WhatsApp has finally added an option to allow users to encrypt their cloud backups. The feature first showed up back in March 2020 and is finally making its way to the users.
WhatsApp has offered end-to-end encryption for chats, but the company has been clear that the encryption does not extend to cloud backups stored on Google Drive. However, with the new feature, Android users will be able to set a password before uploading the backups on Google Drive. As WhatsApp notes, encrypting the backups will mean that users will need to enter the password when restoring a backup. The company further notes that it will not be able to help in case someone forgets the password as it is not shared with WhatsApp or Google. If you want extra security, then you can choose the "Use 64-digit Encryption key instead" option which will generate a random encryption key. Do make sure to take a backup of the key as WhatsApp will ask when you restore a backup and the company can't help you recover the key if you lose it.
To use the feature, you will need to follow the steps below:
- Open WhatsApp and tap on the three dots on the top right corner. Now, navigate to Settings > Chats > Chat backup
- Now select "Encrypt your Backups" under the 'Google Drive settings' section
- Tap on "Continue" and then tap on "Create Password"
- Now enter a password and tap on "Next". Do note that here you can tap on "Use 64-digit Encryption key instead" option if you want to use an encryption key instead of a password.
- Re-enter the password and tap on "Confirm" to enable encryption
Currently, the feature is only available on version 220.127.116.11 of WhatsApp for Android Beta. However, we do expect the company to roll it out to all the users in the coming months. Unfortunately, there is no word on encryption backup support for iOS users.