WhatsApp adds encrypted cloud backups, but only for some beta users

WhatsApp has introduced a key privacy feature that'll help prevent unwanted snooping in your old chat logs — but you can only access it if you're a beta user on Android. With the latest beta update, WhatsApp now offers encrypted cloud backups, meaning that anyone who acquires your stored chat logs won't be able to read them.

Your WhatsApp chats are encrypted when using the app, but your chat backups to the cloud are another matter. Assuming someone gained access to, for example, your Google Drive and acquired those cloud backups, they'd be able to read your past messaging activity, making these logs a potential privacy issue.

WhatsApp is addressing this potential issue by adding an encrypted cloud backup option, which would encrypt the chat logs that are stored in your preferred cloud service account. The feature has finally arrived for some users, but you'll need to download the latest beta version of the app for Android to access it.

Users will see the new option in the app, which notes that enabling end-to-end encrypted backups will "secure your message history and media on Google Drive from unauthorized access." Users will see the current size of their cloud backups, as well as the option to continue with enabling the feature if they want.

As with anything involving enhanced security, there is a downside: you'll need to be careful about storing your password or 64-digit encryption key, otherwise, neither you nor anyone else will be able to decrypt the chat logs. Storing the encryption key comes with its own risk, though it would be much harder for someone to find a cold storage (printed on a piece of paper) copy hidden in your home compared to unencrypted backups of chat logs in the cloud.