Multi-device support is important for any messenger that wants to compete in the hotly contested private messaging space, and we’ve been hard at work implementing and improving Session’s multi-device support since launch. In its current implementation, multi-device theoretically allows for two devices to be linked, and for conversations and message histories to be securely synced between those devices.
However, in practice, Session’s multi-device implementation has introduced a large number of bugs which have negatively impacted user experience. In order to resolve these issues, we have decided to temporarily remove multi-device linking and sync support.
This removal will occur in two stages:
Today, we will release a Session client update for all platforms which will disable the device linking interface. No new devices will be able to be linked, and users with existing multi-device configurations will see a warning informing them about the upcoming second stage.
Later this week (we’re targeting the 6th of August in AEST), all secondary clients in existing multi-device configurations will be erased. Primary clients (clients on which a Session ID was first created) will be unaffected and will still be able to be used normally.
Although removing multi-device might sound like a step backwards, it will allow us to make significant improvements to Session’s user experience. These improvements include:
- Reducing message send times by approximately 2 seconds (due to not needing to poll for device links)
- Better closed group scaling
- Reduction in message sending errors (these errors are often caused by issues related to multi-device)
- Significant reduction in complexity of development and testing, which will let us get new features out the door faster
- Letting us give multi-device some serious love and attention to make sure it can live up to the standards we’ve set for Session’s user experience
Will multi-device be coming back?
Yes. Make no mistake, multi-device is absolutely a feature we want to support. However, we will need to reassess how to implement it without compromising on stability, reliability, or other aspects of the user experience.
Over the next two months, the Session team will spend most of our time working on UX improvements. After that work is finished up, we’ll be taking another swing at multi-device. Whichever implementation we decide on, we will test it extensively before re-adding it, to ensure we can deliver a secure, private multi-device experience with no compromises.