How secure are Threema calls?
Threema calls are as secure as Threema messages. Just like Threema messages, voice calls and video calls are end-to-end encrypted. The call connection is established using Threema messages in the background; therefore, Threema calls are just as trustworthy as chats, and the same verification levels apply.
Instead of a phone number, the Threema ID is used as unique identifier. This allows you to make end-to-end encrypted voice or video calls without disclosing your phone number.
Learn more about Threema calls here.
Threema calls impress with crystal-clear voice quality and brilliant video quality. Since they are end-to-end encrypted, they are tap-proof. Instead of a phone number, the Threema ID serves as unique identifier.
- The call connection is established using Threema messages in the background; therefore, voice calls are just as trustworthy as chats, and the same verification levels apply
- If possible, a direct connection between caller and callee is established (peer to peer) after the connection buildup*
verification level 1 (red) IDs are routed through the Threema server in order to obscure the IP address (in “Settings > Threema Calls,” there’s an option to route all calls through the Threema server)*
- Because a constant bit rate is used for audio encoding, no conclusions about the content can be drawn from the size of the transmitted data packets*
- Video transmission is an option of Threema calls that can be enabled at any time during an ongoing call. Once a Threema call is established, both parties can independently enable and disable video transmission by tapping the camera icon.
- Thanks to Threema’s contact verification, Man-in-the-Middle attacks can be effectively prevented, and there’s no need to manually verify a code for the purpose of authentication
*) Only applies to 1:1 calls, not to group calls.
For detailed technical information in regard to Threema calls’ security, please refer to the Cryptography Whitepaper.
The following system requirements must be met by both the caller’s and the callee’s device:
- Voice calls: Threema 4.22 for Android or above on Android 4.1 or above
- Video calls: Threema 4.4 for Android or above on Android 4.4 or above
- To receive calls when Threema is in the background, Google Play Services are required.
- iPhone: Threema 3.0 for iOS or above (voice calls) or Threema 4.6 for iOS or above (video calls) on an iPhone 5s or above running on iOS 10 or above
- iPad: Threema 3.0 for iOS or above (voice calls) or Threema 4.6 for iOS or above (video calls) on an iPad Pro, an iPad Air, a 5th-generation iPad or above, or a 2nd-generation iPad Mini 2 or above running on iOS 10 or above
- iPod touch: Threema 3.0 for iOS or above (voice calls) or Threema 4.6 for iOS or above (video calls) on a 6th-generation iPod touch or later running on iOS 10 or above
Group calls require Threema 5.0 for Android or above.
Establish a voice call
Select the desired contact in your contact list and tap the phone icon in the title bar (Android), or tap “Call” (iOS). Alternatively, tap the phone icon in a chat’s title bar (Android) or tap on the title bar in a chat, and then on the phone icon (iOS).
Video transmission can be enabled at any time during an ongoing call. Once a Threema call is established, both parties can independently enable and disable video transmission by tapping the camera icon. This is to say that it’s possible to conduct one-way video calls.
Please note that the system requirements must be met by both the caller’s and the callee’s device in order to make voice or video calls.
Group calls in Threema are end-to-end encrypted and currently available for up to 16 participants. An invitation URL is not necessary, and the members of a group chat can decide whether to join a call or not.
- To start a group call, tap on the camera icon in the top right corner of the desired group chat
- All group chat members with an Android device will receive a push notification that informs them of the call
- Members can join the call by tapping “Join” in the notification, in the group chat, or in the chat overview
- The group call will continue until the last participant has left the call
Group calls are routed through a server, which obscures the IP address of the participants amongst one another. To make sure participants hear in real time what others are saying (i.e., the delay is as short as possible), media routers outside of Switzerland may be used. Learn more…
Completely disable Threema calls: Navigate to Threema > Settings > Threema Calls and disable “Threema Calls.”
If you disable Threema calls, no one can call you via Threema, and you can’t call anyone.
Don’t allow video calls: Navigate to Threema > Settings > Threema Calls and disable “Allow Video Calls.”
If you don’t allow video calls, no one can send their video to you, and your can’t send anyone you video.
Don’t allow group calls: Navigate to Threema > Settings > Secure Calls and disable “Enable group calls.”
If you hear your own voice as an echo during voice calls, the echo cancellation doesn't work correctly on your call partner’s device, and the sound from the earpiece is sent back to you through the microphone.
Please ask your call partner to change the Echo Cancellation in About Threema > Troubleshooting (form “Hardware echo cancellation” to “Software echo cancellation” or vice versa).
Ringing: The phone is ringing at the recipient’s end.
Busy: The recipient either rejected your call or is already talking on the phone to someone else.
Pickup: A connection has been established; you can talk to the callee.
Hangup: The connection was dropped.
Problem: The connection has been interrupted; an attempt to re-establish the connection is in progress.
The image quality of video calls depends on the available bandwidth and the settings of your call partner. In case of a poor network connection, the image quality is automatically lowered.
The preferred image quality can be adjusted in Threema > Settings > Video Calls > Preferred Image Quality. The following options are available:
- Balanced (Recommended): High image quality in Wi-Fi, reduced data consumption in the mobile network
- Low Data Consumption: Reduced image quality
- Maximum Quality: Warning: This setting can cause considerable data consumption!
If you and your call partner prefer a different image quality, the lower quality will be used. If, for example, you have set Maximum Quality as preferred image quality, this image quality will only be used if your call partner has also set Maximum Quality as preferred image quality.
The quality of video calls depends on various factors. The most important factor is the available bandwidth of the caller and callee . If you experience problems with the transmission of the videos when conducting Threema calls, please connect both smartphones to a different network (e.g., to another Wi-Fi network or to the mobile network) for testing purposes.
On Android, media codecs might also cause problems. Media codecs are software components of your smartphone’s operating system that process incoming and outgoing video data streams and generate visible image sequences based on them.
In Threema, change the used codecs used in “Settings > About Threema > Troubleshooting > Video codecs.” Please use “Software codecs,” and test if the problem persists using this setting. The setting becomes active when conducting the next calls, it is not necessary to restart the app or your device. However, using software codecs can slightly increase your device’s energy consumption during video calls.
Threema calls don’t work properly if there are certain kinds of network restrictions.
- If you use security measures like a firewall, antivirus software, an ad blocker, or a VPN , please make sure that Threema is excluded from their activities.
- Make sure that you are not connected to the guest profile of the local Wi-Fi router; many routers do not allow certain connections for guests.
- If you have only tried one network, please attempt to make a call using a different network (e.g. cellular data).
- If the problem only occurs when calling specific contacts, please check their verification level. When calling contcats of the verification level 1 (red), calls are routed through the Threema server to disguise the IP addresses. In rare cases, this may lead to connectivity issues. Therefore, increase the verification level by scanning the contact’s QR code or using the contact synchronization.
- If you use one or both of the following options, please deactivate them to try if that resolves the issue:
- “Threema > Settings > Threema Calls > Always relay calls”
- “Threema > Settings > About Threema > Troubleshooting > IPv6 for calls and web” (Android), respectively “Threema > Settings > Advanced > IPv6” (iOS).
If this symptom occurs, either push notifications aren’t working properly on your contact’s phone, or there is a problem concerning background activity.