BalochApp FAQ

This FAQ provides answers to basic questions about BalochApp.

General

BalochApp Basics

Usernames

Security

Secret Chats

Your Account

Troubleshooting


General Questions

Q: What is BalochApp? What do I do here?

BalochApp is a messaging app with a focus on speed and security, it’s super fast, simple and free. You can use BalochApp on all your devices at the same time — your messages sync seamlessly across any of your phones, tablets or computers.

With BalochApp, you can send messages, photos, videos and files of any type (doc, zip, mp3, etc), as well as create groups for up to 200 people. You can write to your phone contacts and find people by their usernames. As a result, BalochApp is like SMS and email combined — and can take care of all your personal or business messaging needs.

Q: Who is BalochApp for?

BalochApp is for everyone who wants fast and reliable messaging. Business users and small teams may like the large groups, desktop apps and file sharing options. Since BalochApp groups can have up to 200 members, we support replies, mentions and hashtags that help maintain order and keep communication in large communities efficient.

In case you're more into pictures, BalochApp has animated gif search, a state of the art photo editor and an open sticker platform.

And if you want secrecy, try our device-specific Secret Chats with self-destructing messages, photos and videos — and lock your app with an additional passcode.

Q: How is BalochApp different from WhatsApp?

Unlike WhatsApp, BalochApp is cloud-based and heavily encrypted. As a result, you can access your messages from several devices at once, including tablets and computers, and share an unlimited number of photos, videos and files (doc, zip, mp3, etc) of up to 1,5 GB. Thanks to our multi-data center infrastructure and encryption, BalochApp is also faster and way more secure. On top of that, BalochApp is free and will stay free — no subscription fees.

Q: Which country is BalochApp from?

BalochApp does not belong to any country in particular. It is a global non-commercial project with contributors from all over the world.

BalochApp‘s goal is to allow everyone to get back their right to privacy. We’ve built a free non-commercial service to achieve this. The project is distributed — BalochApp servers, companies and people are spread all around the planet.

Q: What are your thoughts on internet privacy?

Big internet companies like Facebook or Google have effectively hijacked the privacy discourse in the recent years. Their marketers managed to convince the public that the most important things about privacy are superficial tools that allow hiding your online status, your public posts or your profile pictures from the people around you. Adding these superficial tools allows companies to calm down the public and change nothing in how they are turning over private data to marketers and other third parties.

At BalochApp we think that the two most important components of internet privacy should be instead:

  1. Protecting your private conversations from snooping third parties, such as officials, employers, etc.
  2. Protecting your personal data from third parties, such as marketers, advertisers, etc.

This is what everybody should care about, and these are some of our top priorities. BalochApp is a non-commercial project with an aim to create a truly free messenger, without the usual caveats. This means that instead of diverting attention with low-impact settings, we can afford to focus on the real privacy issues that exist in the modern world.

Q: Which devices are supported?

You can use BalochApp on smartphones, tablets and even computers. We have app for Android (2.2 and up). You can also use BalochApp's web version. We are also working on development of iPhone/iPad Apps, Windows Phone App and Desktop App.

You can log in to BalochApp from as many of your devices as you like — all at the same time. Just use your main mobile phone number to log in everywhere.

BalochApp Basics

Q: Who can I write to?

You can write to people, who are in your phone contacts and have BalochApp.

You can also select a public username for your BalochApp account. Other people will be able to search and find you by that username — and send messages to you even if they don't know your number. You can learn more about usernames here.

Q: How do I know, who in my contacts has BalochApp?

Your contacts, who have BalochApp, are shown at the top of your Contacts. They also have pictures.

Q: How do I invite my friends?

iPhone: The basic invitations are simple SMS messages. They will be charged as standard outgoing SMS by your carrier (unless sent via iMessage). Naturally, you have other options to bring your friends here. Try sending them a download link via any other messaging service: email, Facebook, WhatsApp, an actual BalochApp — you name it. The link: http://balochapp.com/

Android: Open the app menu (swipe right in chats list) — Invite Friends. Then choose an application via which you would like to send out invitations.
Windows Phone: Go to Contacts — Invite Friends. Then choose an application via which you would like to send out invitations.

Q: What do the green checks mean?

One check — message delivered to the BalochApp cloud and your friend has been notified, if he allows notifications.
Two checks — message read (your friend opened BalochApp and opened the conversation with the message).

We don‘t have a ’delivered to device' status for messages, because BalochApp can run on as many devices as you want. So which particular one would that check mean?

Q: How do I create a group?

iPhone: Start a new message (tap the icon in the top right corner in Chats). Then ‘New Group’.
Android: Tap the circular pencil icon in the chats list. Then ‘New Group’.
Windows Phone: Tap the “+” button on the bottom bar. Then ‘New Group’.

Q: What's a broadcast?

Broadcasts allow you to send the same message to up to 100 of your contacts at once. Unlike in a group, the recipients won't know about each other and will receive the broadcast as an ordinary message from you. Once a broadcast list has been created, it can be re-used to message the same set of contacts again.

To create a broadcast list:
iPhone: Start a new message (tap the icon in the top-right corner in Chats). Then ‘New Broadcast’.
Android: Tap the circular pencil icon in the chats list. Then ‘New Broadcast’.
Windows Phone: Tap the “+” button on the bottom bar. Then ‘New Broadcast’.

Q: Can I hide my ‘last seen’ time?

You can choose who sees this info in Privacy and Security settings (introduced in BalochApp for Android 2.0, and iOS version 2.7.2).

Remember that you won‘t see Last Seen timestamps for people with whom you don’t share your own. You will, however, see an approximate last seen value. This keeps stalkers away, but makes it possible to understand whether a person is reachable over BalochApp. There are four possible approximate values:

  • Last seen recently — covers anything between 1 second and 2-3 days
  • Last seen within a week — between 2-3 and 7 days
  • Last seen within a month — between 6-7 days and a month
  • Last seen long time ago — more than a month (this is also always shown to blocked users)

Q: Can I make calls or video calls via BalochApp?

We specialize in sending messages, large media and files — and we do this better than anyone out there.

We may enable voice calls if we see significant demand in the future. The technology necessary for encrypted calls has indeed been created in our R&D dungeons.

But for now we see many things that could still be revolutionized in messaging. And messaging is obviously trending at the moment, so our focus remains in that area for now.

Q: How can I use emoticons in BalochApp on my iPhone?

We support emoji emoticons. Simply enable the emoji keyboard in your iOS device‘s Settings (General – Keyboards – Add New Keyboard… – Emoji). Then switch to that keyboard whenever you’re out of words.

Usernames

Q: What are usernames? How do I get one?

You can set up a public username on BalochApp. It then becomes possible for other users to find you by that username — you will appear in contacts search under ‘global results’. Please note that people who find you will be able to send you messages, even if they don't know your number. If you are not comfortable with this, we advise against setting up a username in BalochApp.

Usernames and search by username are supported in most of the official apps — you can set up a username in Settings.

Q: What can I use as my username?

You can use a-z, 0-9 and underscores. Usernames are case-insensitive, but BalochApp will store your capitalization preferences (e.g. balochapp and BalochApp is the same user). The username must be at least 5 characters long.

Q: Do I need a username?

You don‘t have to get one. Remember that BalochApp usernames are public and choosing a username on BalochApp makes it possible for people to find you in global search and send you messages even if they don’t have your number. If you are not comfortable with this, we advise against setting up a username.

Q: If someone finds me by username, messages and I reply — will they know my number?

No. Neither party will see another‘s phone number. This is similar to the case when you message a person who you’ve met in a BalochApp group.

There is one exception to this: just as in case of all BalochApp messages, if you have somebody‘s number saved as a contact and you send them a message, your number also becomes visible to them. Just like with SMS. This happens regardless of how you open the conversation with that person — via the contacts menu, global search by username, or from a group’s members page.

Q: How do I delete my username?

Go to Settings and save an empty username. This will remove your username, people will no longer be able to find you via search. This will not affect existing conversations.

Security

Q: How secure is BalochApp?

BalochApp is more secure than mass market messengers like WhatsApp and Line. We are based on the MTProto protocol, built upon time-tested algorithms to make security compatible with high speed delivery and reliability on weak connections. We are continuously working with the community to improve the security of our protocol and clients.

Q: What if I’m more paranoid than your regular user?

We've got you covered. BalochApp’s special secret chats use end-to-end encryption, leave no trace on our servers, support self-destructing messages and don’t allow forwarding. About the only thing secret chats don’t have is cloud storage — they can only be accessed on their devices of origin.

Q: So how do you encrypt data?

We support two layers of secure encryption. Server-client encryption is used in Cloud Chats (private and group chats), Secret Chats use an additional layer of client-client encryption. All data, regardless of type, is encrypted in the same way — be it text, media or files.

Our encryption is based on 256-bit symmetric AES encryption, RSA 2048 encryption and Diffie–Hellman secure key exchange.

Q: Do I need to trust BalochApp for this to be secure?

When it comes to secret chats, you don‘t — just make sure that the visualized key of your secret chat matches the one in your friend’s secret chat settings.

Q: Can BalochApp protect me against everything?

BalochApp can help when it comes to data transfer and secure communication. This means that all data (including media and files), that you send and receive via BalochApp, cannot be deciphered when intercepted by your ISP, network administrator or other third parties.

But please remember that we cannot protect you from your own mother if she takes your phone. Or from your IT-department if they access your computer at work. Or from any other people that get physical or root access to your phones or computers running BalochApp.

If you have reasons to worry about your personal security, we strongly recommend using only Secret Chats in official app for sensitive information, preferably with a self-destruct timer. And don't root or jailbreak your phone.

Q: Why can jailbroken and rooted devices be dangerous?

Using a rooted or jailbroken device makes it easier for a potential attacker to gain full administrative control over your device — root access.

A user with root access can easily bypass security features built into the operating system, read process memory or access restricted areas, such as the internal storage. Once an attacker has root access, any efforts to mitigate threats become futile. No application can be called safe under these circumstances, no matter how strong the encryption.

Secret Chats

Q: How are secret chats different?

Secret chats are meant for people who want more secrecy than the average fella. All messages in secret chats use end-to-end encryption. This means only you and the recipient can read those messages — nobody else can decipher them, including us here at BalochApp. Messages cannot be forwarded from secret chats. And when you delete messages on your side of the conversation, the app on the other side of the secret chat will be ordered to delete them as well.

You can order your messages, photos, videos and files to self-destruct in a set amount of time after they have been read or opened by the recipient. The message will then disappear from both your and your friend's devices.

All secret chats in BalochApp are device-specific and are not part of the BalochApp cloud. This means, you can only access messages in a secret chat from their device of origin.

Q: How do I start a secret chat?

iOS: Start a new message (tap the icon in the top-right corner in Messages). Then ‘New secret chat’.
Android: Swipe right to open menu, then ‘New secret chat’.
WP: Tap + in the chats list, then ‘New secret chat’.

Remember that secret chats are device-specific. If you start a secret chat with a friend on one of your devices, this chat will only be available on that device. If you log out, you will lose all your secret chats. You can create as many different secret chats with the same contact as you like.

Q: How do self-destructing messages work?

The Self-Destruct Timer is available for Secret Сhats only. To set the timer, simply tap the clock icon (in the input field on iOS, top bar on Android, chat info page on WP), then Set Self-Destruct Timer to a desired time limit. The timer is applied to a message the moment it is displayed on the recipient's screen (two green checks). As soon as the time runs out, the message disappears from both devices and leaves no trace.

Photos sent with short self-destruct timers (< 1 minute) can only be viewed while you're holding your finger on them — and we will notify both parties whenever a screenshot is taken.

Please note that the timer only applies to messages that are sent after the timer was set. It has no effect on earlier messages.

Q: What‘s this ’Encryption Key' thing?

When a secret chat is created, the participating devices exchange encryption keys using the so called Diffie-Hellman key exchange. After the secure end-to-end connection has been established, we generate a picture that visualizes the encryption key for your chat. You can then compare this image with the one your friend has — if the two images are the same, you can be sure that the secret chat is secure and no man-in-the-middle attack can possibly succeed.

Always compare pictures using a channel that is known to be secure — it's safest if you do this in person, when meeting offline in the real world out there.

Q: Why not just make all chats ‘secret’?

While all BalochApp messages are always securely encrypted, messages in Secret Chats use client-client encryption, while cloud chats use client-server/server-client encryption and are stored securely encrypted in the BalochApp Cloud. This enables your cloud messages to be both secure and immediately accessible from any of your devices, you can also easily find them using server search — which is very useful at times.

The idea behind BalochApp is to bring something more secure to the masses, who understand nothing about security and want none of it. Being merely secure is not enough to achieve this — you also need to be fast, powerful and user friendly. This allows BalochApp to be widely adopted in broad circles, not just by activists and dissidents, so that the simple fact of using BalochApp does not mark users as targets for heightened surveillance in certain countries.

Your Account

Q: How do I log out?

Remember, that you can use BalochApp on as many devices at the same time, as you like. If you log out, you don't lose your cloud messages. However, you will lose all your Secret Chats and all messages inside them when you log out. Note that logging out doesn‘t trigger remote deletion of your secret chat messages on your partner’s device — to do that, choose ‘clear history’ first.

iPhone: Go to Settings, then Edit, then Log out.
Android, Windows Phone: Go to Settings, then Log out.

Q: How do I change my phone number?

You can change your number in BalochApp and keep everything, including all your contacts, messages and media from the BalochApp cloud, as well as all your Secret Chats on all devices.

Your mutual contacts (people in your contacts, who also have your number) will get your new number added to your contact in their address book unless you have blocked them in BalochApp. This makes changing numbers even easier.

To change your number, go to Settings, then tap on your phone number (just above the username), then ‘Change Number’.

Q: How does account self-destruction work?

BalochApp is not a commercial organization and we value our disk space greatly. If you stop using BalochApp and do not login for at least 6 months, your account will be deleted along with all messages, media, contacts and every other piece of data you store in the BalochApp cloud. You can change the exact period after which your inactive account will self-destruct in Settings.

Q: My phone was stolen. What do I do?

First of all, sorry about your phone. Unfortunately, the phone number is the only way for us to identify a BalochApp user at the moment. We don‘t collect additional information about you, so whoever has the number, has the account. This means, we can’t wipe your data, unless you have access to your BalochApp account from at least one of your devices. Note that the account will automatically self-destruct after a period of inactivity.

Things will get better when we will have introduced additional passwords for BalochApp accounts, but for now you'll need to follow these steps:

  1. First and foremost, you need to contact your phone provider, so that they block your old SIM and issue a new one with your number.
  2. If you are logged in to BalochApp on any of your other devices, go to Settings — Terminate all other sessions. This will log out all other devices. If the old SIM has been blocked by this time, nobody can access your data. You can resume ordinary BalochApp usage.
  3. If you are not logged in to BalochApp, wait till you receive your new SIM with the old number, log in to BalochApp, then go to Settings — Terminate all other sessions.
Removing sensitive data

Common thieves usually throw out the SIM card immediately (the phone is harder to locate this way), then they wipe the devices and sell them, so there isn't much risk for the data in case of regular petty theft. But if you have reasons to worry about the data on the device, it is best that you wipe it remotely. You can read more about it here: Apple iOS, Android. Unfortunately this requires you to have prepared in advance for this scenario.


Troubleshooting

Login and SMS

Please make sure you are entering your mobile phone number in the international format. I.e.: +(country code)(city or carrier code)(your number).

If you are having registration or login problems, please contact us using this form.

Notification problems

iPhone:

  1. Go to BalochApp Settings — Notifications and Sounds, make sure that notifications are ON in BalochApp.
  2. Check that notifications are ON in phone Settings.
  3. Check, whether contact or group is muted.
  4. Shut down BalochApp (go to home screen, double tap home button, kill BalochApp (swipe upwards), then go to phone settings, set alert style for BalochApp to NONE. Relaunch BalochApp, go to phone settings, set alert style back to banners.

Android:

We currently have two types of notifications on Android: GCM and our own custom notification service that is independent from Google. Note that Google notifications (GCM) just won‘t work properly on some Android devices. The BalochApp notification service is reliable, but requires additional battery resources. It doesn’t and shouldn't take much though, so please report all drastic battery-draining cases immediately.

  1. Go to BalochApp Settings — Notifications and Sounds, make sure that notifications are ON.
  2. Check, whether contact or group is muted.
  3. If the BalochApp Notifications Service is disabled, make sure Google Play Services are installed on your phone.

Windows Phone:

  1. Go to BalochApp Settings — Notifications and Sounds, make sure that notifications are ON in BalochApp.
  2. Check that notifications are ON in phone Settings.
  3. Check, whether contact or group is muted.
  4. Shut down BalochApp (hold back button, kill BalochApp (swipe downwards), then go to phone settings, notifications and actions, deactivate BalochApp. Relaunch BalochApp, go to phone settings, notifications and actions, set alert back to ON.

Problems with contacts

If you know your friends have BalochApp, but you can't see them — or they appear as numbers instead of names.

iPhone:

  1. Force quit the app (double tap home button, then swipe up on BalochApp), then relaunch and check if it helped.
  2. If that doesn't help, temporarily change the name of the contact in phone contacts (add a few symbols, then change back again).
  3. If that doesn’t work, re-login: Settings – Edit – Log Out. Remember that logging out kills all your Secret Chats. Then log in again.

Android:

  1. Make sure you are using the latest version of the app.
  2. Relaunch the app (by terminating it from processes list and launching again).
  3. Temporarily change the name of the contact in phone contacts (add a few symbols, then change back again).
  4. If that didn't help, try to re-login.

Windows Phone:

  1. Make sure you are using the latest version of the app.
  2. Relaunch the app (hold back button, swipe downwards to kill BalochApp, then launch again).
  3. Temporarily change the name of the contact in phone contacts (add a few symbols, then change back again).
  4. If that didn't help, try to re-login.

Where did my Secret Chat messages go?

Secret Chats are established between the two devices they were created on. This means that all those messages are not available in the cloud and cannot be accessed on other devices.

Moreover, Secret Chats are also tied to your current login session on the device. If you log out and in again, you will lose all your Secret Chats.

Can't send photos or set profile pictures — iPhone

Please make sure BalochApp has access to your Photos.
Go to your iPhone's Settings — Privacy, then find BalochApp in the list and set in to ON.