Privacy is a major concern as of late, and while most of our conversations don’t warrant surveillance, you still may not want your messages read by any third party. Your messages can be gathered by companies, and the government to collect personal information. Cryptocat is a messaging service that is all about privacy by offering deluxe encryption without you even realizing that encryption is in place. The service has been around for a while in a number of forms, but is now available on iPhone for the first time. There are tons of messaging apps in the App Store, but only a select few go out of their way to offer you privacy.
Cryptocat is extremely promising on the surface as a quality alternative to those looking to secure their messages. The execution is where the app falls short as for some reason you can’t have both privacy, and an intuitive interface. The app takes awhile to figure out just how to use it, and this was confirmed by everyone I tried to message with the app. Cryptocat begins by letting you insert a conversation name, and nickname with no clarification at of what the two names tie to. You would think that you would give out your nickname to friends, but it turns out you provide the conversation name, as you’re essentially creating a temporary chat room. Once you get past that hurdle, you need to tell everyone you want to message the conversation name, and then have them all join relatively quickly.
Cryptocat automatically logs you out after about ten minutes of inactivity, and you need to create a new conversation next time. Once you get a few messages going, the app has an extreme propensity for crashing, but at least everyone in the conversation gets the crash together on a wide range of iPhone types. Since the app is all about privacy, there are no buddy lists, friend online notifications, or chat history. The app stores nothing to keep you secure, but it also makes it a hassle each time you want to restart a chat. You likely have to use another messaging app to tell anyone to come join you in the temporary session within Cryptocat. The app is also only designed for text, so it limits conversation potential even further. To use Cryptocat, all you need to do is get anyone you want to chat with in the app at the same time, have everyone stay active before you’re automatically logged out, and hope it doesn’t crash.
Cryptocat (Free, iPhone) is a good idea that is poorly executed making it one to skip, as the security isn’t worth the hassle, or poor design.