of the clients. Here a pre-established player plays a vital role in the development cost of any app. It is totally up to the client and development and the budget will fall somewhere between $30-$50K. 

Metadata

This is the real pain in the neck when adding security or user privacy to the application. The fundamental function of this technique is to recognize the User and its credentials. Many application stores metadata automatically.

You may get features like time, sender, receiver, contact list, device ID, and so many other utilities. The information is accessible to the hackers and they may grab this drawback as an opportunity. It ultimately results in the decryption of the security keys. 

A popular app like Whatsapp stores the Metadata on its server. Meanwhile, it brings E2E to messages. It also saves the metadata of some of the messages which becomes the point of concern.

Read Also: How Much does it Cost to Create an Instant Messaging App like WhatsApp?

But when it comes to the king itself i.e. Signal, it saves the last connection data for log-in purposes and nothing else. So the final call here is the less metadata is utilized, the more your chats will be secure. 

Transparency

Another term for security is Transparency. The first aspect here is the terms of services which explains the purpose of granting security and confidential communication platforms.  Another aspect that kicks off this app, it has open-source code that is accessible to all. Simultaneously, anybody can look around for any backdoors, preventing hacking and other kinds of activities. 

These are the basic things that we need to take care of when talking about signal app development. Along with these, one thing that makes the difference here is the feature-set. Some of the basic features that you cannot miss to include in your app like Signal are discussed in the next section.

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Benefits of Having A Secure App like Signal 

Now that you have built an encrypted application signal? What advantages are you onto? So here this section will give you an account of the benefits, you’ll enjoy on a secure app development:

24*7 Security

The name says it all. The first feature/benefits/pros or you can say advantage you get is scalable security. You will get end-to-end encryption with the secure application development process. Your chats and other things will be kept in safe areas. Simultaneously, your all rights will be highly protected. So when you are developing an app, you’ll be adding an extra layer of security to the development. 

Reliable Technology

The development has seen tremendous reach to security and hence advancements are like the new normal in the process. Each day, thousands of applications are built with robust security aspects where encryption remains at the lowest to highest standards. The best part is, you need not bother about cyber crimes as its code is open-source and you can check for any backdoors to avoid hackings. 

Rich User Interface  

These apps not only have high-security standards but hold an elegant User Interface. An app without a good interface is like a fish without water. It is the fundamental requirement that turns a user returning and sometimes a medium of conversions. 

A great UI also attracts the targeted audience which in turn gives the expected outcomes. Hence, UI is also the key here to drive you the desired outputs for your business. 

Cost-Effective

Seeking the advancements in technology, encryptions to apps are being offered in budgetary modes. You need not spend bucks over deployments of security but only a few of it will go well. Cost is what makes the secure encrypted app more promising these days. Moreover, it benefits the company as well, the signal app development cost is both beneficial and competitive that makes more reliable clientele throughout the globe. 

Increase Productivity

Another amazing feature that accompanies the app like signal development is an increment in Productivity and Workflow. An additional layer always works additionally as instant messages with confidential data are being shared with full trust. This improves the work-flows and productivity around the company. 

encryption and description

Your chats will be decoded directly on the servers of the friend that encrypts the messages and data remains as confidential as possible. Hence, no need of rushing to the devices, draft email, sending files. Just put your messengers on and you are good to go. 

Highlights Offered by Signal Application Must-Have for Any Messaging App 

Signal offers top-of-the-line security and guarantees no privacy infringement. The app offers a few must-have features that you too should include in your encrypted messaging app. 

Encrypted Chats

Signal offers great message encryption to ensure the messages exchanged aren’t shared further. End clients can enjoy encrypted communications with their companions, family, or friends and family. 

Contact Details for User Registration

Signal has ditched the long registration process and made the process quite easier for the users. Users don't have to login with their IDs or passwords each time. Your signal-like app can necessitate a contact number and you may get an OTP code and whenever that is entered in, the application is prepared for use. 

Vanishing Message

Telegram and Snapchat offer similar features and it is tremendously popular. You can set the limit from simply 5 seconds to a minute. With the ease of setting the fact that how long you want the message to stay you can make it easier for you to manage the messages. 

Encryption and Security 

With water-tight encryption and security, the application does get the benefit of technology. With an existing API, we can save the development cost of an app like Signal. Security remains the major concern in all terms when it comes to talking about messaging applications like Signal. 

Broadcast Media 

Gone are the days where you may select contacts one by one to share messages. Create a broadcast list and you can share media and messages over the list at once. Thus, you can save enough time and effort to send messages to your loved ones.  

Erase for Everyone

Signal allows you to delete a message sent by mistake. Our android mobile app development team let’s the sender erase the message shared before it is read. It is an absolute necessity to have a highlight for any informing application. 

Registration Module

This is simply the fundamental module, where the customer registers himself/herself and afterward gives additional data like name, family name, sex, country, and telephone number. When the data is outfitted, the application sends an approval message to the end-client. 

These are sure grounds on which secure application improvement happens. Here we will clarify a couple of significant modules for the proposed informing application, alongside the time and assets it might take. 

Time Taken to Develop Signal Like App

Registration Module 

The registration module is quite significant when it comes to developing an app like Signal. It takes around 55 hours to develop a registration module that makes it easier for your users to connect with you. 

Real-Time Messaging Module

This is the most important module that we need to consider, which requires up to 210-220 hours, for both frontend and backend functionality study and development. 

Contact Sync Module 

This module is utilized to adjust the contacts in the telephone to the cloud our applications information base and takes around 15 to 20 hours to develop. 

Call History  

This module shows the Call history (Incoming, active, dismissed require) of a client. It furnishes the end-client with a record of various types of calls they have made and gotten. Since our application development team is quite well-versed with these modules it would take them around 15-18 hours to develop such modules. 

Video Calling Module

It takes around 180-220 hours to develop the video calling module that can make things easier for you. The time taken is also defined by the platform for which the module is being developed. 

Multimedia Sharing Development Module 

Multimedia sharing module development would take around 40-50 hours. The time would also depend on the fact if the hybrid app development team is using API or developing it from the scratch.

    

Notifications Module Development

When it comes to talking about the notification module, it needs to be worked on with Apple Push Notifications or Google Cloud Messaging to enable this feature. Integrating either of the modules would take around 15-20 hours of your developer's time. 

Share Your Location  

When it comes to sharing locations it becomes quite significant for the app like Signal to have location sharing features to let people share where they are at a particular moment. Google Maps Android API or Map Kit framework can be integrated into your app. The complete process would take around 25-30 hours of development. 

Settings Module

To make sure that your customers get to customize the app exactly like they want it is important to integrate the settings module in your Signal application. It would take around 110-120 hours to integrate this functionality into your mobile application. 

These are a few modules that need to be worked on when it comes to Signal like android app development. If you want to enter the market with an application that earns you the best results, then surely you’re at the right place. 

Technology Stack to Develop Signal Like App

When talking about the technology stack used in the development of an app like Signal it becomes quite significant to choose the right technology that brings you the best results. We share here the latest technology stack our mobile app development team uses for your solutions. 

For Android App Development 

Programming Language Used: Kotlin 

Networking Used: Retrofit2, OkHttp 3

Database: SQLite, Room

JSON Parsing: Jackson, Gson

 

For iOS App Development

Programming Language: Swift 

Networking: Alamofire

JSon Parsing: Glide 

 

To Develop Backend of the Application 

Programming Language: JavaScript or Node.JS

Framework: Express 4

Database Set: MySQL

API Documentation: Swagger 

Infrastructure: AWS 

This is the best technology stack that would help you gain an edge over your competition. One final thing to have a look at before you hire app development team to develop an application like Signal is the cost. 

Cost of Development of App Like Signal 

When you decide to replicate an app, the most significant part is its popularity and the cost of development. When talking about Signal app development cost, the sum depends on various factors. 

The cost of development of such apps can vary from USD 30,000 to USD 70,000. 

Cost of Development of iOS App: USD 40,000-USD 45,000

Cost of Development of Android App: USD 45,000-USD 55,000

Then talking about the region of development, 

South Asia: USD 25,000 

Eastern Europe: USD 40,000

Australia: 70,000 USD

Western Europe: USD 65, 000

North America: USD 70,000 

With the basic costs of development, we make sure that you pay only for services that you buy. 

Is Creating A Next Secure Messaging App, Worth It?

In this world of cut-throat competition, you need to be unique with your tweaks and terms. This will only help you to stand-out in the market. But when your competitions flinch with Tech-Giants like Whatsapp, Facebook, Telegram, Google Allo, etc. you need to be extraordinary. Therefore, you need to be different with some killing aspects to stand-out in the crowd. 

Read Also: How to Create a Mobile App like Instagram?

So if you feel that you can add a new branch to the tree and it will blossom like anything, just go for it. We hope that this article will be a guide to you on the development of secure encrypted application-like signals.  

Yes, it is worthwhile when you have something to kick-off that protrudes you in the IT as well as other technological sectors. 

To Sum Up,

Security is what everybody wants at basic to higher levels. In the IT sector, you need to be delectable and unique at the same time. How much does signal like app development cost? What are its main criteria, etc. are something that has to do with day-to-day life? Hence, the development of such instant messaging apps is a priority. 

But mostly, the development cost is something that has turned around the table. Upgradations, compatibility with platforms are what add value to such a development. Hence, we will end it up as the best way for improving the working efficiency and at the same time, ensuring the security of the data. 

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Arun Goyal

Managing Director @ Octal IT Solution, a prominent Mobile App Development Company offering cutting-edge iPhone App Development and Android App Development services to Startups, SMEs and Fortune-500 Companies.

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