ProtonMail blocks access to e-mails when invoice not paid, instead of automatically downgrading the account to a free plan

ProtonMail has blocked me from accessing my e-mails due to an unpaid invoice without any prior warning, instead of downgrading my account to a free plan.

I subscribed to a paid ProtonMail plan by using a Black Friday discount approximately 2 years ago. My main incentive was supporting ProtonMail’s efforts for protecting privacy and security in e-mail communications.

When I recently checked the status of my subscription out of curiosity, I noticed that my subscription period was already ended and ProtonMail automatically tried to renew my subscription for 2 years with a full price without my knowledge. The payment page showed that they issued an invoice for that, which was never sent to me, and tried to collect the amount in the invoice from the credit card they stored (I don’t remember that I have approved them to save my credit card information, I probably have forgotten it). They could not collect the amount because my credit card in their record was expired. All of this happened without my knowledge.

As far as I remember, I have never intended to make a subscription that renews for 2 years in the first place.

I have tried to downgrade my account as soon as I notice that my subscription period was ended. However, ProtonMail did not let me downgrade my account to a free plan, for the reason that the number of my addresses (custom domains, I guess) is more than the amount allowed in the free plan.

I tried to delete the additional addresses of my custom domains. However, it was not possible either… ProtonMail did not let me delete my addresses for the reason that there were associated e-mails from those accounts. I downloaded all my e-mails, deleted all associated e-mails and tried to remove my additional addresses again, however, ProtonMail still did not let me remove the addresses for the same reason. I don’t know why.

And after that, I realized today that I suddenly lost access to all my e-mails…

What would I expect instead?

  • ProtonMail could have processed my downgrade request immediately by making my additional e-mail accounts inoperable.
  • ProtonMail could have automatically downgraded my account to a free plan, instead of blocking my access to my e-mails.
  • ProtonMail should have warned me before they block my access to my e-mails.
  • ProtonMail should have been more clear about the renewing subscription. I have never intended to make a subscription which automatically renews for 2 years with a full price. At least they could renew it with the same discount rate, or by applying the current Black Friday discount.

This is not a customer-friendly approach in my opinion, especially in this day and age, where e-mail is a primary way of communication. This is the first time in my life I am losing access to my primary e-mail account. I am disappointed with ProtonMail today for this bad experience. I was a volunteer in promoting ProtonMail to my friends and family until this day. Blocking their users accessing their e-mails without warning is a great way for ProtonMail to permanently lose their users, supporters and paying customers. 

I have immediately contacted to ProtonMail support via e-mail. I requested a downgrade to a free plan or cancellation of the invoice issued for 2 years and a change of my subscription to a monthly one if a downgrade is not possible for any reason. I will upgrade this post when I get a reply from them.


I have got a reply from ProtonMail. They wrote to me that their policy does not allow them to make any account changes on their users’ behalf. This is their explanation for not downgrading my account to a free plan.

After some more effort, I have managed to switch to a free plan today, however, even after the switch, I was still blocked. 🙂 Another unpaid invoice was issued for $4.17 for 16 days passed after my subscription. I have paid this amount to gain access to my primary e-mail as soon as possible, although I felt I should not owe this amount because it was not my fault that I could not downgrade my account. I have stated this in my e-mail to them.

In their reply, they said that they noted my complaints, but they did not offer to refund the last invoice.

ProtonMail will no longer be my primary e-mail and I don’t think I will be a volunteer for them anymore.

How to restore local notes from backup on macOS

I will explain in this post how to restore local notes from a backup to Apple’s Notes app on macOS.

1. Quit Notes

2. Temporarily disable Notes in iCloud settings in System Preferences

3. Open Finder. Go to your home folder. Copy the folder in the following path to a safe location, just in case something goes wrong:

4. Create a backup of all notes which do not exist in your backup, if any… Copy & paste them to a safe place.

Warning! After the following step, all your existing notes will be permanently deleted and notes on the backup will replace them eventually. If your backup does not include all your notes, you will have to manually restore the missing parts by copying & pasting them into your Notes app.

5. If you are ready it is time to restore all your notes from your backup. Copy the folder in the following path from your backup to your home folder, or restore it via Time Machine from an older time point.

6. Run your Notes app and enable Notes in iCloud if you wish.

You should now have all your local Notes back… Congrats!

How to verify SHA or MD5 checksum on macOS

For sha256:

For sha1:

For sha512:

For md5:

Save file location of Rise of the Tomb Raider [Mac]

Save file location of Rise of the Tomb Raider [Mac]:

Go to this folder:

Double click to the Steam Saves shortcut. This will take you to a path like this:

You will find your save data in that folder.

How to review or cancel subscriptions in iOS

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap on the top row which shows your name in its title and “Apple ID, iCloud, iTunes & App Store” in its subtitle.
  3. Tap on “iTunes & App Stores”
  4. Tap on your “Apple ID:” row (pretty obvious, right?)
  5. Tap on the “View Apple ID” option in the alert style popup (seriously…)
  6. Enter pin & password, or use Touch ID or Face ID.
  7. Scroll down a little. You will see “Subscriptions”.

How to share files and folders from debian linux to macOS or Windows

tuxI took the following steps to share a folder from my computer with debian 10 to my Mac with macOS on my local area network (i.e. LAN, home network). Accessing from a PC running Windows is very similar and it is also explained below.

  1. To share files and folders: Go to your debian. Follow this official guide:
    1. Install the samba server.
    2. Edit config file.
    3. You don’t have to make your home folders writable, you can leave them as read-only. I even recommend making home folders not shared at all, just by commenting out all lines under [homes] section, including the section title, unless sharing all home folders is necessary.
    4. You can share just one folder under your home directory by adding another share definition.
    5. Add a user with a password to your samba server.
    6. Restart the samba server.
  2. To access shared files and folders over the network:
    If you use a Mac, use Finder to navigate to debian system on the network, click the “Connect as…” button to login with a username and password.
    If you use a PC, open Windows Explorer, navigate to Networks… Just connect to your debian system by using a username and password.




“But what says Socrates? – “One man finds pleasure in improving his land, another his horses. My pleasure lies in seeing that I myself grow day by day.”

The Golden Sayings of Epictetus, The Harvard Classics, 61st Printing, 1968, p. 172

Connection error (Xiaomi Mi Phone to PC via USB) (Solution)

If you have issues (empty folder, cannot connect, etc.) when connecting your Xiaomi phone to your PC via USB cable, you should try the following before you try anything else. This is how I solved it after I installed Mi Suite and enabled developer options and USB debugging; these were not necessary.

  1. Connect your device to your PC.
  2. Unlock your device (phone) if it is locked.
  3. On your device, swipe down from the top of the screen.
  4. Scroll down if necessary until you see the notification of the “Android System”. It should be saying something like “This device is charging from USB”. Click on for other options. Choose file transfer or photo transfer.

How to change wallpaper settings in Gnome 3

There is surprisingly not any GUI option in Gnome 3 by default to change wallpaper settings. I use “dconf-editor” for this purpose. It is possible to center, scale, tile or stretch a wallpaper by using it.

“dconf-editor” can be found in the main repositories of Debian. Once you installed it, open dconf-editor, and navigate to: org -> gnome -> desktop -> background. There you will see the pop-up menu which lets you make arrangements on your wallpaper.


How to install debian alongside Windows (dual boot) with full disk encryption

In this post, I will shortly list the steps to install debian using LVM and LUKS alongside a working Windows installation, as a dual boot system.

When you follow the following steps, you will have separate /home, root and swap partitions and all of them will be fully encrypted.

This is tested with debian 9 and Windows 10, 64-bit system with GPT partitioning structure.

  1. Create a free NTFS partition on your disk for Windows and a free disk space following the Windows partition for your Linux installation. I suggest at least 20G of disk size for Linux root partition. You may use debian live USB/CD and gparted for this purpose.
  2. Install Windows to the first partition.
  3. Plug the ethernet cable in and unplug all unnecessary USB disks except the installation one to prevent any mistake during installation and partitioning.
  4. Boot with a debian USB or compact disk and run the installer.
  5. Select a language: English
  6. Select your location: Choose yours.
  7. Configure locales: Choose yours or choose the US.
  8. Configure the keyboard: Choose yours.
  9. Detect network hardware: “Some of your hardware needs non-free firmware files to operate. The firmware can be loaded from removable media, such as a USB stick or floppy. In my case, the missing firmware file was “iwlwifi-7260-17.ucode”. “If you have such media available now, insert it, and continue. Load missing firmware from removable media“: No.
  10. Detect network hardware: “Some of your hardware needs non-free firmware files to operate. The firmware can be loaded from removable media, such as a USB stick or floppy. In my case, the missing firmware file was “rtl_nic/rtl8411-2.fw”. “If you have such media available now, insert it, and continue. Load missing firmware from removable media“: No.
  11. Please enter the hostname for this system: Choose yours. This will be the name of your computer and it may be visible on the local area network.
  12. Please enter the domain name. Choose yours or hit enter.
  13. Choose a mirror of the Debian archive: Choose yours. Hit enter when it asks you for a proxy if you don’t need one.
  14. Set up users and passwords: Just hit enter to disable root account.
  15. A user account will be created for you to use instead of the root account for non-administrative activities. Full name: Choose something or enter yours. Choose a password.
  16. Partition disks: Manual.
  17. Create a 500M partition at the beginning of the free disk space. Set its mount point as “/boot”, format it and use it as an ext4 journaling file system (In this guide boot partition will be unencrypted. It is possible to encrypt it and there are some tutorials about it online)
  18. “Configure encrypted volumes”. Write changes to the disk: Yes.
  19. “Please select the devices to be encrypted”: Select the free space. Write changes to the disk: Yes. The data will be overwritten: Yes. Erasing data… (This can take a little while)
  20. Choose a secure encryption passphrase.
  21. Configure the logical volume manager. Write the current partitioning scheme: Yes.
  22. Create volume group. Enter a name for volume group, such as “vg”.
  23. Select encrypted disk (/dev/mapper/sdx_crypt).
  24. Create a logical volume. Select vg. Give a logical volume name: root. Set its size. My suggestion: At least 20G.
  25. Create a logical volume. Select vg. Give a logical volume name: home. Set its size… Spare a few gigs for swap, if possible. Typically twice as your RAM size, but nowadays I think 4-8 gigs would be sufficient for most people.
  26. Create a logical volume. Select vg. Give a logical volume name: swap. Set its size. Give all the remaining space.
  27. Finish LVM configuration.
  28. Select LV root and configure it: Use as ext4, mount point /.
  29. Select LV home and configure it: Use as ext4, mount point /home.
  30. Select LV swap and configure it: Use as swap area.
  31. Finish partitioning and write changes to the disk.
  32. Installing the system… (This can take a while)

That’s it! Stay free & stay safe!

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