Facebook-owned chatting platform WhatsApp is adding its famous end-to-end encryption to the cloud backups of users on both Android and iOS devices in a win for online privacy.
The service has been using its end-to-end encryption to protect the privacy of chats and messages by default for the past five years, but its chat backups – to Google Drive if you’re on Android and iCloud if you’re on iOS – weren’t encrypted.
Now, GSMArena reports that users can turn on end-to-end encryption for their backups. It seems that the feature won’t be switched on by default and users will have to turn the encryption on themselves, at least according to an announcement by Facebook.
The feature was reportedly being tested for iOS in March of this year, with the company saying that: “To prevent unauthorized access to your iCloud Drive backup, you can set a password that will be used to encrypt future backups. This password will be required when you restore from the backup.”
Users will be able to activate encryption on their chat backups by navigating to Settings -> Chats -> Chat Backups -> End-to-End Encrypted Backup.
At this stage, users will have to input a password or a 64-digit encryption key that only they know and have access to. Once the password or key is set up, neither WhatsApp nor Google nor Apple nor anyone will be able to read your backed-up chats without it.
WhatsApp remains the only global messaging service to have such a high level of security available to all of its users for free. Facebook says that this new feature will be rolling out slowly to users with the latest versions of WhatsApp for Android and iOS.