The Messages app on Android offers end-to-end encryption, here's how to enable it

The Messages app on Android finally has the ability to encrypt its messages.

The Messages app on Android offers end-to-end encryption, here's how to enable it

Google had announced the feature last year, but you had to go through the beta version of Messages to get access to it. It is now available more generally.


How end-to-end encryption works

End-to-end encryption is currently only available for conversations between two people. It works using a secret key, generated on the device that sends the message and the device of the person who receives it. It is used when sending the message to encrypt its contents and is immediately destroyed. Once the message is decrypted on the recipient's device, it is also destroyed on its side. Neither Google nor any other device has access to it, and each message generates a new key.

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All the content of the message is encrypted, be it text or accompanying images and videos, which means it will be unreadable if it is intercepted during sending. Each conversation has a verification code that is the same for both people exchanging messages. It is possible to find it by opening the conversation and going to the options, and then confirm it later with the interlocutor in order to verify that the protection is active.

How to enable this feature ?

In order to have access, both parties must have enabled chat functionality, which allows you to use Wi-Fi or the mobile data network to send messages rather than the traditional network. You will know this is the case if your sent messages are displayed in dark blue instead of light blue.

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From there, end-to-end encryption should be enabled automatically. You know if it is active if a banner is present in the conversation, which indicates with whom you are chatting and embellished with a small padlock. The send icon and the timestamp of messages are also accompanied by a padlock.


As said before, the feature is currently not available for group messages, nor for SMS/MMS. And if your interlocutor disables chat features, your messages will no longer be secure.