Element is both a secure messenger and a team collaboration app that is ideal for group chats while remote working. This chat app uses end-to-end encryption to provide powerful video conferencing, file sharing and voice calls.
Element’s features include:
- Advanced online communication tools
- Fully encrypted messages to allow safer corporate communication, even for remote workers
- Decentralized chat based on the Matrix open source framework
- Secure file sharing with encrypted data while managing projects
- Group Video chat with voice over IP and screen sharing
- Easy integration with your favourite online collaboration tools, project management tools, VoIP services and other team messaging apps
Element is different from other messaging and collaboration apps. It operates on Matrix, an open network for secure and decentralized communication. It allows self-hosting to give users maximum ownership and control of their data and messages.
Privacy and encrypted messaging:
Element protects you from unwanted ads, data mining and walled gardens. It also secures all your data, one-to-one video chats and voice communication through end-to-end encryption and cross-signed device verification.
Element gives you control over your privacy while allowing you to communicate securely with anyone on the Matrix network, or other business collaboration tools by integrating with productivity apps such as Slack.
Element can be self-hosted:
To allow more control of your sensitive data and conversations, Element can be self-hosted or you can choose any Matrix-based host - the standard for open source, decentralized communication. Element gives you privacy, security compliance and integration flexibility.
Own your data:
You decide where to keep your data and messages. Without the risk of data mining or access from third parties.
Element puts you in control in different ways:
1. Get a free account on the matrix.org public server hosted by the Matrix developers, or choose from thousands of public servers hosted by volunteers
2. Self-host your account by running a server on your own IT infrastructure
3. Sign up for an account on a custom server by simply subscribing to the Element Matrix Services hosting platform
Open messaging and collaboration:
You can chat with anyone on the Matrix network, whether they’re using Element, another Matrix app or even if they are using a different messaging app.
Real end-to-end encryption (only those in the conversation can decrypt messages), and cross-signed device verification.
Complete communication and integration:
Messaging, voice and video calls, file sharing, screen sharing and a whole bunch of integrations, bots and widgets. Build rooms, communities, stay in touch and get things done.
Pick up where you left off:
Stay in touch wherever you are with fully synchronised message history across all your devices and on the web at https://app.element.io
We’re blasting into 2022 with Element 1.6.12 which includes improvements to our Analytics so you can help us understand how you use multiple devices to make your experience better than ever.
• If you consent, we’ll generate a random identifier shared by your devices.
• We don’t record or profile any account data.
• We don’t share information with third parties.
• You can turn this off anytime in settings.
The full history is available at https://github.com/vector-im/element-ios/releases/tag/v1.6.12
Ratings and Reviews
Best free E2EE open-source messenger
At time of writing, this app has a 3.7 rating and that is a very fair assessment of its quality and usability. It isn’t the most user-friendly messenger on the App Store, but some of that is by design. The lower more critical ratings are not fair IMHO; some of the inconvenience of security is required for it to be secure i.e. needing to verify keys devices and users, etc. People want privacy and security without adding additional steps but those steps create more privacy and security inherently. Case in point, 2 factor authentication. Is it quicker to not enable for your internet accounts? Sure. Does taking an extra few seconds make you more secure? Absolutely. All of that said, both my tech-illiterate parents (in their 60s) and my older gen-X siblings use this app daily without any issue.
As chat apps go, this one works pretty well, but it still has a few rough edges. Particularly, its handling of encryption keys is rough compared to other apps like Wire and Keybase—Every time a new device is added, everyone needs to go through and re-verify it, which is a hassle and a turn-off for getting my friends to use it. If you don’t re-verify, everyone in every chat you participate in will see a scary warning, and there’s no way to permanently dismiss it.
UI/UX Needs Improvement
I love the concept and hope this app grows, but it is not intuitive and makes it difficult for people to setup and use—both mobile & desktop.
Here are a few:
1. Favorites is unnecessary. You can add / see / modify them in Home.
2. People & Rooms can be lumped under a new category of ‘Discover’, ‘Search’, ‘Explore’, ‘Find’ or something along those lines. Rooms & Conversations subsections only need to be in Home.
3. Communities could be one of the best features in this app, but it needs significant attention.
3a. The entirety of Communities area, incl existing subsections needs an ability to edit / add. You cannot modify a community’s name, img or anything. You can’t create rooms in the room subsection, etc. Major drawback.
3b. All of the current subtabs are unnecessary. Something like the following is preferred.
>> Messages (Private)
>> Directory (could be superfluous)
+ a function to cluster & arrange rooms
There are more, but I’ve typed up alot already. Hope to see some improvements. Cheers.
Data Linked to You
The following data may be collected and linked to your identity:
- Contact Info
Data Not Linked to You
The following data may be collected but it is not linked to your identity:
- User Content
Privacy practices may vary, for example, based on the features you use or your age. Learn More
- Vector Creations Limited
- 163.5 MB
- Requires iOS 12.1 or later.
- Requires iPadOS 12.1 or later.
- iPod touch
- Requires iOS 12.1 or later.
- Requires macOS 11.0 or later and a Mac with Apple M1 chip.
English, Albanian, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Dutch, Esperanto, Estonian, French, German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Kabyle, Norwegian Bokmål, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, Vietnamese, Welsh
- Age Rating
- 17+ Unrestricted Web Access
- © New Vector Ltd, 2017-2021
With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.
Get things done within this app using just your voice.