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Android Messages just upped its privacy thanks to end-to-end encryption

Everyone loves more privacy.

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Image: KnowTechie

The Android Messages app is getting end-to-end encryption for one-to-one text chats, and it’s rolling out to all devices with Rich Communications Services (RCS) right now. Previously, the feature was available for beta testers of the Messages app since November.

That means that one-to-one text chats will be secure from prying eyes, as long as both users have RCS enabled under their chat settings.

To make sure it’s enabled, open Messages, hit More (that’s the three-dot menu icon), then Settings and make sure Chat Features are enabled.

When enabled, you’ll see a new lock icon next to the send button in your Messages text box, letting you know that your communications are secure. The data is encrypted using keys held on each user’s devices, and nobody in the middle, including Google, can decrypt the data while it’s in transit.

At this time, it only works for one-to-one messaging, and not for group chats, or if you’re messaging people on iOS devices. If that’s a worry to you, use WhatsApp, which has end-to-end encryption for those situations.

That will please privacy advocates, who have long worried about the amount of data that Android can leak. Android 12 will bring more privacy-focused changes, like a privacy dashboard that shows the user data collected by apps, and icons on the status bar to show when the camera or microphone are being accessed.

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