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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Tech tips: How to secure private WhatsApp chats

WhatsApp gives the user control over whether he/she wants to back up the chats or not. The app also gives users the option to back up these chats every day, every week, or every month.

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi | Updated: October 8, 2020 9:48:56 am
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There has been a lot of debates over user privacy when he/she uses a messaging app like WhatsApp. The leaked chats which have surfaced in the recent past have added fire to the debate as users begin to question the end-to-end encryption feature claimed by the Facebook-owned messaging platform. India is the largest market for WhatsApp and scandals like these may end up in the company losing users’ trust as they will lean towards alternatives available in the market.

Reacting to the outrage and growing mistrust among the users, WhatsApp tried to clarify in their statement saying that only the recipient can see the sender’s message with end-to-end encryption. On the other hand, it was also revealed that the backup of chats on Google Drive or iCloud is not end-to-end encrypted and hence can be hacked.

However, there is one way through which a WhatsApp user can ensure that the chats are end-to-end encrypted and cannot be hacked into. The app gives the user control over whether he/she wants to back up the chats or not. The app also gives users the option to back up these chats every day, every week, or every month. There is also an option available whether chats get backed up over just WiFi or cellular connection as well.

Here’s a simple guide if you feel there is a no need to back up your chats and it is better to keep them end-to-end encrypted at least.

# Open WhatsApp, tap on the three dots in the top right corner and then choose the settings option. On iOS devices, tap on the settings tab visible at the bottom right corner.

# You’ll see the ‘Back up to Google Drive’ option in Android devices. On iOS you’ll need to tap on chat options and then select backup.

Guide to disable WhatsApp Chats backup

# There will be five options including ‘never’, ‘Only when I tap “Back up”‘ and the ones mentioned earlier. You can choose either of the two options to safeguard your chats. On iOS devices, you just need to tap on the ‘Auto Backup’ option and then turn it off.

Note: The above changes you make to the settings are reversible if the user wants to. 

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