From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Developer(s)Open Garden
Stable release
PlatformAndroid, iOS
Typemesh networking

FireChat was a proprietary mobile app, developed by Open Garden, which used wireless mesh networking to enable smartphones to pass messages to each other peer-to-peer via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or Apple's Multipeer, without an internet connection.[1]

Though it was not designed with the purpose in mind, FireChat was used as a communication tool in some civil protests.[2]

FireChat is now discontinued. The official URL displays a 404 error page, and apps have not been updated since 2018.


The app was first introduced in March 2014 for iPhones,[3] followed on April 3 by a version for Android devices.[4]

In July 2015, FireChat introduced private messaging. Until then, it had only been possible to post messages to public chatrooms.[5]

In May 2016, FireChat introduced FireChat Alerts, which allowed users to "push" alerts during a specific time and in a specific place.[6] This feature was added for the benefit of aid workers doing disaster relief and stemmed from a partnership with the city of Marikina.[7]


FireChat became popular in 2014 in Iraq following government restrictions on internet use,[8][9] and thereafter during the 2014 Hong Kong protests.[10][2] In 2015, FireChat was also promoted by protesters during the 2015 Ecuadorian protests.[11] On September 11, 2015, during the pro-independence demonstration called Free Way to the Catalan Republic, FireChat was used 131,000 times.[12] In January 2016, students protested at the University of Hyderabad, India, following the suicide of a PhD student named Rohith Vemula.[13] Some students were reported to have used Firechat after the university shut down its Wi-Fi.[14]


In June 2014, Firechat's developers told Wired that "[p]eople need to understand that this is not a tool to communicate anything that would put them in a harmful situation if it were to be discovered by somebody who's hostile ... It was not meant for secure or private communications."[15] By July 2015, the FireChat developers claimed to have added end-to-end encryption for its one-to-one private messages.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Milian, Mark (30 December 2014). "Russians Are Organizing Against Putin Using FireChat Messaging App". Bloomberg. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  2. ^ a b Bland, Archie (29 September 2014). "FireChat – the messaging app that's powering the Hong Kong protests". The Guardian.
  3. ^ Simonite, Tom (28 March 2014). "FireChat Could Be the First in a Wave of Mesh Networking Apps". MIT Technology Review. Archived from the original on 27 November 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  4. ^ Yu, Alan (7 April 2014). "How one app might be a step toward internet everywhere". NPR. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  5. ^ a b "FireChat launches new offline private messaging option". BBC News. BBC. 30 July 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  6. ^ Toor, Amar (19 May 2016). "This app lets rescue workers send offline alerts when disaster strikes". The Verge. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  7. ^ Stinson, Elizabeth (12 October 2015). "This App is Building a Giant Network for Free Messaging". Wired. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  8. ^ Kuchler, Hannah; Kerr, Simon (22 June 2014). "'Private internet' FireChat app grows in popularity in Iraq". Financial Times. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  9. ^ Hern, Alex (24 June 2014). "Firechat updates as 40,000 Iraqis download 'mesh' chat app in censored Baghdad". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  10. ^ "Faced with network surveillance, Hong Kong student demonstrators go P2P". 29 September 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  11. ^ Velazco, Alfredo (28 June 2015). "The Internet, a Staging Post for Protests in Ecuador, is Under Threat". Global Voices Online. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  12. ^ Borràs, Enric (17 September 2015). "L'aplicació amb què et podies comunicar a la Via Lliure també et servirà en una catàstrofe". Ara. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  13. ^ "Hyderabad university shut after protests over Dalit student's death". BBC News. BBC. 19 January 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  14. ^ TNN (23 January 2016). "Firechat comes to UOH students' rescue". The Times of India. The Times Group. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  15. ^ Baraniuk, Chris (25 June 2014). "FireChat warns Iraqis that messaging app won't protect privacy". Wired. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 17 September 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2016.

External links[edit]