What is Tella?
In challenging environments, with limited or no internet connectivity or in the face of repression, Tella is an app that makes it easier and safer to document human rights violations and collect data.
For more information on how to use Tella, visit the Getting Started guide.
Who makes Tella?
Tella is developed and maintained by Horizontal, a human rights non-profit. In addition to developing Tella, Horizontal develops other privacy and security tools, and trains activists, journalists, and human rights defenders in digital security.
Is Tella available on Android?
Yes, Tella is available for Android and can be downloaded directly from the Google Play Store , from our Telegram channel or from this folder, as an APK, to be installed manually. If you need to help to install the app manually you can follow this guide or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about How to find and download Tella from the Play Store and How to install Tella manually in our video tutorials.
Is Tella available on F-Droid?
Yes, we published a version of Tella Android on F-Droid, which we call Tella-FOSS. On this version, all features are available except for:
- Tella Web Connection
- Option to delete original file when importing
- Some of the Camera’s features (zoom, flip camera, enable flash, enable grid, change video resolution)
This version is fully open source, which means that all code of Tella and the code of all libraries that Tella uses are fully free and open source.
This version does not contain any trackers, not even the ones which help us detect bugs and crashes on Android.
Is Tella available on iOS?
Yes, Tella for iOS can be downloaded from the App Store. Tella for iOS is in an earlier stage of development, so not all features are available yet. However, it is stable and has undergone a security audit.
For details about which features are available for iOS, see What features are available on each platform.
What features are available on each platform?
|App Lock||Password, PIN, Pattern||Password, PIN||Password, PIN, Pattern|
|Lock timeout configuration||✔️||✔️||✔️|
|Camera silent mode||✔️||Not yet||✔️|
|Restrict unlocking attempts||✔️||✔️||Not yet|
|Edit Media||Crop and Rotate Photos||Not yet||Not yet|
|Encrypted file management||✔️||✔️||✔️|
|Import files from device||✔️||✔️||Yes but missing delete original file|
|Preserve metadata when importing||✔️||✔️||Not yet|
|Camouflage||✔️||Not possible in iOS||✔️|
|Camera (photos and videos)||✔️||✔️||Yes but missing zoom, flip camera, enable flash and enable grid|
|Select video resolution||✔️||Not yet||Not yet|
|Open files in Tella||Photos, videos, audio||Photos, videos, audio, PDF||Photos, videos, audio|
|Verification mode||✔️||Not yet||✔️|
|Connections to collect data and send files||- Tella Web |
- Open Data Kit (Forms)
|- Tella Web||- Uwazi |
- Open Data Kit (Forms)
|Offline data collection||✔️||✔️||✔️|
For more details about each feature see Features .
Is Tella available on desktop?
Tella Web is a web app that acts as a repository to store reports submitted by Tella users, including photos, videos, and audio. Learn more about Tella Web here
Note that it is not possible to encrypt and hide files or create reports on Tella Web. These features are only available on the mobile apps. Tella Web will be one of the options available to collect data from Tella see connections
Where can I get Tella?
Is Tella free?
Yes, Tella is free to download and use. It will remain free forever.
Tella is also Open Source.
What languages is Tella available in?
Language accessibility is one of our priority, so we work hard to make Tella available in languages spoken by communities who express the need for Tella.
Currently Tella is available in:
- Karen Sgaw
- Spanish (Latin America)
Read more about Language Accesibility in Tella here.
Does Tella work on tablets?
Tella works on Android tablets, but it is currently not available on iPad. Please email us if iPad support is important to you so that we can make it a priority.
Where can I send my suggestions to improve Tella?
We'd love to hear from you! Please contact us!
How much storage do I need to install Tella?
The Tella app itself is small:
- 19MB on Android
- 7MB on iOS
The app size will grow depending on the size of the data stored on it. There is an option to configure the quality of the videos taken with Tella (Very high, High, Medium or Low) if users needs to save space. It's also possible to delete the files, photos and videos in Tella to save space.
How much can I store in Tella? What is the storage limit?
There is no specific storage limit for Tella, limits will depend on the system storage space available in your device.
External storage locations (like SD cards) are not currently used by Tella.
Security & Privacy
I can't remember my lock. How can I get into Tella?
Unfortunately there is no way of getting into Tella if you forgot your lock. You will have to uninstall Tella and reinstall it. There is no way of retrieving the files that were stored in Tella.
Learn more about Tella Locks in our video tutorials.
How secure is Tella?
There is no such thing as an app that is 100% "secure". Security is dependent on the threats and risks faced by each user. With this in mind, we built Tella to protect users from device searches (at checkpoints, borders, in the street, etc) and to protect sensitive files and data, both on the device and when they send them.
To do this, Tella encrypts all data in the user's device, locks using password protections, and can be hidden with a variety of camouflage options. It also encrypts all data that is sent to servers. You can read details about how do we do this, and some risks and limitations on the Security & privacy section of Tella's
Has Tella undergone security audits?
Yes! You can see all our security audits here .
What does it mean to "deploy" Tella?
Deploying Tella means getting Tella ready to use for your specific context and among your community or organization. This might include:
- assessing where your data will live (for example using a third party server or self-hosting it)
- deciding how are you going to structure your data
- installing and configuring the server
- training users and helping them get the app installed and configured
- planning for maintenance of the server
Please go to the For Organizations section to read more about deploying Tella.
Can you help me deploy Tella?
Yes, we'd love to! Tell us about what you want to use Tella for and in what context you want to deploy it email@example.com and we'll get in touch.
How is Tella different from other documentation apps?
We want to help you understand if Tella is the best app for your specific context. There are other documentation apps developed by other organizations and human rights defenders that you might consider as well.
We created this comparison table to help you understand the difference between Tella and other apps available, but of course, we may be biased 😊. For comparisons by independent organizations, have a look at the links below.
|EyeWitness to Atrocities||CameraV||ProofMode|
|Data-collection (data is sent to, and stored on, a remote server)||✓||✓||✓||✗||✗|
|Self-host option (full control over data)||✓||✓||✗||✗||✗|
|Advocacy or legal support||✗||✗||✓||✗||✗|
Some research and reflections about Tella--and the human rights documentation process in general--can be found here:
- Should I Use This Documentation App? by WITNESS.
- The Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG), in partnership with The Engine Room and HURIDOCS, published a wide-ranging needs assessment report for human rights documenters, transitional justice actors, and tool developers. This microsite by The Engine Room present some of the report findings.
- The Engine Room assessed some of the tech tools available for human rights documenters here.