May 22, 2024

WhatsApp highly recommends this important function

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Many people have become aware of end-to-end encryption of WhatsApp chats. Users can also activate a similar function themselves.

Kassel – If you compare WhatsApp today with its previous versions, it is difficult to recognize the messenger. The app is constantly changing, and WhatsApp recently surprised people with a new look for the app. Almost in parallel, WhatsApp developers have integrated Android audio transcripts and self-deleting voice messages. But even if the company usually communicates updates openly, many people probably didn't notice a useful security function at first.

WhatsApp offers its users the option of “end-to-end encrypted backup” – but it must be activated individually. © Imago/Rene Trout

End-to-end encryption of WhatsApp backups – does not happen automatically

To continue using the application, WhatsApp users should make sure to agree to the new guidelines anyway. However, one function has remained available for a much longer time, even though very few people know about it. Most people probably know that the messenger offers what is called end-to-end encryption. But the same principle can also be applied to in-app backups.

WhatsApp explains itself website: “End-to-end encryption ensures that only you and the person you're communicating with can read or listen to what's been sent — and no one in between, not even WhatsApp.” However, users do not have to change any settings to make messages more secure.

The situation is different with backups. Here too, users can rely on end-to-end encryption. However, users must take action themselves to activate the security feature. The company reported this via X, formerly Twitter, in early 2022.

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This is how you can activate end-to-end encryption for WhatsApp backups

  • Tap Settings > Chats > Chat Backup.
  • Tap End-to-end encrypted backup.
  • Click Run and follow the instructions to create a 64-digit password or encryption key.
  • Click Create or Create.

However, if you forget your backup encryption password but can still access WhatsApp, you can restore encrypted backups using a PIN or smart tools like facial recognition or Touch ID. WhatsApp itself cannot send the password to the user, reset it or restore the backup.

“If you enable device backups for your entire iPhone, your WhatsApp chat history will be excluded from device backups after you turn on end-to-end encrypted backups,” the company explains. Your photos, videos, and personal files are also encrypted when stored in iCloud or Google Drive.

The messenger also introduced some changes in 2023. For example, WhatsApp chat blocking has been revised. This should provide more privacy. (bk)