How can I download my public and private keys?

ProtonMail uses PGP for end-to-end encryption. All users have two encryption keys, one public and one private. The public key can be shared with anyone and is used by your contacts to encrypt their messages to you. The private key is secret (you should never share it) and is used to decrypt incoming messages.

You can download your public and private keys from ProtonMail in order to send PGP encrypted emails to non-ProtonMail users or to use your keys in another PGP client. This is an advanced feature for technical users. You can learn more about using PGP with ProtonMail here.

How to download your public key

1. In the web app at mail.protonmail.com, go to Settings -> Keys.

2. Click on the arrow next to the email address whose public key you wish to download. Then click on the “EXPORT” button.

3. In the popup window, click on the “PUBLIC KEY” button.

4. Select a location on your device to download your public key and click on “Save”.

How to download your private key

1. In the web app at mail.protonmail.com, go to Settings -> Keys.

2. Click on the arrow next to the email address whose public key you wish to download. Then click on the “EXPORT” button.

3. In the popup window, click on the “PRIVATE KEY” button.

4. Enter your ProtonMail account password and click on “SUBMIT”.

5. In the next popup window, you will be asked to set a password to encrypt your private key before exporting. You will need to use this password to access your private key on your device. Once you have created a password, click on “EXPORT”.

6. Select a location on your device to download your public key and click on “Save”.

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15 comments

  1. ernest

    No download on my browser (iPhone).

    Why ?

  2. ProtonMail Support

    Please contact our support team using the support form at https://protonmail.com/support-form.

  3. Wolfgang

    „Trust“ starts with the UPLOAD of the key pair?!?

  4. Hasan

    Not the key pair. You only hand out your PUBLIC key to others. You should never-ever share your private key with anyone, or even transmit it to yourself over an unsecured channel on the Internet. You can share your public key with those who wish to send you encrypted messages. They use your public key to encrypt their messages to you. You can then decrypt those messages using your private key. ProtonMail does this automatically between two ProtonMail users.

  5. Brian

    Is there a way to download the public key of a ProtonMail user so I can send PGP mail in from the outside?

  6. ProtonMail Support

    We have a keyserver running at hkps://api.protonmail.ch (see https://protonmail.com/blog/address-verification-pgp-support/). We also support WKD, which allows other people to find ProtonMail keys using gpg --locate-keys.

  7. Romeo Shamaoun

    greetings
    how are you all? i need to access all my contacts. can you help me, please?
    Thanks.God bless you all

  8. ProtonMail Support

    Please contact our support team: https://protonmail.com/support-form.

  9. Jake

    As the last step outlines, the user is required to set a password to encrypt their private key before exporting. What software should be used to decrypt the ProtonMail public key?

  10. ProtonMail Support

    If you add your private key to another PGP-enabled email client, you will need the password added during export from ProtonMail in order to decrypt the messages in that email client.

  11. Jake

    But which software should be used?

  12. Jake

    Step 5 could do with some elaboration:

    1) What sort of encryption is entailed – OpenPGP?

    2) And the setting of a password for the private key – is this equivalent to setting a passphrase for a private key in Kleopatra or Gnu Privacy Assistance (GPA) ?

  13. ProtonMail Support

    2) Yes, this is the same, meaning that 1) works just like a passphrase does with other PGP solutions.

  14. grady

    If I have someone’s public key in text form, say it is posted somewhere, How do I convert that text to a file that I can then upload and add to that person as a contact.

  15. ProtonMail Support

    If you have the armored text, save it as a .txt file with a text editor, rename it to filename.asc and import that. You should also be able to import it even if you don’t change the extension from .txt to .asc.

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