An important new WhatsApp security feature could be just around the corner. Intrepid sleuths at WABetaInfo (opens in new tab) spotted an as-yet-unreleased feature called Protected Backups in a beta version of the Android app.
As the feature is yet to be officially added to the app – and WhatsApp-owner Facebook is yet to say anything about it – details are a little scarce for now, but we do still have an interesting vision of what're in store for the popular messaging app.
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The feature was spotted in WhatsApp version 2.20.66 for Android. It's not currently functional, but analysis of the beta version's interface shows that WhatsApp users will, at some point, be able to save encrypted backups of their chats to Google Drive
A new option in the Chat Backup section of WhatsApp will give users the opportunity to 'Password protect backup' by enabling the Protected Backups feature. If you look at the Google Drive section of WhatsApp's setting at the moment, you'll see a warning that cloud backups are not protected by end-to-end encryption (as messages are). The new Protected Backup feature adds an extra layer of security meaning that neither WhatsApp nor Google will be able to see backups.
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As this security feature has only be discovered by WABetaInfo rather than having been announced by WhatsApp, it is impossible to say when it will become functional for beta testing – and even harder to guess when it might make its way to regular users. It's also hard to say whether iOS users will be given access to the same option; we'll just have to wait and see.
If you're interested in becoming a beta tester for WhatApp, you can sign up here (opens in new tab); there are no free places available right now, but it's worth checking back from time to time to see if that changes.
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Via WABetaInfo (opens in new tab)