Fix decryption error

As homeserver federation is a variable factor in key exchange, homeserver performance and networking does matter in preventing those issues. If you consistently encounter decryption issues, you may want to check whether your homeserver is working correctly. Specifically, if you are on, it is recommended to move to a different homeserver due to reliability issues.
Everyone should make sure that all of their active sessions are verified, and that there is at least one active session that you normally use at all times!

A detailed explanation is available on

For recipients

Note that the instructions are relative to Element, but in principle similar steps can be taken for other clients.

  1. if key backup is enabled for your account, go to Room Settings => Security & Privacy => Restore from Backup on the device that cannot read the message. If the option does not exist on your client, or if key backup is not enabled on your account yet (please enable it now!), continue.
  2. If at least one of your devices can read the messages:

    1. Open the device that can read the messages (“device A” thereafter) and navigate to the room that those messages are in.
    2. Open the device that cannot read the messages (“device B” thereafter) and navigate to the same room.
    3. The message keys should start coming in a few moments.
  3. If the above doesn’t work:

    1. Navigate to Settings => Security & Privacy on both devices.
    2. On device A, click “Export E2E room keys”. Follow the instructions.
    3. Move the resulting key file to device B.
    4. On device B, click “Import E2E room keys”. Follow the instructions.

Note that if you logged out of every device when you received the message, the message cannot be recovered. (Dehydrated devices will eventually fix this issue, but it will not recover anything that is already lost.)

For senders

If others cannot decrypt your message, try:

  • If you do not know what it does, disable the room-specific setting “Never send encrypted messages to unverified sessions in this room from this session” (in Room Settings => Security & Privacy), as well as the default setting “Never send encrypted messages to unverified sessions from this session” (in User Settings => Security & Privacy).
  • On PC Element (or Nheko), open the recipient’s profile and show their active sessions (for Element, under “Security”). Check if the session that your recipient is using is there. (Alternatively, on Element, check if a red warning indicating unverified or deleted/unknown devices appears next to your recipient’s message.) If not, please verify whether your homeserver and clients are working correctly. Some experimental client features (especially Sliding Sync) may interfere with decryption.
  • If you’re selfhosting, check your network setup!

To prevent future issues, try:

  • Entering /discardsession (on Element; /rotate-megolm-session on Nheko) in the room. Usually this happens automatically, but client (especially if your network is not stable) and homeserver hiccups could cause issues.