Parents' Guide to


By Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Ambitious "offline" messenger can't quite connect.

FireChat Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this app.

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The whole selling point of the app is that it works without the internet, but it's just not quite there yet. For some users, the first thing the app does when you try to sign up is ask for a Wi-Fi connection, which seems to contradict the intended purpose. Add to that the risks of opening your phone up to use a peer-to-peer network (possible information tracking and other interference) and unreliable messaging, and you're bound to be disappointed.

With chat and messaging only working half the time (or less), your only option is to hang out in the "Everyone" chat room, which often -- like most open chat rooms -- contains all kinds of commentary. FireChat's idea for an exponentially huge local network is a good one, especially in times of crisis when people need to communicate and cell towers and internet are unavailable. Sadly, at this writing, the app just doesn't deliver on its conceptual promise.

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