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How to enable IMAP encryption in an iOS device
Last modified on 23 May 2018 02:14 AM

To set up PGP Encryption on an iOS device, make sure you have first set up StartMail on your iOS device and have set up PGP encryption in StartMail. Once that is completed, install the iPGMail app on your mobile device.

You are now ready to set up encryption on your iOS device. These instructions consist of 5 overall steps:

1. Save your StartMail key pair
2. Transfer your StartMail key pair to your iPGMail app on your iOS device
3. Import public keys of recipients
4. Send an encrypted email
5. Read an encrypted email
 

1. Save your StartMail key pair

  1. Sign in to your StartMail account at https://startmail.com/login on your desktop or laptop.
  2. Navigate to Settings > Mail Encryption.



  3. Ensure that Use Advanced options is enabled.



  4. Locate Export my own key pair: at the bottom of the page, and click Export key pair.



  5. Enter your PGP passphrase when prompted and select Continue.



  6. Copy and paste the text that begins with -----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK----- and ends with -----END PGP PRIVATE KEY BLOCK----- into a text editor, such as TextEdit (do not use Pages or Word).



  7. Save file to disk with an .asc extension (ASCII), by selecting File > Save, and ensure that Plain Text Encoding: is set to Western (ASCII). Please manually add .asc to the end of your file's title, if this is not done automatically. (Note: If you do not see the ASCII option when saving your text file, please make sure it is enabled in TextEdit, by going to Preferences. Select the Open and Save option at the top, make sure the Add ".txt" extension to plain text files is not selected. Under Plain Text File Encoding, open the Saving Files: drop-down menu and select Western (ASCII). Make sure to select this option when saving your TextEdit file.)



2.Transfer your StartMail key pair to your iPGMail app on your iOS device

You will need to transfer the key pair file to your iOS device. We recommend doing this through iTunes (Note: Alternative methods to transfer your StartMail key pair to your iPGMail app (other than through iTunes), are given on the iPGMail website here.) Please follow these instructions: 

  1. Attach your iOS device to your computer and open iTunes. Make sure your iOS device is “unlocked”, file transfers to iPGMail will fail if the device is in the locked state.
  2. In iTunes, select your device on the left, then select the Apps tab at the top.



  3. Locate File Sharing, and select iPGMail.



  4. Add the .asc file by selecting Add... at the bottom right. Find the .asc file on your computer and click Add. You should now see the .asc file under IPGMail Documents in your iTunes window.



  5. Go to the iPGMail app on your mobile device, and select the Files tab to view the files available. You should see the .asc file under Local Files.



  6. Select the .asc file, this should present you with an action sheet, choose the Import Key(s) action.



  7. You will be presented with a popup asking for the passphrase to decrypt the private key information. This is the same passphrase you use to read encrypted emails in your StartMail account. Enter the passphrase and select OK.



  8. You should now see your public and private key in the IPGMail app, by pressing the Keys tab in the bottom left corner.

3. Import public keys of recipients

In order to send and receive PGP encrypted messages in Mail, you will need to import the public keys of each individual recipient.

  1. Have your contacts attach their public key to a message they send you.
  2. Open this email in your device's Mail app, and select the .asc file. 



  3. From the attachment, tap the share arrow in the top right corner. Note: You may have to tap the screen once to get it to appear.



  4. In the popup, press Copy to iPGMail.



  5. When prompted, enter your PGP Passphrase. This is the same passphrase you use to read encrypted emails in your StartMail account. Select OK.



  6. Press the Files option in your iPGMail app, open the added file ending with ".asc" extension, and select the Import Key(s) action.



  7. The recipients public key will now show up in the Keys option at the bottom left of your iPGMail app. Select the Public tab to view your imported public keys.

4. Send an encrypted email

  1. Open iPGMail and tap Compose at the bottom of the screen. Make sure that Both is highlighted at the top of the screen.



  2. Tap the + icon next to Signer: select your PGP key. Tap the + icon in the To: field, and select the recipients public key. The key(s) you select will be highlighted in green and when you are done selecting, click Done in the upper left-hand corner.




  3. Add a subject and message text as you would normally. When you are ready to send, tap the share arrow in the upper right hand corner.



  4. In the "Action" popup, select Send Email.



  5. A Password for key popup will appear. Please enter the passphrase you use to read encrypted emails in your StartMail account, and select OK.



  6. Your message will now open in your device's Mail app, tap Send.

5. Read an encrypted email

  1. To read an encrypted email, open the email in your device's Mail app, and tap the PGP attachment. It should be named something like "PGP.asc."



  2. Tap the share arrow.



  3. Select the Copy to iPGMail icon.



  4. In the "Password" popup, type in your PGP passphrase.



  5. In the iPGMail app, press Decode. You will now see a list of local files.  The file containing the encrypted email should be called something like "PGP.txt." The encrypted text will now be decrypted and readable by you.


NOTES:

- iPGMail initially stores encrypted email messages and key files locally.  To delete these, tap Files at the bottom of the screen and then Edit. Highlight the files you'd like to delete and then click Delete in the upper right-hand corner.
- Click here for further support for the Mail app, or for iPGMail.

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