Chatsecure (iOS)

- Reading time: 5 minutes -

ATTENTION

ChatSecure is no longer being actively developed - there may (still) be bug fixes!
Therefore it is recommended to use Monal or Siskin instead!

Foreword

This is about installing, setting up and using the XMPP messenger ChatSecure. ChatSecure offers the possibility to use an XMPP account and its most common features on iPhones. The original ChatSecure website can be found at: https://chatsecure.org/ (external)

Like many other clients, ChatSecure is developed as open source software by volunteers.
Current release notes: https://github.com/ChatSecure/ChatSecure-iOS/releases (external)

Installation

Here is a short guide/introduction (as of: 18.07.2018), which was provided by “Rob”:

Konto hinzufügen

Download and install ChatSecure from the [Appstore] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chatsecure/id464200063 (external). When you open it for the first time, you will be asked for a donation (please think about it seriously, because every amount supports the development and the open source idea). After starting, a white screen appears first. A new chat account can be added using the cogwheel at the top right. Select “New account” in the following screen. Then either “Add existing account” (if available) or “Create new account”.

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A new account can be created on one of the suggested servers (click on the logo) or on a self-defined server. Note: At the moment Captcha is not supported by ChatSecure. If the server requires this, the account must be created beforehand, e.g. with its web interface, and added as an “Existing account” (see below). Under “Show advanced options”, details can be customized (specific username different from nickname, own password instead of a randomly generated one, Tor, media retrieval):

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An existing account can be added as follows (the “i” shows the password in plain text). It is then recommended to activate push notifications, otherwise there will be no notification when the app is closed. Once this setting is allowed, the account is set up:

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Add contacts

Once the account has been configured, the message icon on the left becomes active. This can be used to open new chats or add contacts or groups. In addition to the account, a name can also be assigned. Important: At the moment, the name cannot be changed afterwards. As soon as the name is set, it will always appear in the contact list. After the contact has accepted the request, you will be notified. The contact will now be displayed in the list and can be clicked for chats.

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Chatting and contact settings

After clicking, messages, pictures and voice messages can be sent. A lock (open/closed) indicates whether the chat is encrypted. The “i” opens the contact settings. The keys (your own and those of the contact) are displayed here and some options can be set. With the TOFU switch you can trust individual keys of the contact. One key is available per device and encryption method. Depending on the client, not all methods are supported. The preferred method can be configured under “Advanced encryption settings”.

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Profile properties

By clicking on the cogwheel on the right of the start screen and the “i” on the corresponding account, its settings can be adjusted. With “Invite friends”, ChatSecure can be shared with others via a link together with your own user name. “Edit account” takes you to the account settings. “Manage my keys” shows your own keys for this and any other devices used. Server information shows which properties the server supports and the status of the push registration. The more green the better. “Logout” allows you to log out of the server (log out). “Migrate account” moves the settings to another account (including contacts and chats).

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Notes

  • In order to upload photos/screenshots, the option “Filesharing via HTTP” must be activated.
    Images and language files can be sent - videos or other files not yet. (as of 07/2018)

  • “Captcha” when creating accounts is not yet supported. (as of 07/2018)

  • If notifications are not displayed, check the following settings:

    • Check push status (account settings)
    • Activate “Settings > General > Background refresh” in general and for ChatSecure
    • Check “Settings > Messages > ChatSecure” settings
  • In some cases, the mutual status release (subscription) only works unilaterally or not at all.
    Attempted solution:

    • Remove the contact completely from the list and add a new one (then the nickname of the contact can also be reset)

    • Log in to another client (e.g. Gajim/Conversations) and request/grant status approval there again

  • Messages do not seem to arrive when OMEMO is active:
    The other person may have changed their device or you may have changed yourself. Deactivate OMEMO as a test and try again. If this works, check whether all keys are visible in the contact properties. On some servers there are problems if the mutual online status is not visible (see above).


Detailed instructions

A detailed guide to configuring ChatSecure with good and important technical information on

  • Background updating,
  • push services and
  • TLS server certificates

… can be found on the page: https://grupp-web.de/cms/2018/02/09/chatsecure-statt-whatsapp/ (external)


English instructions

English instructions (for various clients) can be found here:


Note: Found a better/more up-to-date guide on the net? Then I would be happy to receive a short information: >>Contact<<