WhatsApp began rolling out end-to-end encryption on Thursday for backups stored on Google Drive and iCloud. The rollout began months after the Facebook company tested the update internally. Last month WhatsApp announced it would provide end-to-end encrypted cloud backups for Android and iOS users. The opt-in feature helps users protect their backups from being accessed by third parties, including cloud storage providers like Google and Apple. It is also claimed to protect the chat history that is stored in backups of WhatsApp.
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg announced the introduction of end-to-end encryption for cloud backups in a post on his website. The function will gradually be rolled out worldwide for both Android and iOS users to provide additional protection for backups stored in the cloud.
WhatsApp has offered end-to-end encryption as standard for messages that circulate on its platform since 2016. The company claims that its advanced encryption protects over 100 billion messages per day as they travel between more than two billion users worldwide.
However, WhatsApp users also found the need for chat history and other cloud-backed content available in the app to be in the same level of encryption. This led to the introduction of end-to-end encryption for cloud backups.
“If someone chooses to secure their chat history with end-to-end encryption, it is only accessible to them and no one can 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 their end-to-end encrypted backup, ”the company said.
How to enable end-to-end encryption for WhatsApp backups
WhatsApp is currently rolling out end-to-end encryption for cloud backups on both 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 that is available by default, you have to manually enable end-to-end encryption for cloud backups. You can do this by going to settings > Chats > Chat backups > End-to-end encrypted backups and then follow the instructions on the screen. You need to create a password for your backup. Alternatively, you can use a 64-bit encryption key.
After completing the steps, tap on the screen complete and wait for WhatsApp to prepare your end-to-end encrypted backup. You may need to plug your phone into a power source as encryption requires some local resources on the device.
Note that if you forget your password or key, you will not be able to restore your end-to-end encrypted backup.
WhatsApp promised last month to enable end-to-end encrypted cloud backups. Earlier this month, it was also spotted testing end-to-end encrypted cloud backups on Android and iOS.