Cryptocat, Now on iPhone

Cryptocat is ready for iPhone. After a year of collaborative development, testing and tweaking, we’re finally ready to bring the world’s most privacy-loving cat to your pocket! Download Cryptocat for iPhone for free from the App Store.

We’re currently at RightsCon Silicon Valley, where we’re giving a demo and discussion regarding the new iPhone app to an audience of hundreds of technologists and civil society members. If you’re there, come find us at the Demo Room. We want to answer your questions, hear your stories, and give you Cryptocat stickers.

A new goal for accessibility.

At Cryptocat, we know that our software has made encrypted chat fun for journalists, coworkers, advocacy groups, teachers and even activists around the world who otherwise would have been stuck with Facebook, Skype or some other insecure medium. Our mission has always been on making encrypted chat fun and easy to use, first and foremost.

Over the past two years, we’ve contributed some significant improvements to client-side encryption in the browser, as part of the research that makes Cryptocat possible. Now, we’re porting our experience in fun and easy to use encrypted chat to the mobile platform, to create a client that encrypts your conversations with groups of friends without getting in your way.

Notably, Cryptocat for iPhone is a native application, and depends on native iOS APIs instead of web cryptography as is the case in other Cryptocat clients. We’re making the Cryptocat experience accessible across platforms, and porting our experience to different languages and APIs. The upcoming Cryptocat for Android will also be a fully native Android experience.

Cryptocat for iPhone uses the OTR protocol for private conversations, and our solidly maturing multiparty protocol for group conversations. With our current research into mpOTR, we hope to soon offer an upgraded global standard that brings Cryptocat’s encryption system to other platforms as well.

Simple, compatible, usable.

Cryptocat is different from other encrypted chat tools in that it doesn’t require usernames or accounts. Users enter a conversation using a one-time nickname. There are no buddy lists or account activity or account history to link back to the user. This way, Cryptocat offers a unique ephemerality that makes setting up encrypted conversations immediate and without any lasting history that can be traced back to users.

Cryptocat for iPhone works seamlessly with the existing Cryptocat clients for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera. Chat with friends and continue the conversation on the go. Join a Cryptocat conversation just by reaching into your pocket. Your friends can follow from their browser. It’s the simple, friendly, colourful and cat-filled interface that makes Cryptocat a popular and accessible choice for those who need quick access to privacy. And every message sent or received in Cryptocat is encrypted with open, tested and verifiable cryptographic standards.

An honest, experienced focus on security.

Cryptocat has developed a reputation for being one of the most transparently developed encryption projects out there. By transparent, we mean that the community is involved and allowed to review and participate in every part of our development process. Cryptocat for iPhone’s codebase solicited public review from security enthusiasts months before release. We’ve also solicited independent audits and have incorporated feedback. This helped us address many important issues before release, and is the magic of transparent, open source, free software.

We’re working on fine-tuning as more and more users report feedback. For future updates, we are looking to:

  • Redo Cryptocat’s authentication interface to make it easier for new users to understand how authentication works and why it’s important.
  • Implement long-term key storage on Cryptocat platforms to facilitate authentication and not make it required every time.
  • Focus on incremental security improvements (certificate pinning!) and soliciting feedback from users. We benefitted greatly from our UI/UX hackathon with OpenITP.

Innovate with us.

Cryptocat for iPhone’s codebase is on GitHub, completely open source, open to your ideas and open to changes and additions. Come help us create encrypted chat that is ephemeral, fun, accessible and works on every platform that can crunch two numbers together. We regularly reward developers as part of our Bug Hunt initiative, and we’re more than happy to include your contributions. Be part of a friendly community and help improve an app ecosystem already in use by more than 100,000 people.

Get an encrypted cat in your pocket!

Yes. Cats in your pocket. Doing your crypto. I mean ultimately this is what the big idea is. Cats with 100% end-to-end encryption.

Finally, please file bugs. We expect there to be at least a couple of weird bugs that we missed, and we need you to file them if we’re going to fix them. There are three known usability bugs in the 1.0 release, and we’ve already submitted an update that we hope Apple will review for release later this week/early next week. We need your help to find more bugs and to incorporate your suggestions!

A community effort.

These folks were very helpful in making Cryptocat’s first mobile foray a reality. In no particular order, they deserve our thanks:

  • Thomas Balthazar: Thomas joined Cryptocat to lead the mobile development effort, and his contributions have been central to the establishment of a mobile codebase and necessary libraries.
  • Disasterpeace: The renowned 8bit musician designed Cryptocat’s iconic audio notifications and sounds. Thanks, Rich!
  • EFF: The Electronic Frontier Foundation helped us invaluably, heroically and skillfully with dealing with some potential problems with being able to release Cryptocat for iPhone.
  • OpenITP: Helped with support, organizing meetings, and with organizing a productive UI/UX hackathon which provided a lot of research and testing material for Cryptocat for iPhone.
  • OTF: The Open Technology Fund provided vital resources for making this app possible.
  • RightsCon: Sponsored Cryptocat for iPhone’s launch and invited us to come give a demo presentation at their conference.
  • Our community of testers and contributors: Thanks to the awesome folks going through our codebase on Github and submitting over 50 contributions during the testing period.
  • dark12222000

    Looks fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to seeing this come to other platforms!

  • Jeffrey Goldberg


    A year ago I was a Cryptocat skeptic. But your willingness to seek out criticism and expertise has turned that around. So, again, congratulations!

    • kaepora

      Thanks very much!

  • Br3

    release on iOS before android , for an open source software … shame on you

  • TROWA07

    This is unfair How about android? wheres the opensource/freeware spirit here?

  • Sarah Nelson

    yeah its very good article.very well written. would like to add on to

  • Cranioex

    I study on encryption, enjoyed the software thanks

    I’m programming applications, if I see any improvement I comment on github.

    or a translation for BR.

  • Liza Jenifer

    Well! You have shared what a superb article, I really found this site helpful and informative article. I would like to say Thanks for sharing such a nice article. Keep it up.
    Portable Projector

  • Liza Jenifer

    I think it’s the basic, neighborly, beautiful and feline filled interface that makes Cryptocat a prominent and available decision for the individuals who require fast get to security. What’s more every message sent or accepted in Cryptocat is encoded with open, tried and unquestionable cryptographic measures. You have done really good job. Keep it up.