Your WhatsApp chats are about to get much more secure

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An important new WhatsApp security feature could be just around the corner. Intrepid sleuths at WABetaInfo 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.

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.

Chat backup lockdown

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; there are no free places available right now, but it's worth checking back from time to time to see if that changes.

Via WABetaInfo

Sofia Elizabella Wyciślik-Wilson
Freelance writer

Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 25 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fueled by technology, music and nature.

Having written for websites and magazines since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.

Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy. Her other loves include walking, music, her two Malamutes and, of course, her wife and daughter.

You can find her on Twitter and Mastodon.