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Delta Chat Android Client

This is the Android client for Delta Chat. It is available on F-Droid and the Google Play Store. The APK can also be downloaded from GitHub (only for experienced users).

For the core library and other common info, please refer to the Delta Chat Core Library.

Screenshot Chat List Screenshot Chat View

Check Out Repository

When checking out deltachat-android, make sure also to check out the subproject deltachat-core-rust:

  • When using Git, you can do this initially by $ git clone --recursive or later by git submodule update --init --recursive. If you do this in your home directory, this results in the folder ~/deltachat-android which is just fine.

Build Using Dockerfile

If you only want to build an APK, the easiest way is to use provided Dockerfile with Docker or Podman. Podman is a drop-in replacement for Docker that does not require root privileges.

If you don't have Docker or Podman setup yet, read how to setup Podman below. If you don't want to use Docker or Podman, read how to manually install the build environment.

First, build the image deltachat-android by running

podman build --build-arg UID=$(id -u) --build-arg GID=$(id -g) . -t deltachat-android


docker build --build-arg UID=$(id -u) --build-arg GID=$(id -g) . -t deltachat-android

Then, run the image:

podman run --userns=keep-id -it --name deltachat -v $(pwd):/home/app -w /home/app localhost/deltachat-android


docker run -it --name deltachat -v $(pwd):/home/app -w /home/app localhost/deltachat-android

You can leave the container with Ctrl+D or by typing exit and re-enter it with docker start -ia deltachat or podman start -ia deltachat.

Within the container, install toolchains and build the native library:

deltachat@6012dcb974fe:/home/app$ scripts/
deltachat@6012dcb974fe:/home/app$ ./

Then, build an APK:

deltachat@6012dcb974fe:/home/app$ ./gradlew assembleDebug


  • Executing ./gradlew assembleDebug inside the container fails with The SDK directory '/home/user/Android/Sdk' does not exist.:

    The problem is that Android Studio (outside the container) automatically creates a file with a content like sdk.dir=/home/username/Android/Sdk, so, Gradle-inside-the-container looks for the Sdk at /home/username/Android/Sdk, where it can't find it. You could:

    • either: remove the file or just the line starting with sdk.dir
    • or: run ./gradlew assembleDebug from outside the container (however, there may be incompability issues if different versions are installed inside and outside the container)
  • Running the image fails with ERRO[0000] The storage 'driver' option must be set in /etc/containers/storage.conf, guarantee proper operation.:

    In /etc/containers/storage.conf, replace the line: driver = "" with: driver = "overlay". You can also set the driver option to something else, you just need to set it to something. Read about possible options here.

Setup Podman

These instructions were only tested on a Manjaro machine so far. If anything doesn't work, please open an issue.

First, Install Podman.

Then, if you want to run Podman without root, run:

sudo touch /etc/subgid
sudo touch /etc/subuid
sudo usermod --add-subuids 165536-231072 --add-subgids 165536-231072 yourusername

(replace yourusername with your username). See for more information.

Install Build Environment (without Docker or Podman)

To setup build environment manually, you can read the Dockerfile and mimic what it does.

First, you need to setup Android SDK and Android NDK. Configure ANDROID_NDK_ROOT environment variable to point to the Android NDK installation directory. Currently ndk20b is the minimum required version. Newer versions will likely work, however, are not tested and not used in official releases, in general, changes on the ndk-version should be done with care.

Then, install Rust using rustup. Install Rust toolchains for cross-compilation by executing scripts/

After that, call ./ in the root directory to build core-rust. Afterwards run the project in Android Studio. The project requires API 25.

With chance, that's it :) - if not, read on how to set up a proper development environment.

Install Development Environment

  1. Some libs required by Android Studio may be missing on 64 bit Linux machines Source], so for Ubuntu execute $ sudo apt-get install libc6:i386 libncurses5:i386 libstdc++6:i386 lib32z1 libbz2-1.0:i386 and for Fedora execute $ sudo yum install zlib.i686 ncurses-libs.i686 bzip2-libs.i686.

  2. Download Android Studio from ( and unpack the archive which contains a single folder called android-studio; move this folder e.g. to ~/android-studio.

  3. To launch Android Studio for the first time, open a terminal, navigate to ~/android-studio/bin, execute ./ and use all the standard values from the wizard.

  4. Android Studio now asks you if you want to open an existing project; choose ~/deltachat-android as created in the "Build" chapter (Android Studio starts to build the project, however, there are some steps missing before this will succeed).

  5. If components are missing, click on the corresponding error message and install eg. required SDKs and the "Build-Tools" (you should also find the option at "Tools / Android / SDK Manager / SDK Platforms"). Now the build should succeed - but the app still misses the native part.

  6. Download Android NDK from NDK Archives and extract the archive containing a single folder called android-ndk-r…; move this folder e.g. to ~/android-ndk-r….

  7. Export the folder path to your environment as ANDROID_NDK and add it to PATH. You can achieve this e.g. by adding the following lines to .bashrc export ANDROID_NDK=/home/USERNAME/android-ndk-r… export PATH=$PATH:$ANDROID_NDK.


The user interface classes are based on the Signal messenger.


Licensed GPLv3+, see the LICENSE file for details.

Copyright © 2020 Delta Chat contributors.