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Encrypted email since 2014: How Tutanota improved in six years.

Tutanota protects your communication from illegal mass surveillance by making end-to-end encrypted emails easily available to millions of users around the world. Our biggest challenge for the future is to make the encryption of Tutanota quantum-resistant.

2020-03-24
Celebrate with us six years of our encrypted email client Tutanota! Six years ago, today, we have published Tutanota, the first automatically encrypted email client. Since then we have immensely improved Tutanota, and for the first time in Tutanota history we are asking all our users what they like about Tutanota and what they would like to see improved. Check out the Tutanota questionnaire!

The questionnaire will help us to decide where to focus our development power next.

Please take part in our first ever questionnaire.

In a few weeks, we will publish the results and let you know the next three features that we are going to work on to improve your encrypted email and calendar service.

When we first published Tutanota on March 24th 2014, it was a very basic email client. Yet, people put up with its basic set of features because they loved the fact that - for the first time since the invention of PGP - end-to-end encrypted emails could be sent easily to any person in the world.

Tutanota encrypted email client back in 2014 This is how Tutanota looked like back in 2014.

Tutanota encrypted email client in 2020 And this is how Tutanota looks like today.

Since the start, Tutanota has been supported by an amazing community, who help us to grow our team independent from big investor’s money by upgrading to Premium, who help us to translate Tutanota into over 30 languages and who spread the word about why privacy matters and why we all have to fight for it!

In the last couple of years, we have grown our team to nine people of which seven are developers. Your support has made Tutanota a true success and has enabled us to immensely improve your secure email and calendar service. The last two years have seen some of the greatest improvements so far:

  • We published a completely rebuilt email client with great speed and design.
  • We were able to publish our open source Android app on F-Droid making it completely Google-free.
  • We published dedicated open source desktop clients for Linux, Windows and Mac OS.
  • We turned Tutanota into a green email service, which relies 100% on renewable energy.
  • We added an encrypted search feature that lets the users search their encrypted emails and contacts securely.
  • We added second factor authentication and a recovery code so users can securely reset their accounts.
  • We developed a zero-knowledge calendar that protects all your data with built-in encryption.

To secure your encrypted Tutanota mailbox to the maximum, we recommend you to read our email security guide on how to keep your emails safe from hackers.

Tutanota encrypted email client back in 2014 This is how Tutanota looked like back in 2014.

Tutanota encrypted email client in 2018 This is how Tutanota looks like today.

Making Tutanota and its encryption fit for the future

All these improvements are also mirrored in the rising number of Premium users: Since we started our first paid subscriptions, we see more people choosing to use Tutanota with a Premium or Pro subscription than the month before. This trend has been going on since five years now. We are thrilled to see that so many people value their privacy and are willing to pay for a quality service that focuses on keeping their data safe.

This encourages us to further improve Tutanota and its already high level of security. In 2019 we have onboarded two developers for upgrading Tutanota’s encryption algorithms to make our encrypted email service resistant against attacks from quantum-computers.

We also plan to push our secure desktop clients out of beta, to add an email import feature, and offline access to Tutanota and to enable conversation view in all Tutanota email clients.

Achievements of 2018

New email client: Fast, secure, beautiful

We have rebuilt Tutanota from scratch to give it a modern look, to make it perform much faster and to make it fit for the future.

With amazing speed and design, new features such as full-text search on encrypted data, secure password reset, two-factor authentication, a dark theme, auto-sync and lots of usability improvements, our completely rebuilt email client makes the transitioning from privacy-invading email services to Tutanota - the secure email service with encryption by default - as easy as can be. Join the millions of Tutanota users to make sure that your emails are no longer as public as postcards, but instead as secure as sealed letters.

Open source apps & F-Droid release

All Tutanota apps are Libre software because we want to provide an open source email alternative to Gmail, Yahoo, GMX, Outlook, Hushmail, Fastmail, Riseup, Posteo, Protonmail, Startmail, Mailbox.org and others.

To us this includes publishing our Android app on F-Droid, which we achieved in 2018. Unlike other secure email services, Tutanota does not use closed third party code - whether from Google or others - because we must be in full control of the open source code to offer you maximum security and privacy.

Our focus on open source combined with our deep respect for your right to privacy, makes Tutanota the best secure email service.

Desktop clients for Linux, Windows and Mac OS

At the end of 2018 we were able to release the first secure desktop clients with built-in encryption for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS. This was one of the most important updates since we have first published our secure email service with automatic encryption in March 2014. The new Tutanota desktop clients enable you to use Tutanota directly from your computer without the need of a browser.

This improves Tutanota’s security even further as the desktop clients are signed applications so you can be absolutely sure that no one has tampered with the code. Now we are in the process of further improving the desktop clients by adding features such as an easy import feature for emails, offline availability and more.

Innovative full-text search combines convenience & security

Tutanota never compromises on security while maintaining a strong focus on usability. The new client comes with two innovative usability features that haven’t been implemented elsewhere, yet, these two features symbolize how security and usability can easily co-exist: The challenge with encryption is that encrypted data can’t be searched on the server. Yet, search is crucial for any email application.

Tutanota’s search feature works just as easy as any other search feature. While the application builds an encrypted search index that is then stored encrypted locally and also searched locally to provide maximum security, the user only sees their search entry and the search results and can use it as conveniently as any other search feature.

Secure account reset to prevent identity theft

Standard reset features via email are very insecure as these can be triggered and abused by malicious attackers. Instead of offering such an insecure feature, Tutanota now comes with a recovery code that only the user can access and use. Should the user ever lose their password, they can reset their account with the help of this recovery code themselves.

In an era of data breaches and identity thefts, emails must be kept private!

With data breaches and identity theft being the number one security risk for every Internet user, the future of email must be private: Our mailboxes contain so much valuable information, and are connected to so many online services (Amazon, Facebook, PayPal, etc.) that it becomes increasingly important to have a secure mailbox. Storing data unencrypted "in the cloud" is just not an option anymore.

Our motto is - Mail. Done. Right. - Because we value your right to privacy.

Turning an encrypted email service into a success is hard

Since we have started building Tutanota, we have seen encryption projects come and go. For instance, after the Snowden revelations back in 2013 Google promised to add end-to-end encryption to Gmail. But Gmail's encryption project is long dead, and was probably only a marketing move to begin with. Other encrypted mail services, such as Lavaboom shut down.

Turning a secure email service into a success is hard because you have to invest a lot of time and effort before you can make money with the product you've built. We believe that we were only able to make Tutanota a success because of our passion for privacy. To us, giving up was never an option. And the support from our users today proves us right.

Our users and their feedback motivate us to work even harder to make Tutanota the easiest to use encrypted email service out there.

Fight with us for our right to privacy!

Stop using email services that don't respect your private data.

Secure mail team


Switch from Gmail to Tutanota and find more privacy-friendly alternatives.

Recommended for further reading: Our email encryption guide.

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