WhatsApp introduces end-to-end encryption for archives stored on Google Drive and iCloud. It’s been a month since the Facebook-owned company tested the update internally. Last month, WhatsApp announced the introduction of end-to-end encrypted cloud archiving for Android and iOS users. Plug-ins help protect backups from being accessed by third parties, including cloud storage providers like Google and Apple. WhatsApp claims to be able to protect chat history stored in backups.
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg announced the introduction of end-to-end encryption for cloud archiving via a post on his website. This feature is gradually rolling out to Android and iOS users worldwide to protect the extra layer of archives stored in the cloud.
From 2016, WhatsApp will offer end-to-end encryption as standard for messages circulating on its platform. The company claims that advanced encryption protects 100 billion messages per day as they are sent to more than two billion users worldwide.
However, WhatsApp users have also found the same level of encryption required for chat history and other content archived in the cloud within the app. This led to the introduction of end-to-end encryption for cloud archiving.
“If someone decides to archive their chat history with end-to-end encryption, it is only available to them and no one can unlock their backup, not even WhatsApp. Neither WhatsApp nor any backup service providers (such as Apple Paul) will have access to end-to-end encryption keys or end-to-end encrypted backups,” the company said.
How to enable end-to-end encryption to secure WhatsApp
WhatsApp currently offers end-to-end encryption for cloud backups on Android and iOS devices. Make sure you are using the latest version of WhatsApp to get updates.
Unlike the end-to-end encryption available by default, you will have to manually enable end-to-end encryption for cloud backups. You can do this by going to Settings > Chats > Chat Backup > Encrypted End-to-End Backup here and then following the on-screen instructions. You need to create a password for your archive. Alternatively, you can use a 64-bit encryption key.
When the steps on the screen are complete, tap Done and wait for WhatsApp to create your end-to-end encrypted archive. 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 fully restore your encrypted backup.
WhatsApp promised last month to enable end-to-end encrypted cloud archiving. Earlier this month, end-to-end encrypted cloud backups were tested on Android and iOS.