Big WhatsApp update: your chat backups can now be end-to-end encrypted, here is how

Big WhatsApp update: your chat backups can now be end-to-end encrypted, here is how

WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption for chat backups has started rolling out to WhatsApp users on both iOS and Android devices. Here is how the feature can help you and how you can enable it on your WhatsApp account.

(Image: Reuters) (Image: Reuters)

WhatsApp has finally started rolling out its much-awaited end-to-end encryption to WhatsApp chat backups. The encryption is being rolled out to WhatsApp users on both Android and iOS platforms around the globe. As expected, the new security feature will ensure an extra level of privacy to WhatsApp chats that will now extend right from your device to the cloud.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had first hinted at the new security feature last month in a post on the social media platform. Zuckerberg has now confirmed the rollout in yet another post, stating that the feature will bring more security to your private WhatsApp conversations.

The company will initially roll out the chat backup encryption slowly to people on iOS and Android around the world, in order to ensure there are no bugs. The rollout will pick up pace in the following weeks. Once available on your device, here is how the feature can help you, and how you can activate it for your WhatsApp account.

WhatsApp chat backup encryption: what is it?

WhatsApp already provides end-to-end encryption to messages sent through the chat app. This means there is no other way of knowing what's within the messages except through the sender or receiver's interface (phones). These messages, however, are stored on the two devices in conversation.

This encryption did not exist for your chats when you uploaded them to the cloud. You might have done this while backing up your chats to Google Cloud (Android users) or iCloud (iOS users). The new feature brings this much-needed functionality so that now your WhatsApp chats are encrypted even on the cloud.

This means your WhatsApp chat backup will be accessible only to you, and no one will be able to unlock this backup without the encryption key. This includes WhatsApp or any of the backup service providers (like Apple).

WhatsApp says that no other global messaging service at this scale provides this level of security for their users' messages, media, voice messages, video calls, and chat backups.

WhatsApp chat backup encryption: how to enable?

To create an end-to-end encrypted backup, make sure you are on the latest version of WhatsApp. Once you endure that, open Settings > Chats > Chat Backups > End-to-End Encrypted Backup, and then follow the prompts to create one.

Users will be able to create either a password or a 64-digit encryption key as a security for their end-to-end encrypted backup. Neither WhatsApp nor the backup service provider will be able to read the chat backups or access the key required to unlock it.