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I think I'm not understanding something because this should be easy.

From the signal website (https://signal.org/download/#) the instructions for installing signal-desktop are :

curl -s https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt/keys.asc | sudo apt-key add -

echo "deb [arch=amd64] https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt xenial main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/signal-xenial.list

sudo apt update && sudo apt install signal-desktop

I followed these steps but every time I do I get the error "E: Unable to locate package signal-desktop".

It looks like the file /etc/apt/sources.list.d/signal-xenial.list didn't change when I ran that second command so I added the line "deb [arch=amd64] https://updates.signal.org/desktop/apt xenial main" manually with nano but still got the same error.

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This (whatever it may be) seems to be designed for a 64bit OS. arch=amd64

In general just downloading an app is unlikely to be successful (even if for the correct architecture) unless it is designed for the Pi.

The Foundation spends significant effort producing Pi specific versions.

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