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Setting up a virtual Signal device using Corellium

Technical WriteupsAugust 2021

In this post, we walk through setting up the Signal messaging app on a virtual Android device. This can be helpful if you need to use Signal, but do not wish to share your primary phone number or use your primary device.

A note about data privacy

Before you get started, we suggest you read our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The short version is that we do not collect any information from inside virtual devices. When a virtual device is deleted, all device data is immediately erased. Device metadata, such as the name of the device and the OS version, is stored in backups, which are regularly deleted every 90 days.

Step 1: Turn on MFA for your Corellium account

We strongly recommend that you turn on multi-factor authentication for your Corellium account. 

  • Click on your name in the top right corner of the page.
  • Click “Enable MFA.”
  • Set up multi-factor using a code generator app.

Step 2: Create your Android device

  • Log into your Corellium account and click “Create Device.” 
  • Navigate to the last device in the list, or search for “Android.”
  • Select the Android device and click “Next.”
  • The default OS version is the latest one, click “Select.”
  • The default device name is “Android,” but you’re welcome to change it.
  • When you’re ready, click “Create Device.”

Corellium will take about a minute to set up your virtual Android device.

Step 3: Install OpenGApps for Google Play Services

OpenGApps makes it easier to install apps on your virtual Android device.

  • Click “Install” under “OpenGApps” to the right of your virtual device.
  • Click “Accept.”

OpenGApps will install in a minute or two.

Step 4: Download Signal for Android

To install Signal without signing into the Google Play Store, use your own browser and:

Step 5: Install Signal on your Android device

Click on “Apps” in the menu to the right of your virtual device. From there:

  • Click “Install.”
  • Select the file you just downloaded.

Corellium will upload the file and install the app on your device. To launch Signal, click on the Android device and move your mouse upwards to get to the main menu.

Step 6: Set up your Signal profile

You’re free to set up your Signal profile in whatever way works for you. Here’s one example:

  • Launch Signal and click “Continue” to create a new profile.
  • Click “Continue” to allow Signal to access the contacts.
  • Click “Allow” to confirm this one more time.
  • Click “Allow” to allow Signal to make and manage phone calls.
  • Enter your phone number to get started (e.g. a Google Voice number).
  • Click “OK” to confirm the phone number.
  • Enter the verification code using the virtual keypad.
  • Set up your profile with a first name (required), last name (optional) and photo (optional).
  • Create a PIN with at least 4 digits, click “Next,” confirm the PIN, and “Next” again.

You’re all set! You can now send and receive Signal messages, just like you would on your physical device. You can pause and restart your virtual Android device as needed.

Note: if you skipped Step 2, Android and Signal may display messages saying your device is missing Google Play Services. You may also be presented with a CAPTCHA to confirm that you are in fact human.

Once you set up your Signal profile, you can check if sending and receiving messages works as expected. 

To test receiving messages, send a Signal message from a physical device to the phone number you registered with. In this example, the external account is “Maria Fox” and the Signal account registered on the Corellium device is “Azeria.”

To test sending messages, reply to the message you received on your Corellium device. In this example, the “Azeria” account on the left is sending a message to “Maria Fox.” 

Works like a charm! You are ready to go. 

Step 7: Delete your Signal profile

To delete your Signal account, profile photo and all your messages, follow the steps below.

  • Launch Signal and click on your icon in the top left corner.
  • Select “Account” and “Delete account.”
  • Select your country and enter your phone number.
  • Click “Delete account” and then once more to confirm.

Step 8: Delete your Android device 

To delete your Android device, click on the trash can icon in the top right corner of the page. Click “Delete” to confirm. When a virtual device is deleted, all device data is immediately erased. Device metadata, such as the name of the device and the OS version, is stored in backups, which are regularly deleted every 90 days.

Ready to set up Signal on your own virtual device? Sign up here to start your free trial!

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