Installation and configuration of Monal

Monal is a good choice if you want to use an XMPP account on your iPhone or iPad. You can get Monal from the App Store (external).

Monal has some nice feature:

  • encrypted chats
  • sending and receiving files/pictures
  • recording and sending/receiving voice messages
  • Sending your geolocation

Monal does currently not offer

  • encrypted groupchats
  • audio- and videocalls

Registering an XMPP account

At first you should register an XMPP address (if you do not already have one). You have the choice between a lot of different XMPP providers. Your XMPP address will be the username you choose followed by the @-sign and the domain of the chosen provider.

Some examples for XMPP providers are:

  • magicbroccoli.de: Registration (external)
  • trashserver.net: Registration (external)
  • wiuwiu.de: Registration (externer Link)
  • You can also choose a provider by looking at this list: (external)

Starting Monal for the first time

After downloading Monal from the App Store you can start it by clicking the Monal icon. At first Monal asks you if it is allowed to send notifications. You should allow Monal to do so. Monal will show you some welcome screen which you can skip. Afterwards, you have to enter your XMPP address, your password and finish these steps by clicking Login. Please keep in mind that in this tutorial the XMPP address testuser@eversten.net is used as an example account.

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Now you have the possibility to adjust some privacy settings. If you do not want to change anything you can just close this page. Afterwards, you have to close the welcome screen. You are now in the chatview of Monal. Since this is a new account there are no old conversations available.

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Your XMPP address is now configured to be used in Monal. In the next section I will describe how to add your first contact.

Adding your first contact

Now it is time to add your first contact (if you already know an XMPP address of another person). In this tutorial the contact friend@eversten.net will be added.

Please click on the icon (showing two persons) at the top right of the screen. You are now in the contacts view. Here you can add new contact by clicking the +-icon. Now, select Add new Contact or Channel.

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You have to enter the XMPP address of your new contact. In this example the XMPP address friend@eversten.net is used. You have to confirm the address by selecting Add Contact or Channel. Monal will open a chat window for this contact. You can change the display name of your contact by clicking on the name at the top of the screen. A new window will appear where you can change the display name. I changed friend to my friend in this example. You finish this procedure by selecting close.

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Please be aware that your contact list and the names of your contact are stored on the XMPP server. This means that your contact list is synchronized between your devices which use this XMPP account.

Enabling encryption

When you are in the chat view you can see a lock icon at the top right of the screen. This lock indicates whether your new messages will be encrypted or not. An open lock indicates that encryption is disabled. Every new chat is not encrypted by default. Therefore, you have to enable the encryption manually by selection the lock icon.

Sometimes it is not directly possible to enable the encryption (maybe because your contact has not added you to his/her contact list, …). The screenshots show the three situations:

  • left: encryption disabled
  • center: encryption enabled
  • right: It is actually not possible to retrieve the keys of your chat partner

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I recommend to enable encryption as soon as you start new chats.

Conclusion

Congratulations. You have registered and XMPP address, installed an XMPP client and optimized the configuration settings. If you do not like Monal and switch to a different app you can use the same XMPP account. You just need to know your XMPP address and you password.