As part of the latest version 3.0, SimpleX is expanding its protocol and associated apps. It is a chat software whose users can remain completely anonymous – the users explicitly do not have a unique global identity such as a telephone number or e-mail address.
The developers put a lot of work into the client applications: the chat database can now be exported and imported again on another device. However, the project points out that users cannot use the same profile simultaneously or alternately on different clients. Furthermore, the database file is currently not encrypted – but such internal encryption is to be included in the future.
Anonymous iOS notifications
There is also an important new function for iOS, because the push notifications are finished. Sounds simple, but data protection is also the top priority here: The notifications do not contain any information about contacts or the content of the chat – not even in encrypted form, so that no data ends up on Apple’s servers. Furthermore, a dedicated server is responsible for the notifications without having access to the actual notifications – and accordingly no conclusions can be drawn about users through correlated data traffic.
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Although the iOS notifications made changes to the SimpleX protocol necessary, it remains fully compatible with version 1.0.0: When communicating with an older client, the software simply switches to the latest common version of the protocol. In addition, SimpleX 3.0 should transmit messages much faster and require less computing power from the client.
Not done yet: WebRTC video calling
The new end-to-end encrypted video calls based on WebRTC are still in an early stage. The connection is established via a SimpleX relay server or directly peer-to-peer. In the future, users will optionally be able to configure their own servers for this purpose. All information about the update can be found in the release notes.
SimpleX only started with version 1.0.0 at the beginning of 2022, and the project provided apps for iOS and Android alongside the terminal application in March. Both the server and client programs appear as open source software. SimpleX differs from other free chat platforms such as Matrix in particular by the fact that it does not have a central identity, which the developers do not guarantee the anonymity of the users.