After evidence emerged last year of encrypted cloud backups, WhatsApp appears to be testing the features according to new findings in the latest Android beta.
For those confused, yes, WhatsApp already offers end-to-end encryption for chats, but unfortunately, that does not extend as far as cloud backups of these chats when using a service such as Google Drive or iCloud. The only protection offered for your backups uploaded to Drive or iCloud is provided by those services and server-side encryption. WhatsApp even offers a warning within the “Backup” section to note:
“Messages and media backed up in Google Drive are not protected by WhatsApp end-to-end encryption.”
However, while the privacy conundrum has persisted for the Facebook-owned service, encrypted cloud backups are now in testing with the latest WhatsApp beta for Android according to WABetaInfo. WhatsApp v188.8.131.52 hints that this feature is not too far away with the ability to set a password for the encryption of any future chat backups. For the truly privacy-conscious, you can even use a 64-digit encryption key rather than a password. The only downside here is that this one-time access key means you’ll lose access to all content if you forgot the 64-digit pin.
Encrypted chat backups may be a highly sought-after feature for WhatsApp but may be further down the list than the highly requested multi-device support option. However, given that there are issues with cloud backups at present, it is great to see work ongoing. It’s not clear just how wide this user test is running. It could be available in the same way as the limited multi-device support — which is available to a small pool of users at present.
More on WhatsApp:
- WhatsApp multi-device support begins rolling out to select beta testers
- WhatsApp beta on Android adds voice note waveforms, ability to forward sticker packs
- WhatsApp multi-device support to be limited to one phone per account
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