WhatsApp began rolling out end-to-end encryption for backups stored on Google Drive and iCloud on Thursday. The rollout began months after the Facebook-owned company tested the update internally. Last month, WhatsApp announced that it would start rolling out end-to-end encrypted cloud backups for Android and iOS users. The activation feature will help users protect their backups from access by third parties, including cloud storage providers such as Google and Apple. It is also claimed to protect chat history stored in WhatsApp backups.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the deployment of end-to-end encryption for cloud backups via a post on his page. The feature will be rolled out globally for Android and iOS users on a phased basis to provide an additional layer of protection for backups stored in the cloud.
Since 2016, WhatsApp has offered end-to-end encryption by default for messages circulating on its platform. The company claims that advanced encryption protects more than 100 billion messages per day as they travel between more than two billion users around the world.
However, WhatsApp users have also seen the need for the same level of encryption for chat history and other cloud-saved content that is available on the app. This resulted in the launch of end-to-end encryption for cloud backups.
“If someone chooses to save their chat history with end-to-end encryption, it will only be accessible to them, and no one will be able to unlock their backup, not even WhatsApp. Neither WhatsApp nor the backup service provider (like Apple) will be able to access their end-to-end encryption key or end-to-end encrypted backup, ”the company said.
How to enable end-to-end encryption for WhatsApp backups
WhatsApp is currently deploying end-to-end encryption for cloud backups on Android and iOS devices. Make sure you are using the latest version of WhatsApp to get the update.
Unlike the existing end-to-end encryption which is available by default, you must manually enable end-to-end encryption for cloud backups. You can do this by going to Settings > Discussions > Chat backups > End-to-end encrypted backups then follow the on-screen instructions. You will be asked to create a password for your backup. You can also use a 64-bit encryption key.
When you have completed the steps on the screen, press Ended and wait for WhatsApp to prepare your end-to-end encrypted backup. You may need to connect your phone to a power source as the encryption will require some local resources of the device.
It is important to note that you will not be able to restore your end-to-end encrypted backup if you forget your password or key.
WhatsApp promised to enable end-to-end encrypted cloud backups last month. It was also spotted earlier this month testing end-to-end encrypted cloud backups on Android and iOS.