WhatsApp is very secure to use, and one of the things that make it so is its end-to-end encrypted messaging support. This end-to-end encryption works when you chat with another person using the app. End-to-end encryption guarantees only you and the person you are chatting with can read or listen to what is sent, and nobody else, not even WhatsApp, can see them.
This end-to-end encrypted messaging support makes this instant messaging platform ideal for sharing sensitive data without worrying about third parties meddling through them. But there’s a catch. Your WhatsApp backups to the cloud were not encrypted, posing a risk to your security. Around two years ago, Meta resolved this, enabling WhatsApp backups to Google Drive, which a password could protect.
“While end-to-end encrypted messages you send and receive are stored on your device, many people also want a way to back up their chats in case they lose their phone… We are making available an extra, optional layer of security to protect backups stored on Google Drive or iCloud with end-to-end encryption,” WhatsApp said during that time. “You can now secure your end-to-end encrypted backup with either a password of your choice or a 64-digit encryption key that only you know. Neither WhatsApp nor your backup service provider will be able to read your backups or access the key required to unlock it.”
However, just like any other password, you might forget this encrypted password if you do not change your phone regularly. So, to make sure you won’t forget this password, WhatsApp will now literally bug you, reminding you to enter that password.
News on WABetaInfo reported on Monday that WhatsApp users are now being asked to enter their end-to-end encrypted backup’s password or 64-digit key after they updated to the app’s latest build. Also, users cannot use the application unless they enter the backup’s password or disable encrypted backups.
“People can definitely [experiment] with an advanced layer of privacy by enabling end-to-end encrypted backups. However, some users have lost access to their encrypted backup because they couldn’t remember the password they had chosen,” WABetaInfo stated. “For this reason, WhatsApp developed a feature that allows the user to verify if the password is correct, and it is available after installing one of the latest versions of WhatsApp for iOS and Android.”
This new feature serves as a reminder to make sure you do not forget your encrypted backup password since if this happens, you will be locked out of your WhatsApp chat history for good, and neither Google nor Meta can help you with it. There’s also no “Forgot password” option for this, unlike in your other accounts.
But, if you have already forgotten your backup’s password and WhatsApp reminds you of this, you can use the “Turn Off Encrypted Backups” option. You can then re-enable the security feature with a brand-new 64-digit key or password if required. However, you will already lose access to your previous encrypted chat history on WhatsApp.
You are also recommended to use a great password manager for your end-to-end encrypted backup’s password.
This new feature on WhatsApp is beneficial since people do not change their phones regularly and might have the tendency to forget the password at some point.