Beeper FAQ

Beeper is constantly evolving - we release new features every week. This information is up-to-date as of January 2023.

Have a different question? Send us an email or chat with our technical support team inside Beeper.

General

What is Beeper?

Beeper is a universal chat app. With Beeper, you can send and receive messages to friends, family and colleagues on 15 different chat networks, all from a single app. Beeper is free to use, with optional paid subscription. You can use Beeper on all your devices at the same time — your messages sync seamlessly across all of your iPhones, Androids, iPads and computers.

Our approach to chat is different that the other big chat apps. Chat is our only business. We love chat and are 100% dedicated to making the best chat app on earth. Read more in our manifesto on chat.

We release a new version of Beeper every week! Check out our app changelog

How does Beeper Work?

Beeper consists of two main components:

  • A client app that runs on your devices.
  • A web service run by Beeper.

Client apps are available for many platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows, Mac OS, Linux and Chrome OS. We are considering releasing a webapp in the future.

Beeper’s web service consists of a Matrix homeserver and infrastructure to run open source bridges that connect to 15 different chat networks.

How much does Beeper cost to use?

Beeper is free to use. We will also have an optional paid subscription called Beeper Plus, which includes additional features like larger chat history backup, access to unlimited network connections, and more.

For now, everyone has access to all the features of Beeper Plus for free. At some point in 2023, we will begin charging $5-10 per month for Beeper Plus. We will give you a warning before that begins and switch everyone by default to the free plan.

What is Matrix and how is it related to Beeper?

We hate the idea of private, siloed chat networks and do not want to contribute to the problem. So we decided to build Beeper on top of the open source chat protocol called Matrix - an open network for secure, decentralized communication. Technically, Matrix is open decentralised pubsub layer for the internet for securely persisting and publishing/subscribing JSON objects (reference).

When you create an account on Beeper, in addition to unifying 14+ chat networks into one app, you are also gaining access to chat with people on the Matrix network.

We love being part of Matrix community and give back by contributing financially to the Matrix project, upstreaming fixes and open sourcing all of our bridges.

What is a bridge?

A bridge is software that relays individual chat messages between Beeper and other chat networks. It is necessary because all other chat networks use proprietary protocols. Everything would be a lot simpler if other chat apps used a standardized chat protocol like Matrix!

Bridges do not store a copy of your chat history. Instead, bridges are designed to be nearly stateless. Their sole purpose is to receive and relay messages. You can read and review the code for all Beeper bridges because they are all open source.

For security and privacy, Beeper never stores a copy of any chat network passwords. Instead, each bridge stores a unique token that can be used to send and receive messages on your behalf. You can revoke this token at any time, and Beeper will no longer be able to send or receive messages.

What does Beeper's web service do?

Beeper's web service provides encrypted chat history backup, interconnections to other chat networks and fast push notifications to mobile devices like iPhone and Android.

For those who prefer not to use the default web service that we offer, it is possible to self-host the majority of the Beeper backend yourself. We open sourced all our bridges. You can read more about our open source projects and learn how to self-host Beeper at github.com/beeper/self-host.

Which chat features does Beeper support?

Our goal is for Beeper to support most of the features that you use on a daily basis on chat apps like WhatsApp, iMessage and Telegram. Beeper supports all the core features like sending/receiving messages, adding a new contact, group chats, image/video, emoji reactions, stickers, replies, emojis, disappearing messages, broadcast channels and threads. For other features, like video calls, polls and creating new group chats, you will need to open the native chat app to perform that action. See the full compatibility list here.

Security and Privacy

Our primary objective is to earn and keep your trust

You need to trust the software that you use, especially for something as important and as personal as chat.

We aim to build trust with you through our software design decisions, like how we’ve open sourced privacy critical portions of our codebase for you to inspect and self-host, and how we’ve developed Beeper as an extension of an open source chat protocol.

Beeper encrypts your chat history with zero-access encryption before it is stored on our servers. This means that only you can read your chat history - Beeper (the company) does not have the decryption keys that can decrypt your chat history.

Also, we’re proud of our simple, transparent business model - we sell an optional paid subscription and use the profit from that to offer a free plan, which expands the addressable market for our paid subscription plan. This means our business is aligned with the long term interests of everyone who uses Beeper.

Does Beeper have end-to-end encryption?

Yes. All messages sent to other Beeper or Matrix users are by default encrypted with end-to-end-encryption. That means we cannot read your messages when they are sent to other Beeper users. Beeper’s end-to-end-encryption is built using components from the Matrix protocol core team. For (many) more details on Matrix encryption, check out this video and accompanying slides.

How does Beeper connect to encrypted chat networks like iMessage/Signal/WhatsApp?

When sending and receiving Signal, iMessage and WhatsApp messages, Beeper's web service acts as a relay. For example, if you send a message from Beeper to a friend on WhatsApp, the message is encrypted on your Beeper client, sent to the Beeper web service, which decrypts and re-encrypts the message with WhatsApp's proprietary encryption protocol.

⚠️ Using native chat apps independently may be more secure than connecting to other encrypted chat networks with Beeper.⚠️

We would prefer if these chat networks offered open APIs with full end-to-end-encryption, but unfortunately these networks do not support interoperability, at least not yet! New European legislation is coming into effect in 2024 and will force iMessage and WhatsApp to expose an interoperable end-to-end-encrypted API. Our servers are located in Europe, and we will switch to this open interface as soon as it is ready.

How does Beeper connect to non-encrypted chat networks?

All other chat networks do not support encryption by default. Connecting to these networks is simpler. Beeper acts as a simple receive-and-forward relay.

Even though these networks do not support end-to-end-encryption, messages sent from Beeper to these networks are encrypted in transit to our servers using TLS encryption and are also secured in transit to the recipient’s chat service’s servers using TLS.

What are zero-access encrypted chat backups?

Beeper backs up an encrypted copy of all your chat history on Beeper servers. This allows you to install Beeper on a new device and view your entire past chat history.

All messages and attachments (like videos and images) stored on Beeper servers, whether sent and received on end-to-end-encrypted chat networks, are secured using zero-access encryption. All messages are encrypted using your public key and can only be decrypted locally on your device(s) using Recovery Code (a private key) that is created when you first create a Beeper account. This code is never transmitted to Beeper.

Zero-access means we (the company and people who created Beeper) cannot read the contents (message text, images, video and attachments) of any messages backed up on Beeper servers. If you lose access to all your devices and your Recovery Code, we will not be able to recover your chat history. Please do not lose your Recovery Code!

How can I self-host Beeper?

Self-hosting is an option for users who would like the benefits of a unified chat inbox, but prefer not to use Beeper’s web service. We have open sourced all of our bridges, enabling you to host your own quasi-Beeper install on your own server. The main downside (at this time) is that Beeper clients can only access Beeper web service. You will need to use an open source Matrix client like Element or Fluffychat. Instructions are available at github.com/beeper/self-host.

What data does Beeper collect?

In order to provide the service, Beeper collects device information, including OS, hardware, public IP addresses, network routing information, information on the installed Beeper client, and other device settings. Beeper also uses user account information, such as email addresses and phone numbers, to authenticate users to their accounts.

See our Privacy Policy for more details on how we collect and use personal information.

Have a security concern about Beeper?

Get in touch with our security team at security@beeper.com to disclose any security vulnerabilities.

Upon discovering a vulnerability, we ask that you act in a way to protect our users' information:

  • Inform us as soon as possible.
  • Test against fake data and accounts, not our users' information.
  • Work with us to close the vulnerability before disclosing it to others.

Beeper does not have a bounty program.