How to Permanently Delete Signal Messages

Signal is widely regarded as the most secure and private messaging app available. It uses state-of-the-art end-to-end encryption to keep messages, calls, files, and media shared on Signal completely private.

Why Delete Messages on Signal?

While Signal’s encryption ensures your conversations stay private while on the app, there may still be reasons why permanently deleting messages is desirable:

  • Mistakenly sent message – If you accidentally send a message to the wrong chat or contact, deleting it permanently prevents it from being seen.
  • Sensitive information – Messages containing private information like passwords or account numbers should be deleted after use.
  • Storage limitations – Your device has limited storage, so deleting old messages helps free up space.
  • Leaving Signal – If you decide to stop using Signal, deleting all history removes your data from the app.

How to Permanently Delete Signal Messages

Delete Single Messages

To delete a single message on Signal:

  • Mobile: Long press on the message and tap the trash icon.
  • Desktop: Hover over the message and click the three-dot menu, then choose “Delete message”.

By default this only deletes messages from your devices. Read on for how to delete messages from recipients’ devices too.

Delete Entire Chats

To delete an entire chat’s message history on Signal:

  • Mobile: Swipe right on the chat in your list then tap “Delete”.
  • Desktop: Right click the chat and choose “Delete messages”.

This only deletes messages from your devices.

Delete All Chats and Messages

To completely delete all Signal messages from your devices:

  • Android: Go to Settings > Data and Storage > Clear Message History.
  • iOS: Go to Settings > Privacy > Clear Chat History.
  • Desktop: Click File > Clear Data.

This permanently deletes all Signal messages and chat history from your devices. You’ll remain in any Signal groups you were part of.

Delete Messages For Everyone

Signal gives you a short window after sending a message to delete it from recipients’ devices too:

  • Android (beta only): Long press the message, tap the trash icon, then choose “Delete for everyone”.
  • iOS: Long press the message, tap the trash icon, then choose “Delete for everyone”.

You’ll only see the “Delete for everyone” option for a few hours after sending a message. This permanently deletes the message for all participants in the chat.

Other Signal Deletion Options

Here are some other useful data deletion options within Signal:

Disappearing Messages

Enable disappearing messages to have Signal automatically delete messages after a set time period like 5 seconds, 1 hour, 1 week, etc. It’s available for all new messages in an individual or group chat.

Media Auto-Download Settings

Control if photos, videos, and files sent in Signal are automatically downloaded and saved or if manual download is required. Disabling auto-download prevents media from being permanently saved.

Clear Chat Backups

Delete locally stored chat backups by going to Settings > Chats > Chat Backups > Delete All Backups. This is useful when deleting all history before uninstalling Signal.

Tips For Permanent Signal Message Deletion

Keep these important points in mind when deleting Signal messages:

  • Deleted messages can only be recovered from chat backups or if the recipient took a screenshot. For permanent deletion, delete and then disable chat backups.
  • Deleting messages or entire chat histories removes the data from your devices only. For full deletion, use “Delete for everyone” within a few hours of sending each message.
  • Turn on disappearing messages to have Signal automatically delete messages regularly. This provides ongoing deletion even for messages you forget to manually remove.
  • When deleting all data before uninstalling Signal, first delete all chat histories, then disable chat backups, ensuring everything gets wiped.


Signal makes deleting messages easy while still keeping your conversations ultra-secure. Take advantage of its flexible deletion options to remove messages from your devices, your recipients’ devices, chat backups, and more. Practicing good deletion hygiene ensures minimal sensitive data lingers in your messaging app or device storage.