Google is dropping support for Chrome apps. If you don’t know what a Chrome app is, don’t worry – most people don’t use them.

I use the popular private messenger Signal on my phone, and there is a companion desktop program that runs as a Chrome app. Because Google is dropping support for Chrome apps, Whisper Systems has released a standalone desktop app.

There are three basic steps to migrate:

  • Export from the Chrome app
  • Import to the standalone desktop app
  • Remove the Chrome app.

Export From Chrome App

1. First, prepare by downloading and installing the standalone app from I’ve skipped those screenshots because they are so different between Windows and Mac. The desktop app installs like any other app for your computer. Full installation instructions are on the Signal website.

2. Launch the old Chrome App, click the three-dot menu and select Migrate to standalone.

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 10.01.58 AM


3. Click the Migrate button on the confirmation dialog.

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 10.02.34 AM


4. You’ve already installed the Signal Desktop app in step 1, so click Install is complete.

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 10.03.47 AM

5. Signal needs to export your chat history and security information. Click the Choose directory button to select where to save this information. I created a new folder on my desktop called Signal Export.

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 10.05.27 AM


6. Signal will export your data. When finished, Signal will display a report. Close the Signal app.

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 10.08.43 AM

Import to Signal Desktop

7. Launch Signal Desktop that you installed in Step 1, then click the Set up with exported data button.

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 10.10.06 AM


8. Click the Choose directory button.

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 10.10.31 AM


9. Select the directory Signal created in Step 5 and click Import.

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 10.13.08 AM


10. Signal loads your data and then prompts you to restart.

(I missed this screen-shot, sorry.)

Click Restart Signal and verify it loads properly.


Uninstall Signal Chrome App

11. Click the three-dot menu, hover over More Tools and click on Extensions.

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 10.16.56 AM


12. Locate Signal Private Messenger in the list. Click the trashcan icon, then click the Remove button in the confirmation dialog.

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 10.17.37 AM

You are done.

Signal Desktop is now a full application, no longer using the Chrome App system. Otherwise, it looks and acts the same.