WhatsApp is about to make your messages more secure than ever

WhatsApp logo shown on a smartphone
(Image credit: Alex Ruhl / Shutterstock.com)

WhatsApp will soon be enhancing its encryption options by allowing users to store their encrypted messages as a backup on both Google Drive and iCloud, an unprecedented first for the Facebook-owned company.

The announcement was made on Mark Zuckerberg's own Facebook page. The Facebook CEO noted that "WhatsApp is the first global messaging service at this scale to offer end-to-end encrypted messaging and backups," while adding the technical challenge involved to make it happen was no small feat.

If all goes to plan, this end-to-end encryption solution should provide an extra layer of security for WhatsApp users, who will soon be able to store backups of their messages to their preferred cloud storage service.

Analysis: More security, less problems

Given the sheer size of WhatsApp's install base compared to other, similar messaging apps, an extra encryption solution like this becomes a necessity, especially when hundreds of billions of messages are shared every week. Now, frequent WhatsApp users have an extra layer of security for peace of mind. 

Think of it as two-factor authentication, but protecting encrypted message histories rather than your account. The end result offers a similar level of protection, just for a different type of data.

Previously, WhatsApp users were able to create backups of their message history in the event that they lose their phone, for example. However, users have not been able to safely backup their encrypted messages on a separate service until now, as cloud backups would lose their encryption when uploaded to the service.

Facebook has stressed that neither it nor companies like Google or Apple (owners of Google Drive and iCloud respectively) will be able to access a user's encrypted files. This means that your message history will be yours and yours alone to backup and keep safe.

Facebook insists that this storage feature will be optional, and will roll out to both iOS and Android users in the coming weeks. 

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.