Because it is fully distributed, Jami may behave differently from what most people are used to with other communication tools. We aim not to break user expectations, but Jami is quite unique in the way it is designed. It is not a web service that you can log in to, but an application that runs entirely on your devices. This has consequences that require some adaptation from the users.
Creating an account
A Jami account is a simple file created locally on your device that contains your cryptographic keys.
On typical services, creating an account implies signing up by providing basic information about you like your name and email. It is not the case on Jami, as you don’t even need to be connected to the internet for creating an account. At the core, Jami accounts are simply a pair of cryptographic keys that are generated locally on your device. This is why when you create one, there may be a little loading time (especially on mobile) as your device generates the keys. If you don’t want your account anymore, you can simply delete it in Jami which will erase your keys along with all the information associated with them.
Passwords are not necessary, but they add an extra layer of security in case someone gains access to your device.
Because your account information is only stored locally on your device, you don’t need a password. However if you set one, it will add an extra layer of security by encrypting your private key. This being said, your account will be safe even if you don’t use a password as long as no one else has access to your device. Furthermore, keep in mind that there is no “i forgot my password” procedure. Therefore it is primordial that you don’t lose it because you wouldn’t be able to recover your account.
Usernames are easier for humans to remember, but the account ID can be used instead.
Jami accounts are identified by a forty character ID internally, but this is not very practical for humans to remember. We added the username functionality for convenience, but it is not necessary to have one. If you don’t, you’ll have to share your ID with people in order for them to be able to contact you. While it is less practical, it can still be done easily by using the QR code feature within Jami. Usernames are registered on a blockchain and cannot be altered after their creation.
Making a backup
With great power comes great responsibility. Jami gives you full control over your data, but you are responsible for making sure it is protected.
It is strongly recommended to make a backup of your Jami account in case you lose or break your device. If such an event should occur and you didn’t make a backup, you will lose access to your account and won’t be able to recover it. The backup feature is available in the account settings by clicking (or tapping) on the “Export account” button. This will generate a compressed file that contains your private key and can be used to recover your account easily. This file will be encrypted with your password if you set one, and we recommend saving it somewhere safe. If you are using Android TV or iPhone, this feature is not yet available on those platforms, but you can connect another device to your account as described below.
Connecting multiple devices to the same account
Your Jami account is a file stored on your device. Before you can connect to it on another device, you need to transfer that file.
Since your account exists only locally on your device, you can’t simply connect to it on another by using your username and password like with most websites. You first need to transfer your private key to the new device in order to gain access to your account from it. One way to do that is to create a backup by using the “Export account” functionality and to import it back into the new device. However, we implemented a more convenient way to achieve this that doesn’t require you to send yourself the file to the other device or to transfer it with a USB key. You can simply use the “Link new device” button, which will generate a PIN that you can use on the new device in order to securely transfer the account to it using the Jami network.
By François Naggar-Tremblay – Jami Product Manager