What are private chats and how can I use them?
With private chats, you can protect individual chats and hide them from the chat list. This way, confidential chats are protected from prying eyes. Push notifications for new messages in a private chat contain neither a message preview nor the name of the sender.
Navigate to “Threema > Settings > Security > Locking mechanism,” and select “PIN,” “System Screen Lock,” or “Biometric.”
To mark a chat as private, tap and hold the chat, and select “Mark as private chat.” When attempting to access the chat, the selected locking mechanism (see above) comes into play.
To hide all private chats, tap on the menu icon in the chat list, and choose “Hide private chats.” To show all hidden chats, choose “Show hidden chats” in the chat list’s menu, and enter the PIN.
Navigate to “Threema > Settings > Passcode Lock,” turn passcode on, and enter a passcode. If you additionally turn on the Touch ID or Face ID option, your fingerprint or Face ID will unlock your private chats instead of the passcode.
To mark a chat as private, swipe right on the chat, tap on the lock icon, and select “Mark as Private.” To access the chat, the passcode, fingerprint, or Face ID is needed.
To hide all private chats, go to “Settings > Privacy” and activate the “Hide Private Chat” option. To show all hidden chats, deactivate the “Hide Private Chats” option in the Settings and enter the passcode.
Threema offers the following basic features for both single chats and group chats:
- Send text and voice messages
- Make voice and video calls
- Conduct group calls*
- Share photos, videos, animated GIFs, and locations
- Send files of any type
- Use Threema on the desktop
- Create polls
- Silently agree or disagree with received messages
- Hide confidential chats and password-protect them with a PIN or your
- Use Threema Safe to anonymously backup your most important Threema data
- Choose between dark and light theme
- Use Threema on tablets and devices without a SIM card
- Verify your contacts via QR code
- Add text formatting to messages
- Create distribution lists*
- Chat completely anonymously – no phone number required
- Contact sync is optional
- Quote text messages
- Pin chats
Special features of the Threema Work app:
*) Currently only available in Threema for Android.
Threema allows to create a poll right inside a chat. No need to write back and forth when considering several options – initiate a poll with a few taps, and get a useful overview of the received votes.
- Android: In a chat, tap the paperclip icon, and select “Poll”
- iOS: In a chat, tap the plus sign next to the text-input field, and select “Create Poll”
Check out the promo video.
- In a single or group chat, tap and hold a received message to invoke the context menu
- To agree or disagree with the selected message, tap “agree / thumbs up” or “disagree / thumbs down,” respectively
In Threema, text can be formatted bold, italic, and crossed out. To format text, simply enclose it in the appropriate character:
This FAQ article covers the QR code that can be displayed in the app (and is used to confirm a contact’s identity and add their Threema ID at the same time; green verification level), not to be confused with the QR code on threema.id websites (which can only be used to add contacts; red verification level).
Scanning QR codes is a means for confirming contacts’ identities. That way, man-in-the-middle attacks can be effectively prevented: If you receive a message from a confirmed contact (i.e., verification level 3), you can be sure that it wasn’t spoofed or read by a third party (provided said contact’s device wasn’t stolen or hacked). On top of that, scanning someone’s QR code is a convenient way of adding them to your contact list without having to manually enter their ID.
Display your own QR code
- Navigate to the “My Profile” tab and tap the QR code icon
Scan a contact’s QR code
- Android: in the Contacts tab, tap the “New contact” button, and select “Scan ID”
- iOS: Threema > My Profile > camera icon in the top right corner
If you are having trouble scanning a QR code, please make sure the camera is not too close (below 10 in/25 cm), which might prevent it from focussing.
To save a chat outside of Threema, you can export it as an encrypted ZIP file (which will contain the chat as text file and, optionally, all media files). Please note that exported chats cannot be imported into Threema again; to
transfer your chats to another device (or to restore them later on the current device), use a data backup.
To export a chat, please proceed as follows:
- Android: In the chat list, tap and hold a chat, and then tap the “Share” button. You can save or send the chat as an encrypted ZIP file using your installed apps.
- iOS: In a chat’s detail view, tap “Export Chat.” To open a chat’s detail view, open the chat, tap on the contact’s name, and then on the contact’s profile picture.
Chat exports are encrypted using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Therefore, a modern file archiver, such as The Unarchiver for macOS or 7-Zip for Windows, is required to unpack a chat export. Some other apps don’t recognize the encryption and return an error message stating that the provided password is incorrect (even though you have entered the password correctly).
Use Threema to send files of any type (PDF, animated GIF, MP3, DOC, ZIP, etc.). Just like all other messages, files are end-to-end encrypted. The maximum file size is 100 MB (it might, however, not be possible to send large files on older devices due to insufficient memory). To avoid compression of an image or video, you can send it as a file. Please note: if you send an image as a file, its EXIF tags (possibly containing information such as the date and location the image was taken) are preserved.
Android: In a chat, tap on the paperclip icon, and select “File.”
iOS: In a chat, tap on the “+,” and select “Share File.” Due to restrictions of iOS regarding the file system, you can only access content of apps that support file sharing.
Threema is available in a light and a dark theme. You can switch between the two themes here:
Settings > Appearance > Design theme
To quote a text message, tap and hold it until the context menu appears. There, tap the quotation mark icon, and the quoted message will show up above the text input field. You can also swipe right to quote a message. Then, compose and send your message like you usually would. In the chat, the quoted message is indented and prepended to your new message so that it’s evident what you are referring to.
It’s not possible to set up a Threema ID on multiple devices at the same time. You can, however, use the desktop app or the web client to connect to the device on which your Threema ID is set up.
A multi-device solution that meets Threema’s strict security and privacy requirements is currently in development; this blog post provides an architectural overview for technically inclined readers.
The only way to use Threema simultaneously on multiple devices is to set up different Threema IDs on each device and create groups containing those IDs as well as the desired chat partner’s ID. Learn more…
If there are unresolved issues in a chat, you can use the “pin” feature to create a visual reminder. Pinned chats always stay on top of the chat list and are marked with a yellow bar. On Android, there is also a pin icon displayed:
- Android/iOS: In the chat overview, swipe from left to right on a chat to (un)pin it
- Desktop app / web client: Open the desired chat, and tap the pin icon in the top right corner to (un)pin it
In the chat overview, swipe from right to left on a chat to archive it (on iOS devices, you additionally have to tap on the gray button with the box icon). The chat will be removed from the chat overview, but not deleted.
To access your archived chats, scroll to the end of the chat overview, and tap the button “X archived chats” (Android) or “Archived Chats” (iOS).
In order to move an archived chat from the archive back to the chat overview, proceed as follows:
- Android: Tap and hold the chat until the action icons appear in the title bar. There, tap the icon next to the trash-bin icon.
- iOS: Swipe left on a chat and tap on the gray button with the box icon.
You can send GIFs just like you send other images: in a chat, tap the paperclip icon (Android) or the plus sign (iOS), and select the GIF you would like to send.
Another possibility to send GIFs is to copy them from an app or website and paste them in the text input field.
For privacy reasons, there’s no GIF platform integrated into Threema. However, users can, of course, use third-party GIF keyboards to retrieve GIFs directly in Threema.