Google announced end-to-end encryption in the Messages app in November of last year, with the feature rolling out to beta subscribers.
The feature is now finally publicly available, so if you’re using the Messages app it’s a good idea to enable it to keep your messages private.
And Google remembers: When you use the Messages app to send end-to-end encrypted messages, all chats are encrypted.
This includes text messages and any files or media, while data is moving between devices. Encryption converts the data into mixed text, and the unread text can only be decrypted using a secret key.
Said key is a number generated by your phone and the recipient’s phone, with a new number created for each message that is also deleted once it has served its purpose.
This means that cybercriminals cannot intercept and read your messages, making them restricted to the recipient only.
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There are two downsides to this feature that you should pay attention to:
- the first: Message encryption only works in individual conversations at this time.
- The second: Both you and the person you’re messaging must use the Messages app and have RCS chat features enabled for end-to-end encryption to work.
If these two conditions are met, you’ll see a small lock icon right below the message box, and your texts will turn dark blue instead of light blue.
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Activate the feature in the Messages app:
End-to-end encryption is enabled automatically if you enable RCS chat features in the Messages app by default.
Thus if you are using the app as the default texting app in your phone then you just need to check if the RCS chat features are enabled.
To do this, follow these steps:
- Open the Messages app on your phone.
- Tap on the three dots in the top right corner of the screen.
- From the menu that appears, click on the Settings option.
- Tap on the Chat Features option, and you should see Status: Online at the top.
- Toggle the button next to the Enable Chat Features option to On.
Now you and those who text you through the Messages app can use end-to-end encryption automatically.
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Notice: You can take a look at the send button which appears as a small kite To check if the feature is enabled on your phone.
If you find the lock symbol next to it, it means that the feature has been successfully activated. A small padlock also appears next to the timestamp of messages and next to a banner telling you who you’re chatting with.
And if one of you disables chat features, these lock codes disappear, and messages sent will no longer be encrypted.