WhatsApp releases major new update to make its chats more secure

Popular messaging app provides iOS and Android users with end-to-end encrypted backups for chats - here’s how to activate it

WhatsApp has released an update to make it more secure. Reuters
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WhatsApp has released a new feature designed to make it more secure.

On October 14, the messaging app introduced end-to-end encrypted backups in chats.

WhatsApp already features end-to-end encryption by default, which protects messages between its two billion-plus users.

However, the new feature works to provide additional security to backups stored on the Google Drive or iCloud. Those wanting to backup their chats in case they lose their phone can now secure their chats with either a password or a 64-digit encryption key.

“Neither WhatsApp nor your backup service provider will be able to read your backups or access the key required to unlock it,” says a post on WhatsApp’s blog.

The feature ensures that even content that is uploaded to the cloud is encrypted, something that wasn’t available before. It therefore provides an additional level of security to all text, audio, images and video stored on the Google Drive or Apple’s iCloud. According to WhatsApp, “no other global messaging service at this scale provides this level of security for their users’ messages, media, voice messages, video calls, and chat backups”.

The new feature is being released gradually, with only users running the latest version of the app able to access it.

Here’s how you can turn on the end-to-end encrypted backup feature

1. Open Settings

2. Tap Chats > Chat Backup > End-to-end Encrypted Backup

3. Tap Turn On, then follow the prompts to create a password or key

4. Tap Create, and wait for WhatsApp to prepare your end-to-end encrypted backup. You might need to connect to a power source

The messaging platform says users won’t be able to restore their backup if they lose their WhatsApp chats and forget their password or key. WhatsApp cannot reset a password or a backup.

Updated: October 17, 2021, 11:55 AM