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
This build makes some minor changes to account and device management when using a homeserver that is configured with native OIDC (our shiny new login technology).
The full history is available at https://github.com/vector-im/element-ios/releases/tag/v1.11.3
Ratings and Reviews
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.
Mobile app is riddled with bugs
Been using Element since September so my friend and I could have separate rooms to discuss creative projects we work on together. We had been using a different system for years and wanted something similar to Discord, but Discord doesn’t allow for account switching so we went for this.
The encryption definitely works, and normally it’s easy to have multiple sessions on multiple devices and switch seamlessly. But lately (the last 2-3 weeks) the mobile app has given us a lot of trouble. It keeps randomly hiding the rooms that we’re not active in at that moment, and while I can just uninstall and reinstall the app (and re-verify every time) to fix this, my friend attempted to do the same and now, all messages he sent beyond some point in January can’t be decrypted on his end. 😐
Really frustrated with this, as we put a lot of trust in Element and we use messages to keep track of decisions we make, since our creative works are purely for fun. As I write this, I’m redownloading the app for what I think must be the fifth time this week. It’s a daily thing at this point.
Element, PLEASE fix your mobile app, it honestly worked quite well before the last month or so. Before then, I only had issues when my phone was insanely low on storage, and that was on me.
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.
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
- Usage Data
Privacy practices may vary, for example, based on the features you use or your age. Learn More
- Vector Creations Limited
- 135.1 MB
- Requires iOS 14.0 or later.
- Requires iPadOS 14.0 or later.
- iPod touch
- Requires iOS 14.0 or later.
English, Albanian, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Central Atlas Tamazight, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kabyle, Korean, Laotian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian Bokmål, Norwegian Nynorsk, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Silesian, Simplified Chinese, Singhalese, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Traditional Chinese, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Vlaams, Welsh
- Age Rating
- 17+ Unrestricted Web Access
- This app may use your location even when it isn’t open, which can decrease battery life.
- © 2017-2023 New Vector Ltd