End-to-end encryption now fully available

James Long
June 28th, 2020 · 2 min read

The latest version 0.0.120 finally brings end-to-end encryption up to 100% supported. If you want to enable it, follow these steps.

Previously, as a first step, encryption was implemented in a way that only partially encrypted your data. Without going into details, encrypting the last pieces of data was the hardest, but 0.0.120 solves it. Now, when you turn on end-to-end encryption, your data is 100% encrypted before leaving your computer and nobody can read it except you.

Unfortunately, all users need to do a sync reset when upgrading to the version. A sync reset deletes all synced data from the server and registers it as new file. This is required because this version changes how files are stored on the server, and you won’t normally have to do this.

Note that even if you already had encryption enabled, you still need to set up a new key. Previously, Actual used one key for all files in your account. Now, it uses one key per-file. Previous keys are not migrated to the new system.

Keep in mind that you should choose the most up-to-date device to sync reset from. Read more about what resetting sync means.

Actual will guide you through this process, which brings me to the next big UX improvement: now any problems with your account will show up as a notification when trying to sync:

You hopefully shouldn’t see these notifications often, but the UX improvement is huge instead of closing the file or ignoring the problem altogether.

My goal is that syncing should just work and you never have to worry about it. But when something does happen, you are given a clear action to move forward.

Other features

I had this release ready weeks ago. Unfortunately, when I went to submit the app to the iOS app store, Apple rejected it. They refused to let me update the app because I wasn’t using their in-app subscriptions.

This was extremely frustrating, and I certainly agree with everything that Basecamp wrote about this here when they recently went through this. I don’t have the time or influence to fight Apple on this, so I finally caved and implemented in-app subcriptions.

That means you can purchase a subscription through iOS, but I explicitly discourage you to do so. The subscription is higher to account for Apple’s large cut, and I have no ability to issue refunds, extend trials, or anything. Please purchase a subscription on the website.

Read-only data when your subscription expires

Now, if your subscription expires, you are still able to open the app and read your data. Any changes will not be saved. Previously it kicked you out, but that was an oversight and done for technical simplicity. You should be able to always read your data.

Other features include improved CSV importing, and a bunch of bugfixes. Read the full release notes for more information.

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