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WhatsApp rolls out support for encrypted message backups (Updated)

You can now lock away your personal messages on Google Drive or iCloud.

Published onOctober 15, 2021

WhatsApp use in hand
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
  • WhatsApp is now rolling out support for encrypted message backups.
  • That means users of the app can encrypt any backup messages that they send to cloud storage services.
  • The new feature is available for iOS and Android users of the app.

Update: October 15, 2021 (3:05 AM ET): WhatsApp is officially rolling out end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) backup support to users on Android and iOS. The new feature allows users to lock their private messages on Google Drive or iCloud behind a password or “a 64-digit encryption key.”

The optional layer of security can be found by heading to Settings > Chats > Chat Backup > End-to-end Encrypted Backup in the app.

Original article: September 10, 2021 (12:16 PM ET): WhatsApp is going to make storing old texts on its popular messaging service a bit safer. The app’s parent company Facebook announced today it will soon add support for encrypted message backups.

The E2EE backups can create a randomly generated 64-digit encryption key for any messages that WhatApp users want to save. Then those encrypted messages can be stored on cloud services like Google Drive or iCloud.

Read also: The essential WhatsApp tricks and tips you should know

Users will also have the option of creating a password for their old messages. In that case, the randomly generated key is stored in a Backup Key Vault with a hardware security module (HSM). Once the messages are stored, users can then type in their password to the Backup Key Vault to get their encrypted key and unlock the old messages from storage. The key will become inaccessible once a certain number of unsuccessful password attempts are made.

WhatsApp has released a whitepaper that goes into far more technical detail on how this new feature will work. Encrypted message backups should start rolling out sometime in the coming weeks to Android and iOS users.

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