WhatsApp Starts Beta Testing End-to-End Encrypted Cloud Backups on Android, iOS: Report
WhatsApp was recently spotted testing end-to-end encrypted cloud backups. The change is rolling out to beta testers on both Android and iOS platforms, according to a report. WhatsApp’s new update aims to protect backups stored on Google Drive and iCloud by giving users the option to encrypt them. The process adds an additional layer of security to message history and media files stored in WhatsApp backups. The instant messaging app was also separately spotted redesigning the contact info section of the app on Android that may soon be available to beta testers.
WABetaInfo, a website that tracks WhatsApp beta versions, has reported that the Facebook-owned messaging app has started testing end-to-end encrypted cloud backups for iPhone users through WhatsApp for iOS beta version 18.104.22.168. WhatsApp is also said to have started rolling out the end-to-end encrypted backup option for select beta testers via WhatsApp for Android beta version 22.214.171.124.
Last month, WhatsApp announced end-to-end encrypted cloud backups as an optional feature to let users secure their message history and media files available on Google Drive and iCloud. The announcement came months after WhatsApp was spotted testing the feature internally. However, the instant messaging app has not provided a specific timeline for when the option will be available to end users.
By enabling end-to-end encrypted backups, you will be able to protect your message content backed up on WhatsApp from third parties — including Google and Apple that offer their cloud service for storing the backups. WhatsApp also claimed that even its team is not able to access the content of the backups that are end-to-end encrypted.
It is important to note that users need to remember a password that they use to add the new layer of protection to their backups. In case a user forgets their password and loses their phone, the encrypted backup would not be restored.
WhatsApp also demonstrated an option to use a 64-bit encryption key for adding the end-to-end encryption layer to backups instead of creating a new password. The screenshots shared by WABetaInfo, though, suggest that encryption key support isn’t yet available for beta testers on Android. Gadgets 360 wasn’t able to spot the update on the latest WhatsApp beta for Android devices.
Alongside end-to-end encrypted backups, WhatsApp is found to be testing a redesigned contact info section for Android users, where users will get the existing Chat, Audio, and Video buttons just below the profile photo of their contacts. WABetaInfo has shared a screenshot to suggest the redesign. Some references of the update are said to be a part of WhatsApp for Android beta 126.96.36.199, though the changes are yet to be seen even on the latest beta release.
Previously, WhatsApp was spotted working on a redesigned contact/ group card interface on Android that appears when you tap the profile photo of a contact or a group from your chat list. That card also included Chat, Audio, and Video buttons below the profile photo of a contact or group.