The latest beta update for WhatsApp comes with an important new feature that could be a boon for privacy enthusiasts. Called ‘Protected Backups’, the new feature will enable users to encrypt their chat backups on Google Drive to safeguard their privacy.

First spotted by well-known WhatsApp tipster WABetaInfo, the new feature is still under development and there’s no immediate timeline on when it might be rolled out to general users.

The Protected Backups feature has been spotted in WhatsApp beta for Android version no. 2.20.66, but do note that it’s yet to be enabled for general users. Once it is available, you will have the option to store backups in an encrypted form on Google Drive, which means neither Google nor WhatsApp will be able to access any of your messages.

The backup’s contents can only be unlocked with a password, but as can be seen from the screenshot below, users will have an option to turn it on or off depending on whether they want to encrypt their chat history or not.

Screenshot Courtesy: WABetaInfo

As mentioned already, the feature is still in the very early stages of development with no word on when it may be rolled out for regular users. However, given WhatsApp’s propensity to take an inordinate amount of time to roll out new features, it’s anybody’s guess as to how long it will take for it to be available going forward.

It’s also worth noting that the ‘Protected Backups’ feature has only been spotted in the Android app, so it’s not immediately clear as to when it will start rolling out to the iOS version.