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How to solve Signal notification issues on Android

From the unofficial Signal Wiki

Some Android skins and operating systems severely restrict[1] background tasks for applications. This can cause issues with notification delivery for Signal messages and call ring alerts.

Official Signal Notification Troubleshooting Guide[edit | edit source]

https://support.signal.org/hc/en-us/articles/360007318711-Troubleshooting-Notifications#android_notifications_troubleshooting

Signal's official troubleshooting guide contains a few basic troubleshooting steps to resolve basic issues that may be preventing notifications from being delivered. If you're having issues with notification delivery, it's recommended to start with this guide, as it goes over a few issues that are easily overlooked when trying to solve notification issues.

Device specific troubleshooting[edit | edit source]

While the official Signal guide does go over some device specific changes you can make, https://dontkillmyapp.com/ may contain more complete adjustments you can make to different device models. Compiled here are also a few additional changes you can make for other device manufacturers.

OEM Guide
Asus Asus has implemented an app called Power Master that blocks background tasks. Follow the dontkillmyapp guide for Asus here.
Huawei devices with Google Play Services dontkillmyapp's guide for Huawei
Meizu dontkillmyapp.com/meizu guide for Meizu devices
Oppo dontkillmyapp.com's guide for Oppo devices
Realme dontkillmyapp.com's guide for Realme devices
Ulefone Ulefone battery restrictions

Forcing web-socket notifications for Signal on Android[edit | edit source]

Another solution that works to bypass most Android OS restrictions on Signal is to force Signal to use a websocket connection. This makes Signal create a foreground task for the purpose of checking in directly with Signal servers for new messages. This method of notification retrieval can consume more battery life over time. While this push notification method is the default for devices without Play Services, on devices with Play Services this necessitates some working around to enable. This almost always entirely solves notification delivery issues. This guide assumes you have an active install.

Before getting started[edit | edit source]

  • Make sure you are able to re-register Signal.
  • Make sure you have a backup available.
  • Make sure you know your Signal PIN.

Guide[edit | edit source]

  1. Create a Signal backup (located under Signal > Chats > Chat Backups) and verify the backup passphrase by tapping verify code.
  2. Enter your Android settings, go to your apps list (make sure you can see system apps).
  3. Disable Google Play Services, Google Play Store and, if available, Google Services Framework. You will get a few notifications warning you that Play Services are not available, this is normal.
  4. Find Signal in your apps list and clear it's data.This will allow you to register Signal without Play Services, prompting it to use the web-socket for notifications.
  5. Open Signal and re-register by restoring your backup.
  6. Throughout the registration you will get a warning from Signal that Google Play Services is not available. This is normal. Tap continue, complete the captcha, and when the warning shows up again, tap continue again.
  7. When you're done re-registering and you're on the main screen for Signal, Signal will ask you to disable battery optimizations. Tap on the banner and allow Signal to exempt itself from battery optimizations.
  8. Re-enable Play Services, Play Store, and, if available, Google Services Framework.
  9. You can disable the "Background Connection enabled" notification by long pressing on it and hiding the notification category if the option is available.

You are now using the Signal web-socket for push notifications.

Notice: After updating Signal, you may need to open it one time in order to continue receiving notifications immediately.

  1. ↑ https://dontkillmyapp.com/problemWith Android 6 (Marshmallow), Google has introduced Doze mode to base Android, in an attempt to unify battery saving across the various Android phones. Unfortunately, vendors (e.g. Xiaomi, Huawei, OnePlus or even Samsung…) did not seem to catch that ball and they all have their own battery savers, usually very poorly written, saving battery only superficially, with side effects. Naturally users blame developers for their apps failing to deliver. But the truth is developers do all they can. Always investigating new device specific hacks to keep their (your!) apps working. However in many cases they simply fall short, as vendors have full control over processes on your device.
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