November 28, 2022
We have conceived, designed and built Tact from a very specific viewpoint–a viewpoint that has remained consistent for several years. This post presents how we see the world, and Tact in it.
What is Tact?
Tact is a chat app for families, friends, coworkers, or any other small closed groups of humans. Tact works on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS.
What can I do with Tact?
Start private 1:1 and group chats with other people. Make joinable group chats that have a public link. Send long or short text messages. Send pictures and files. Like the messages and pictures that others have sent. See rich link previews. Communicate shared mood with chat emoji.
Is that it?
In the beginning, yes.
Will Tact do more in the future?
Yes, we have lots of ideas for improving the conversation and communication experience.
How do I get Tact?
From the App Store for iOS, iPadOS and macOS.
How much does Tact cost?
Up to three chats in Tact are free for an unlimited time. Having unlimited chats costs € or $ 3.99/month or € or $ 39.99/year, or the equivalent in your local currency.
Why did you make Tact? Aren’t there already enough chat apps on the market?
Three things inspired us to start Tact, and keep us going.
The chat apps that many people in the western world use today are owned by Facebook, funded by advertising, and treating their users and their data as a product and resource to be harvested. We oppose that, and think there are other ways to enable our relations and communications that do not require compromising our integrity, harvesting our data, or funding the work from advertising.
Most chat apps are cross-platform, designed for the lowest common denominator in terms of both technology and privacy. We only have interest in the Apple platforms and ecosystem. We think there is a better way, and a higher bar.
Most importantly, for the longest time, we just haven’t seen a chat app that we love, for our own personal chats. So we decided to go ahead and make one.
What makes you think you can pull this off?
We’ve done it before, twice. Both Jaanus and Priidu were key members of the Skype and Wire teams that designed, built and launched these communication experiences for global audiences.
Why do you think you can compete with a paid product against free apps?
It is true that there are many free chat apps available. Our hypothesis is that there is a sufficient number of humans who share our viewpoint and are willing to pay for Tact to make it sustainable.
Do you intend to take over Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype etc?
No. We don’t expect to make a meaningful dent in anyone else’s business at all. Tact won’t be the biggest chat app — we just really want to create an awesome, human-centered experience for the discerning user. We hope to find a sufficient number of like-minded customers to make Tact a viable boutique business.
How much has been invested in Tact? Who are your investors?
We have designed and built Tact as a bootstrapped side project with negligible operating costs. The main cost has been, and continues to be, our own time and effort to design and build the system. We have sunk many nights and weekends into Tact. We have not received external investments at this point.
Can I invest in Tact? Can I work for Tact?
We would indeed like to invite like-minded people along to our journey, in various roles. If you find yourself asking these questions, we first invite you to carefully study our website and the Tact app. If you feel you’d like to be a part of our ride, please contact us and let’s discuss.
What platform is required for Tact?
Tact is available for iOS and macOS. It requires an iPhone or iPad running iOS/iPadOS 16 or later, or a Mac device running macOS Ventura or later.
What else is required for Tact?
Tact requires an iCloud account. It uses iCloud for user authentication, and stores all content on iCloud. You may use a free or paid iCloud account, depending on your storage needs. All chats in Tact are owned by a specific iCloud user, and storage in Tact counts against the iCloud storage quota of that user.
Will there be an Android version of Tact?
Unlikely. There are both technical and values-based reasons why providing an Android version won’t be a priority for us.
Will there be a web version of Tact?
Possibly. Apple provides the necessary technology for developers to build web experiences for their iCloud apps. We have limited our current efforts to macOS, iPadOS and iOS, but may build a web version in the future to complement the native apps.
Privacy, security, harm reduction
Why should I trust you?
We have these principles for designing, building and operating Tact.
– You are the customer
Unlike many apps that harvest user data for advertising and the advertiser pays, our real customer is you. There is no “advertiser” or anybody else in the model. You pay us for the product, and we are accountable only to you.
– We don't store or use your data
When you use Tact, your data moves from your device directly to Apple iCloud servers. We have no access to it, and thus no way or intent to use it to show you advertising, or do anything else with it. We cannot provide your data to anybody even when requested or forced — we just don’t have it.
– Safety, dignity and respect
We will make Tact a safe and welcoming environment, and encourage all of our community to uphold these values.
– Do no harm
Everyone should feel safe in Tact, free of unwanted invasion and intrusion. We always consider who might be hurt by our work, and choose to not build things that might compromise this principle.
– No discovery
Tact is not a social network for contacting people you don’t know. There is no directory, and no way to discover new people in Tact. You cannot search or browse other users. The only two ways to connect with someone are to open the Tact invitation link that they themselves have published or shared with you, or to add someone who is physically close to you and explicitly agrees to connect, using our Nearby feature.
– Explicit opt-in
To join a chat in Tact, you must explicitly opt in. You can always decline any request to connect.
– The owner is in control
All chats in Tact have an owner. Only the owner can add new members to the chat, and can remove anyone at any time.
– You can always leave
If you do not wish to be in a chat, simply leave. No one can add you back without your explicit consent.
– Only name and picture
Your Tact profile consists of a name, and optionally a picture. Your profile is visible to other members of the Tact chats where you belong, and is shown to people you invite to Tact with our Nearby feature. It is not otherwise searchable or discoverable. Feel free to use your real name and picture, or a pseudonym. Change them as often as you wish. Tact does not require or use your e-mail address, phone number, or any other personal information.
– Help us keep it safe
We aim to keep Tact safe, both by adding harm-reduction features to our product, as well as taking action against malicious actors. We encourage you to report any safety, well-being or privacy concerns and ideas to us.
What data and where does Tact collect and store?
What is your plan to deal with terrorist, criminal, Child Sexual Abuse Material, and money laundering activities on Tact? How can I get assistance as a member of law enforcement?
Tact stores all content on Apple iCloud. Information about Tact users, and the content that they store, is available to Apple’s internal teams, who can access user information, and have policies to handle such matters. We expect to refer any such inquiries to Apple. For more information, see Apple’s government information requests portal.
You say you store our content in Apple iCloud. Does that mean that I have to trust Apple?
Yes and no. We note that Apple keeps developing iCloud to keep your data secure. Please study the iCloud data security overview page for more details about iCloud security.
Can I really trust Apple with my private communications?
If you are an iPhone or Mac user, you are already trusting Apple to a large degree. As your hardware and software platform vendor, Apple is in a position to use or abuse any data on your device as they see fit. We have worked in the Apple ecosystem for decades as users and developers, and have thought this a lot. We believe that Apple has acted as a good custodian of user data, and continues to value your privacy in their messaging, behaviour and technology.
There’s a simple test that we invite you to take to decide whether to trust Apple and Tact: do you store your photos and videos in iCloud? Apple provides exactly the same technology and privacy guarantees to developers like Tact as they use with Photos and other systems apps.
Can’t I trust Google and Android in a similar fashion? Couldn’t you make Tact for Android adhere to the same logic?
No. There is a great difference, which comes down to simple economics and the basic business model: who is paying for what, and what are the true incentives? With companies like Google and Facebook, the true payers and customers are advertisers. You and your data are the product that is being sold to them. We believe that Apple’s true economic motive is to sell you their devices and services, and let developers like Tact charge extra for value added on top of their platform.
I took the test that you had a few paragraphs above, and it failed. I don’t trust Apple and Photos, and I am working with information that is too sensitive to be stored in Apple iCloud. Should I use Tact?
That is a matter of judgment and opinion, and we can’t provide you a definitive answer in either direction. Eventually, as a free human, you are responsible for your own data and communications, and choosing your platforms, apps and technologies. We do have two thoughts on this matter.
First, there are definitely communications too sensitive for Tact and Apple platforms, and there are technologies more suitable to handle those communications. Since the landscape is moving fast, and there may be expertise required (technical, legal, or otherwise) in setting up in some of these channels, we encourage you to conduct your own evaluation and due diligence, and eventually choose what to use. We acknowledge that this matter exists, but cannot provide any guidance or recommendations about what’s best for you in your own individual circumstances.
Also, Tact is on a long journey. That journey involves learning more about your privacy needs, and continuing to develop our product to meet those needs. We encourage you to get in touch with us to discuss the matter and your concerns.