[Update: First look] APK Teardown: Signal is working on a Snapchat-style Stories feature

[Update: First look] APK Teardown: Signal is working on a Snapchat-style Stories feature

Update 1 (03/10/2022 @ 06:35 ET): We now have our first look at the Stories feature. Scroll to the bottom for more information. The article as published on March 9, 2022, is preserved below.

It was Snapchat that introduced the concept of Stories, a feature that lets you post ephemeral photos or videos that disappear after 24 hours. The feature was a massive hit among Snapchat users and helped the platform grow exponentially after its introduction in 2013. The success of Snapchat Stories led to several copycats, with Instagram later introducing the feature under the same name and WhatsApp adding a Status feature. Twitter also briefly tried out its own version of Snapchat Stories called Fleets. It appears the privacy-focused messaging app Signal could be the next in line to add a story feature.

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An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.

Within the latest APK of Signal, we have discovered some new strings related to an upcoming story feature. From what we can gather, the Signal’s story feature will be quite similar to Snapchat and Instagram Stories.

Users will be able to choose from two story types: group story or private story. A group story can be sent to an existing group, while a private story will only be visible to select people you choose — think of it like Instagram “close friends.”

<string name="ChooseStoryTypeBottomSheet__choose_your_story_type">Choose your story type</string>\n<string name="ChooseStoryTypeBottomSheet__group_story">Group story</string>\n<string name="ChooseStoryTypeBottomSheet__new_private_story">New private story</string>\n<string name="ChooseStoryTypeBottomSheet__share_to_an_existing_group">Share to an existing group</string>\n<string name="ChooseStoryTypeBottomSheet__visible_only_to">Visible only to specific people</string>\n<string name="ContactsCursorLoader_my_stories">My Stories</string>\n<string name="ContactsCursorLoader_new_story">New Story</string>\n<string name="ConversationListTabs__99p">99+</string>\n<string name="ConversationListTabs__chats">Chats</string>\n<string name="ConversationListTabs__stories">Stories</string>\n<string name="CreateStoryViewerSelectionFragment__choose_viewers">Choose viewers</string>

The following strings suggest viewers will be able to react (via emoji) and reply to your story. However, you’ll be able to disable this from settings if you want to. You’ll be notified when someone reacts or responds to your story.

<string name="MyStorySettingsFragment__allow_replies_amp_reactions">Allow replies &amp; reactions</string>\n<string name="MyStorySettingsFragment__hide_story_from">Hide story from</string>\n<string name="MyStorySettingsFragment__hide_your_story_from">Hide your story from specific people. By default, your story is shared with your %1$s</string>\n<string name="MyStorySettingsFragment__let_people_who_can_view_your_story_react_and_reply">Let people who can view your story react and reply</string>\n<string name="MyStorySettingsFragment__my_story">My Story</string>\n<string name="MyStorySettingsFragment__replies_amp_reactions">Replies &amp; reactions</string>\n<string name="StoryGroupReactionReplyItem__reacted_to_the_story">Reacted to the story</string>\n<string name="StoryGroupReplyFragment__copied_to_clipboard">Copied to clipboard</string>\n<string name="StoryGroupReplyFragment__no_replies_yet">No replies yet</string>\n<string name="StoryGroupReplyItem__private_reply">Private Reply</string>\n<string name="StoryReplyComposer__react_to_this_story">React to this story</string>\n<string name="StoryReplyComposer__replying_privately_to_s">Replying privately to %1$s</string>

Any content you add to your story will be visible to your Signal connections for 24 hours. Like Instagram Stories, you can also add text or a URL to your story as well.

<string name="StoryDialogs__adding_content">Adding content to your story allows your Signal connections to view it for 24 hours. You can change who can view your story in Setttings</string>\n<string name="TextStoryPostCreationFragment__tap_to_add_text">Tap to add text</string>\n<string name="TextStoryPostLinkEntryFragment__share_a_link_with_viewers_of_your_story">Share a link with viewers of your story</string>\n<string name="TextStoryPostLinkEntryFragment__type_or_paste_a_url">Type or paste a URL</string>\n<string name="TextStoryPostSendFragment__search">Search</string>\n<string name="TextStoryPostTextEntryFragment__aa">Aa</string>\n<string name="TextStoryPostTextEntryFragment__add_text">Add text</string>\n<string name="TextStoryPostTextEntryFragment__done_adding_text">Done adding text</string>

You can also check out how many people viewed your story. There’ll also be an option to hide stories from specific people. Hidden stories won’t show up at the top of the stories list. And it seems Signal will also let you disable the story feature completely.

<string name="StoryViewsAndRepliesDialogFragment__views">Views</string>\n<string name="StoryViewsFragment__no_views_yet">No views yet</string>\n<string name="StoriesLandingFragment__hidden_stories">Hidden stories</string>\n<string name="StoriesLandingFragment__hide">Hide</string>\n<string name="StoriesLandingFragment__hide_story">Hide story?</string>\n<string name="StoriesLandingFragment__my_stories">My Stories</string>\n<string name="StoriesLandingFragment__new_story_updates">"New story updates from %1$s won't appear at the top of the stories list anymore."</string>\n<string name="StoriesLandingFragment__no_recent_updates">No recent updates to show right now.</string>\n<string name="StoriesLandingFragment__story_hidden">Story hidden</string>\n<string name="StoriesLandingItem__hide_story">Hide story</string>\n<string name="StoriesLandingItem__share">Share…</string>\n<string name="StoriesLandingItem__unhide_story">Unhide story</string><string name="preferences__internal_disable_stories">Disable stories</string>\n<string name="PrivacySettingsFragment__you_will_no_longer_be_able">You will no longer be able to share or view Stories when this option is turned off.</string>

We tried to enable the story feature in Signal, but the app kept crashing. The story feature appears to be in the advanced stage of development and could roll out soon. The feature will likely first arrive on the beta version of Signal before making its way to everyone. We’ll keep an eye out and let you know if we learn any new details.

Signal Private Messenger

Update: Here’s what Signal’s upcoming Stories feature looks like

Shortly after our article went live, known app reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi managed to enable the upcoming Stories feature in the Signal app. Screenshots shared by the leaker give us a detailed look at the UI and various settings of the feature. Check out the gallery attached below.


Screenshots credit: Alessandro Paluzzi on Twitter

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Kishan Vyas
Kishan Vyas

A loyal Android user since Android 2.1 Eclair. Direct inquiries to [email protected]

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