Simple Element (Matrix) Onboarding guide: 'Switch to Element!'

Hey guys I did an as-simple-as-possible Element (Matrix) guide for family and non-tech friends.

I was looking for an alternative to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger mainly. I find Element the best fit.

I’d be happy if you took a look and let me know what you think about it. Hope it can useful to you too!

Thanks :slight_smile:


Thanks so much for putting it together, we need more guides like this!


Ironically this guide is much better than most WhatsApp replacement guides in 2020


Oooh, this looks really good! Thank you for sharing! :grin:

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Thanks for this terrific guide! It’s an excellent alternative to wapp and Telegram.

But personally, I don’t believe element is a good replacement for Signal. First, there is a metadata problem unless you self host itself.

Afaik, you need to manually enable E2EE for group chats, probably our moms and dads won’t use this when create a group.

Element has yet to bring native group conferencing and is dependent on Jitsi, to my knowledge. My experience with video call quality was not very good. But it has been a long time ago since I tested.


Thank you for the reaction, your points are accurate!

I’m not suggesting to replace Signal with E actually when someone is using it already. I’m rather saying that when considering alternatives to WA, FB Mess, Telegram… Element is a lower threshold but still reasonably private/secure replacement (especially for family and non-techs). I see it as a good compromise.

I totally agree with Signal being more secure/private (and mature) solution. But my issue, rather a deal breaker why I couldn’t switch to S are the sync limitations (afaik and have tested some time ago). Just 1 phone + 1 computer. That’s too limited, I need it on more devices.

It’s related to the metadata non/encryption, of course. If Matrix is encrypting less metadata + the account contents are stored in a cloud, the sync is much easier.

But it’s about the use case and requirements. For having (group) chats with family and friends I think it’s OK. For highly sensitive stuff it might not be enough.

On the encrypted group chats - I’m assumed to be the one who creates the group and sets it as encrypted (when I’m lobbing and convincing others to switch to E). If someone else creates a non-encrypted group I’ll just tell them and teach how to fix it. It’s about educating the others here :slight_smile:

Group conferencing isn’t something we’d use so often in my case. Element is working on their own solution afaik. Last (around month ago) I did a video call with friend, the quality was perfect.


Indeed, you have very valid points. Then, it comes down to your preferences. Signal has obvious limitations (device sync, not being able to save images automatically).
I regret that most ppl rush to whatsapp and even telegram(!) instead of Signal or Element.
For sensitive projects, I use Signal with screen sharing, so it’s an important arsenal in my personal and private life.