My Signal backup system
This is a “living” blog post. I will update it as my practice changes. Its history can be found here.
I lost my phone a while back, which sucked. One especially sucky thing was that I didn’t have my Signal chats backed up. Some people like to treat their messages as ephemeral. I don’t. Not my style at all. So I (now) have a backup system that runs automatically every night.
Here’s how it currently works. Disclaimer: This setup won’t win any prizes for security/privacy. That’s not my priority. For some people, those are priorities. They probably won’t like this set up1.
- I turn on Signal backups
- Done! ✨ LOL NO JK. That just creates local backups, which is as useful as a
chocolate2 shit teapot if you lose your phone.
- I then have an app called Foldersync3, which does what it says on the tin. Specifically, it syncs local and remote folders, including cloud storage services.
- I have mine set up to sync the folder where my Signal backups are on my phone to a folder on my Dropbox overnight every night. One directionally, so it only adds files, doesn’t delete.
And that’s it! If it works as anticipated, I should never again lose my messages.
One thing I would love though, is if I could just store the diff between days. Each backup file is 1GB and it just feels wasteful knowing that 99% of that file is a duplication. Presumably whatsapp does something like this? I guess a solution would be an a pipeline that does automated on-phone decryption (or just accessing an unencrypted storage directly, if that exists?) and then a git commit and push. Setting that up seems like an awful lot of effort though…
I’d also be interested in FolderSync alternative - it works fine, but I’d prefer an open-source tool ideally.
This post is published under a CC BY 2.0 licence.