After announcing end-to-end encrypted chat backups last month, WhatsApp has started rolling out the long-awaited feature on iOS for beta testers. With this feature, you can safely backup your chats on iCloud and protect them with a password. That said, do keep in mind that you will need this password to restore your cloud backup.
End-to-End Encrypted WhatsApp Chat Backups on iOS
Once your backup is end-to-end encrypted, no one except you can access the backup and that includes Apple and WhatsApp. As WhatsApp detailed in a blog post, the feature lets users utilize a 64-digit encryption key or a password to retrieve the key from the HSM-based Backup Key Vault. According to WhatsApp, the Backup Key Vault has a brute-force prevention mechanism that renders the key permanently inaccessible after a limited number of unsuccessful retrieval attempts.
Anmol from our team has got access to the feature and this is what it looks like:
If you are on WhatsApp’s TestFlight program for iOS, you can check if you have the encrypted chat backups feature from Settings -> Chats -> Chat Backup -> End-to-end Encrypted Backup. We will also be publishing a guide with all the details you need to know to use encrypted chat backups soon.
WABetaInfo points out that you should disable WhatsApp from your regular device backup that lacks end-to-end encryption when you enable this feature. You can do that from Settings -> Your Name -> iCloud -> Manage Storage -> Backup -> Disable WhatsApp. You will have to manually restore the chat history from WhatsApp after enabling E2E chat backups when you’re switching phones.