WhatsApp to Enable Multi-Device Support With End-to-End Encryption: Report

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WhatsApp will make its multi-device support available with end-to-end encryption, according to a report. The Facebook-owned instant messaging app has marketed its privacy-focussed encryption for some time. It is claimed to protect text and voice messages, photos, videos, documents, and calls in a way that they aren’t accessible by anyone — except the sender and receiver. However, enabling the same level of protection on multiple devices alongside syncing communication between them is not that easy and involves technical challenges in its implementation.

Although WhatsApp is yet to provide official details, WhatsApp beta tracker WABetaInfo has reported that the end-to-end encryption available on WhatsApp will be compatible with its upcoming multi-device support.

Earlier this month, Mark Zuckerberg mentioned in an alleged conversation with WABetaInfo that chats when using multi-device support on WhatsApp will still be end-to-end encrypted. Screenshots shared by WABetaInfo showed that the Facebook CEO stated that the company solved the challenges involved in implementing end-to-end encryption in an “elegant way” to make sure that the chats between users are protected even when using the messaging app on multiple devices.

WhatsApp was thought to be working on enabling multi-device support since at least July 2019. The feature lets users simultaneously access the app on up to four devices. It seems to be at a final stage of its internal testing as screenshots detailing the new addition appeared online in the recent past. WhatsApp Head Will Cathcart also purportedly noted in the messages exchanged with WABetaInfo that the new addition could be provided in a public beta in the next month or two.

Alongside enabling end-to-end encryption when using multi-device support, WhatsApp is said to be bringing end-to-end encrypted backups. There is, however, no exact timeline on when it would be available even for public beta testers.

WhatsApp uses Signal’s encryption protocol for offering end-to-end encrypted communication experience on its app. Competitors including Google Messages also embraced the same protection method to address privacy concerns raised by digital activists. However, since end-to-end encryption limits traceability on platforms, governments and regulators in some countries — including India — have demanded ways to get a backdoor entry.


Does WhatsApp’s new privacy policy spell the end for your privacy? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.

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