WhatsApp Still Working on Password-Protected Encrypted iCloud Backups

WhatsApp is working on a way to secure users' chat backups in iCloud using password-protected encryption, according to a new report from forthcoming-feature specialist WABetaInfo.

Whatsapp Feature
The Facebook-owned chat platform began early work on the security feature back in March 2020. Currently, WhatsApp on iPhone lets users back up their chat history to ‌iCloud‌, but messages and media that users back up are not protected by WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption while in ‌‌iCloud‌.

Apple holds the encryption keys to ‌iCloud‌, and does provide backed-up data to authorities when lawfully requested, as outlined in its semiannual Transparency Reports. The new WhatsApp feature, should it see the light of day, would resolve that security hole by allowing users to encrypt and password-protect their chat history before uploading it to Apple's cloud-based platform.

In screenshots posted by WABetaInfo, WhatsApp describes the password-protection like so:

"To prevent unauthorized access to your iCloud Drive backup, you can set a password that will be used to encrypt future backups. This password will be required when you restore from the backup."

The user is then asked to confirm their phone number and select a password of at least eight characters in length. Another screenshot forewarns users that "WhatsApp will not be able to help recover forgotten passwords."


It's unclear when the security feature will go live, but after the recent exodus from WhatsApp prompted by the service's poorly explained privacy policy update, sooner would be better than later.

Rival encrypted messaging services Telegram and Signal have both experienced a surge in signups following the controversy, which led WhatsApp to delay the privacy policy update until May while it attempts to deal with the fallout and clarify to users that the changes won't affect the privacy of their conversations.

Top Rated Comments

peneaux Avatar
17 months ago
I guess it's too late now. Move to Signal.

Remember WhatsApp is owned by FACEBOOK!
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Cybbe Avatar
17 months ago
Good. And it would be great if this puts pressure on Apple do develop a similar feature for iMessage chats. It has been reported that Apple has consciously chosen to not (end-to-end) encrypt chats backed up to iCloud to allow the government to access people's private conversations, a serious hole in Apple's public commitment to privacy.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bebarhood Avatar
17 months ago
I wish we could have a cross-platform backup and restore.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Pair Avatar
17 months ago
I think the solution Apple have chosen to use is probably quite a good measure as it satisfies both sides. In that if people wish to keep the conversation totally private they can opt not to back up their messages to iCloud, and equally if the government wish to access these messages through necessary legal processes then they can do so, if the backups exist. This prevents a situation whereby if they are totally encrypted, Governments may end up taking further action to prevent encryption or insist on a back door which would totally undermine the purpose of encryption.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Deguello Avatar
17 months ago

It’s better than legislated backdoors which would render there to be effectively no encryption. this way there is a choice given.
It’s specifically icloud backups. You can still backup locally with the encryption and then if you wish back up to the cloud.
Still a false dichotomy.

Backing up locally with encryption then backing that up to the cloud is backing up to the cloud with encryption, just with an extra step. All your proposal does is expose the less tech-savvy to exposure. And, by your logic, if everyone did that then we’d be right back at legislated back doors.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jasonefmonk Avatar
17 months ago
It would be nice to know which third-party chat apps encrypt your chats even in backup scenarios.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

apple privacy

Apple Makes iCloud Safari Bookmarks End-To-End Encrypted [Updated]

Monday October 4, 2021 1:28 am PDT by
Apple has toggled end-to-end encryption for Safari bookmarks in iCloud, further expanding the type of user data that the company fully encrypts, offering the highest level of privacy and data protection. Spotted on Reddit, an update to Apple's "iCloud security overview" page has indicated that alongside Safari tabs and history, Safari bookmarks are now end-to-end encrypted, meaning no one,...
whatsapp multi device support

WhatsApp Rolls Out Multi-Device Support to All Users on iOS and Android

Monday November 8, 2021 1:19 am PST by
WhatsApp has rolled out multi-device support to all users on iOS and Android, allowing WhatsApp to be used on up to four linked devices without users needing to be connected via a smartphone. To enable multi-device support, users need to join the multi-device beta. Launch WhatsApp on iPhone, then select Settings -> Linked Devices. Select Multi-Device Beta, then tap Join Beta. Once that's...
Whatsapp Feature

WhatsApp Rolling Out Ability to Transfer Chats Between iOS and Android

Wednesday August 11, 2021 8:16 am PDT by
One of the biggest hurdles for customers looking to switch between Android and iOS is their inability to transfer their WhatsApp chats between the two different ecosystems. Now, that's coming to an end, as WhatsApp has officially announced that it will easily allow users to transfer their chats between Android and iOS. As reported first by Engadget, WhatsApp used airtime during Samsung's...
Whatsapp Feature

WhatsApp Readies Message Reactions for iPhone and Android

Wednesday February 2, 2022 4:21 am PST by
WhatsApp's plan to bring iMessage-style message reactions to the massively popular chat platform appears to be entering its final stages, based on new screenshots shared by WABetaInfo. WhatsApp has been working on message reactions – or "Tapbacks" in Apple Messages parlance – for some time, with evidence of their development first coming to light last summer. The feature gives...
General Insta Facebook Messenger Feature Blue

Facebook Delays Plans to Use End-to-End Encryption As Default for Messenger and Instagram Messages Until at Least 2023

Monday November 22, 2021 6:32 am PST by
Facebook, now rebranded to "Meta," is delaying plans to use end-to-end encryption for Messenger and Instagram messages until at least 2023, a year later than the previous deadline promised by the social media behemoth. Writing in The Telegraph, Meta's head of global safety, Antigone Davis, said that the company is pushing back its deadline to roll out end-to-end encryption as the default...
Whatsapp E2EE Backups

WhatsApp's End-to-End Encrypted Chat Backups Feature Now Rolling Out

Friday October 15, 2021 1:09 am PDT by
WhatsApp end-to-end encrypted backups are now rolling out for iPhone users, Facebook has announced. Until now, WhatsApp let users back up their chat history to ‌‌iCloud‌‌, but the messages and media contained in the backups weren't protected by WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption while in ‌‌Apple's cloud servers‌. Since Apple holds the encryption keys for ‌iCloud‌ Backup, a...
password hide security recommendation ios 15 4

iOS 15.4 Beta Adds Option to Hide iCloud Keychain Security Recommendations

Tuesday February 1, 2022 9:59 am PST by
For iCloud Keychain passwords, Apple has long offered security recommendations for weak, compromised, or repeated passwords that need updating for maximum protection, but in some situations, you might have passwords that you can't change and annoying alerts you can't get rid of. That's changing in iOS 15.4, which is currently in beta testing. In the iOS 15.4 update, any security...
half off 1pass 2

Deals Exclusive: Get Your First Year of the 1Password Individual Plan for 50% Off

Wednesday February 16, 2022 10:36 am PST by
We've partnered with 1Password again this month, this time offering our readers a chance to get 50 percent off their first year of 1Password for Individuals. This offer is available to new customers only, and it doesn't require a coupon code. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with 1Password. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep...

Popular Stories

2022 back to school apple

Apple Launches 2022 Back to School Offer: Up to $150 Gift Card With Mac or iPad

Friday June 24, 2022 5:08 am PDT by
Apple today launched its annual "Back to School" promotion for college/university students in the United States and Canada. This year's promotion offers a free Apple gift card with the purchase of an eligible Mac or iPad, rather than free AirPods like last year. Apple is also offering students 20% off AppleCare+ plans during the promotion. Apple is offering a $150 gift card with the purchase ...
apple ar headset concept 2

Apple CEO Tim Cook Hints at AR/VR Headset: 'Stay Tuned and You'll See What We Have to Offer'

Wednesday June 22, 2022 6:34 pm PDT by
CEO Tim Cook this week did an interview with China Daily, where he once again commented on on the future of augmented reality and hinted at Apple's work on an AR/VR headset. Render via designer Ian Zelbo Cook said that Apple is excited about the opportunities available with augmented reality, which is not too far off from prior comments that he's made, but he went on to say that people should ...
airpods pro 2 1

AirPods Pro 2 Said to Feature Upgraded H1 Chip, Find My, Heart Rate Detection, USB-C and More

Friday June 24, 2022 9:48 am PDT by
The next-generation AirPods Pro could come with a long list of new features that include heart rate detection, the ability to function as a hearing aid, and a USB-C port according to a report from 52Audio. The site claims that it has received new information on the AirPods Pro 2, and it has used that information to provide some renders on what the earbuds might look like. Design wise, there...
customize wallpaper setting ios 16

iOS 16 Beta 2 Tidbits: New Wallpaper Colors, Backup Over LTE, SMS Filtering and More

Wednesday June 22, 2022 2:16 pm PDT by
Apple today seeded the second betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 to developers for testing purposes, and the new betas introduce new features and refine some of the changes that Apple made with the first iOS 16 release. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Lock Screen Photo Wallpaper Customization When customizing a photo on the Lock Screen, there are two new DuoTone and...
home app ios 16

Apple Confirms iPad Will No Longer Be Supported as a Home Hub in iOS 16

Wednesday June 22, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
The iPad will no longer be able to be used as a home hub following the launch of iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS Ventura, and the HomePod 16 software this fall, Apple confirmed today. As discovered in iOS 16 code by MacRumors contributor Steve Moser, Apple says that the iPad will no longer be supported as a home hub. This information will be displayed in the Home app after updating to iOS 16.A home ...
apple ar headset concept 1

Apple Rumored to Announce 'Game-Changer' AR/VR Headset in January 2023

Friday June 24, 2022 2:52 am PDT by
Apple is "likely" to announce its long-rumored mixed-reality headset as soon as January 2023, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reiterated. Concept render based on purported leaked information by Ian Zelbo In a detailed post on Medium, Kuo explained that Apple's headset will be a "game-changer" for the augmented-reality and virtual-reality market. Describing some of the headset's...