Proton disappointments (and alternatives)

A post on my personal disappointments with the Proton suite, originally posted in another thread.

My disappointments are:

  • The Android Mail app requires Google Play Services for notifications - although there’s You Have Mail
  • It doesn’t support syncing contacts to your phone (so you have to manually download and import them, and then do the reverse to upload new ones)
  • The Android calendar app is still not open source (I know they will do it, so I’ve been ignoring this, but it’s still unfortunate)
  • The desktop bridge doesn’t support contacts syncing either, but also don’t support calendar syncing, and there’s no calendar app for desktop (which is good, because they should really just add this to the bridge)
  • There is no Proton Drive sync client for Linux - although there’s rclone

The notifications without Google Play Services for the Proton Mail Android app are its most requested feature, and have been requested for years. With this change, it could also come to F-Droid (opinions of it aside, it’s the largest distribution centre for free and open source software on Android, and fulfilling its requirements is generally good practice, regardless of whether you’re on it or not - no Google Play Services, non-free tracking, etc.)

I’m happy they made a calendar, and drive, since they’re very useful. I just wish they had first perfected the mail app, then perfected the calendar app, then made the drive app. Although, Proton is still a for-profit company, and, perhaps releasing new products is a good way to draw new users and new money. I pay for Proton Mail (at least for now), but not everyone does, so they need this model.

I’m open to hearing other opinions and perspectives on this! Suggestions for alternatives to different Proton services, that would solve these problems are also welcome!

  1. Proton VPN is on F-Droid, but it’s not a reproducible build, so it’s signed by the F-Droid team and not developers.

Proton Calendar, Drive, and Pass are only available on their site, so the only way to update them is to resort to web scraping and use Obtainium.

So only Proton Mail is available on GitHub, but even then, GitHub = Microsoft.

  1. No notifications without Google Play Services, even though they promised an alternative implementation for years.

  2. They don’t accept Monero, and the only cryptocurrency they accept is a shitcoin (Bitcoin), and their anonymous payment method is cash by mail. I really wonder how many people actually use this payment method.

  3. If you want to use a different client for mail, then you have to pay, and even then, you can only use it on a desktop with their proton bridge, but that’s the only way to use a client on a desktop because they don’t even have one.

  4. Their .onion site was such a dumpster fire that people even started wondering if Proton is a honeypot.

  5. Their pricing is very unethical because they’re doing absolutely everything to draw you to the higher-tier plan and trying to lock your money in for 1-2 years with discounts over paying just for one month. (Proton VPN is 9.99 per month when the Proton Unlimited price if you pay for 1 year is 9.99 too, lmao.)


That’s unfortunate, yes.

That’s because it’s not open source yet…

Those are being worked on being added to F-Droid, even reproducible! Proton Drive MR. Proton Pass MR.

I have a “solution” to this. I have an F-Droid that fetches the latest version of Proton’s apps (and Signal) every day. So you will still get the same version as from the website, but managed through F-Droid.

That also sucks, but GitHub releases are easier to deal with than a webpage. No scraping is needed to get updates. Plus, the source code for the apps is on GitHub, so it doesn’t really make a big difference.

Personally I don’t really want them to release an Electron wrapper for their website on desktop. You can make yourself if you want, with existing tools. But, it’ll just be a website in an app.

I like the bridge, though it would of course be nicer if it were free. At the same time though, they need to make an income to pay their employees and develop new products. And, nowadays, most people probably just use their email in the website any way, so making people pay for this feature (which is unrelated to privacy and security), is not that bad in my opinion.


but it is related to security and privacy. It can for example be useful to sync your mails and have them offline so that you can avoid connectong to some dodgy wifi later to read them

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They launched the Pass Plus plan for free but it’s not like that at all. The point is that it’s free to create unlimited email aliases and they don’t mention any additional details at all. Some people and I thought it was completely free. For privacy reasons, I changed my entire account emails to Proton aliases and felt very happy. But after a few days of questioning, they finally revealed that all aliases will be deleted after 10 days when the Pass Plus plan expires and the user does not renew. They were not transparent about the details from the beginning but were just trying to promote and attract users to depend on their system.
I’m out tho but still wish them all da best cuz what they been doin is kinda great for the privacy future


Proton VPN is also available on GitHub, but your second point still stands.

I outlined my disappointments with the Proton VPN Linux GUI app in this reply.


Linux client of ProtonVPN leakes IP


Miscroft owning github is bad, but if you are a paying customer, i think they’ll put up with interacting with git related stuff via email support.

Could you elaborate on this?

My understanding is that it just redirected you to their regular clear web website

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Wow. As for the kill switch part, it can also be easily done in nm-connection-editor.

I absolutely hate their pricing strategy because you just know they are inflating their monthly price to make the yearly one more attractive.

The worst offender is the family plan when they advertise $20/month first and front, but in reality you are paying almost $480 on front for the 2 years plan, like that would’t screw over many family finances even on the developed world.

Can’t afford that? Well, it’s a 50% make up at $30/month, because f you for being poor and privacy is indeed a luxury.


Just to be clear, this thread was created to discuss Proton’s shortcomings, in terms of their apps, interface, feature parity across different operating systems, etc.

It was not created to discuss whether or not they’re private and secure, which has been determined already by the Privacy Guides team.

This isn’t to say you can’t say what you want here. Just, it might make sense to make another thread for that and have it separate.


Sorry, I just wanted to answer TheDoc’s question. I will delete the post.

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Hmm… It looks like I’m able to connect to their onion service just fine. Are you saying they redirected people to the clearnet site in the past?

In any case, I really don’t see how that indicates they’re a honeypot. I can’t see how a Proton onion service is beneficial to begin with, so it wouldn’t be surprising to me if they deprecated their onion service and decided to redirect users to the clearnet site instead.

Yes, they fixed it last year: A new Proton experience with Tor | Proton


There is a third-party bridge, if you’re interested.

Again, if you’re interested:


That would only work for the contacts. And only on desktop. And I’m not sure if I trust it to work reliably. I might try it though.

I mentioned the problems with that here:

It uses rclone underneath, but, when I tried it, it seemed to be very slow. I think it may be because of this issue (I have 16 cores, so…).

rclone itself works, but it’s not the same as a sync client of course. Since I only backup to Proton Drive, it’s not an issue for me. But it’s still unfortunate.



I thought rsync only supports one-way sync?