We have known for some time that WhatsApp is working on bringing a new secure backup option to the chat service. Much like the chats themselves, backups will soon be protected with end-to-end encryption, which will greatly reduce the risk that backed up messages and media will be seen by unwanted third parties.
Hints on how end-to-end encrypted backups will be implemented in WhatsApp have been seen in many beta versions, and the latest preview version of the app provides even more information.
WhatsApp Beta Tips for Android
It’s the latest beta of the Android version of WhatsApp that gives us a glimpse into the future. From this most recent version, we can see that WhatsApp will give users the option to view the encryption key that was used to protect their backups, allowing it to be noted.
When saving backups to Google Drive, WhatsApp will use a hex key for encryption. This is a fairly standard way to format encryption keys, and in the case of WhatsApp – as we can see from the screenshots shared by WABetaInfo – the keys will be 64 characters long. The image also shows that WhatsApp will remind users that the keys are made up of numbers and lowercase letters between a and f; this reminder is used to help people avoid typing the letter O instead of the number 0.
The Android app gives us a glimpse of what is being worked on right now this time around. Based on past experience, however, it’s pretty safe to assume that whatever we see introduced in the Android app will end up in the iOS version of the app as well – though not necessarily all at the same time.
If you would like to participate in the beta program, you can register here.