How to encrypt instant messages and SMS on your smartphone with android system.
⇔ (Alternative: Read this article in german / Alternativ: Lies diesen Artikel auf deutsch)
This is a step-by-step manual with all the necessary steps that you shall take in order to secure quickly and efficiently your private conversations you do via your smartphone (logically I do not mean here the instant messaging imposition like e.g. WhatsApp). In general, those who install a new app want to be able to use it straight away. For this reason are all the individual steps in this manual kept short and simple*.
The following steps are necessary for both of the categories – classic SMS and instant messaging.
- Go to Settings > Security and activate the option »unknown origin«.
- Using one browser go to https://f-droid.org website.
- Once on the website click on the blue icon (button) »Download F-Droid« and confirm the requests asking you if you want to download the FDroid.apk with clicking on »Download«.
- Open the file via download register – or via pulling down the status bar and clicking on the just downloaded file – and install the F-Droid App (F-Droid is an additional source that »only« offers open and free of charge software).
- After installing the F-Droid file please update the F-Droid repositories: Open the new F-Droid app installed and press once the »circle with an arrow in the middle« (it is recommended to do this every now and then so the app stays up to date).
- DONE! The basics are ready and now you can proceed with installing both apps – Conversations & Silence!
SMS (with Silence)
Be able to write end-to-end encrypted SMS thanks to the Silence App.
- Open the F-Droid app and press once the »circle with an arrow in the middle« to run the update of the apps repositories.
- Use the magnifying glass icon to search for the Silence App. Click on the app and proceed with its installment.
- Open the Silence App after having it installed. Now you will be asked if the Silence app shall be set as the new default app for any future handling and replace this way the currently used (standard) SMS-App. This shall be accepted – set Silence as your new default SMS app!*
- DONE! From now on all the SMS you write will be (end-to-end) encrypted.
Messaging (with Conversations & Jabber/XMPP)
Be able to write end-to-end encrypted instant messages thanks to the Conversations App via the Jabber/XMPP-Protocol.
- The first step is to create a Jabber-ID. Using a browser on your smartphone (or any other device), please search for the web address https://www.jabber.de/anmeldung and create a new Jabber-ID*. Important: Don´t forget to write down your Jabber-ID and its corresponding password!
- Open the F-Droid App. Click on the »circle icon with an arrow in the middle« to update the repositories. Now you can search for the Conversations App using the magnifying glass icon. Click on it and install the Conversations App.
- Open the newly installed application. When opened for the first time, there should appear a window. In the right bottom corner are visible two options: »Create account« and »Use your own provider«. Please choose the latter of those two and enter the previously created Jabber-ID and the password.
- DONE! Conversations App is now linked to your private Jabber-Account and you are technically ready to write as well as to receive end-to-end encrypted messages incl. pictures & co.
The first steps in Conversations
- After the registration procedure you will be able to see a window with all your current messages/conversations – and because you haven’t been active yet this window is at the moment empty. Neither your contacts are anywhere to be seen. These have to be added one by one manually. This is easily done – Just click on the ›+‹, than on ›+ person- icon‹ in the top right corner of the screen.
- A new window will pop up and you can register under »Jabber-ID« the address (if you already know it) of the person you would like to add to your contact list*.
- Once you have added the new contact on your list you can start sending messages. The original pre-default setting of the messages is always on »not encrypted«. You can recognize it through the »open lock« icon at the top of the window bar. It can stay so for the first »Hello!«
- Send a message to your new contact. As soon as the contacted person receive your message there will be a pop up questions on his/hers screen asking if the person shall be added to the own Jabber contact list. This shall be confirmed with clicking on »Yes«.
- Once both sides of the conversations have been connected, it is important to change the setting of the messages into an encrypted format. Click on the »lock«-icon. A scroll down menu will open, choose the corresponding encryption option: OMEMO!
- From now on is the further exchange of messages secured with a modern end-to-end encryption method, which is adapted to Jabber/XMPP. You can recognize an encrypted communication by checking the lock icon in the bar at the top of your screen. Now, as you can see, the lock is closed, also the lock icon on the incoming messages in the »news bubble« is the same (the own messages are marked as encrypted with a »checkmark« sign) and there is also a corresponding comment in the text field saying »send message encrypted with OMEMO«.
- It is still recommended to adjust the settings of conversations.
Have fun with Silence and Conversations and enjoy your new freedom! Help others and/or share this article if you like it: