Messenger services like Apple’s iMessages and WhatsApp offer users end-to-end encryption (E2EE), a feature that has strangely been missing from Android Messages, at least until now. Google has announced that they will be enabling the feature for its users starting this week following a beta that kicked off in November last year.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Before you get too excited, there are some things you’ll want to keep in mind. E2EE is enabled by default, but you will need to enable and check a couple of things first before you start firing off those encrypted messages.
- Google says that for now, E2EE will only work for 1-on-1 messages, so group messages are out for the time-being
- Both users will also need to have RCS chat features enabled, so if the other person you’re chatting with doesn’t have it enabled, E2EE will not work for that particular chat
Now that that’s out of the way, if you haven’t enabled RCS chat features yet, then here’s what you’ll need to do.
How to enable RCS chat features
- Download and install Android Messages
- Launch the app and tap the three dot icon at the top right corner of the app
- Tap on Settings
- Go to Chat features
- Tap on the Enable chat features toggle. If it’s greyed out it means it’s off, if the toggle changes color it means it’s turned on
- Message all your contacts and have them enable RCS chat features
Once you’ve done all that, you will now be able to send E2EE messages over Android Messages. To tell if the message you’re sending will be encrypted, you should notice a small lock icon on the send button. If there is no lock icon, there is a good chance the other person has not enabled RCS features on their end.
This doesn’t mean that your messages won’t be sent. They will still go through but since they are not E2EE, they are vulnerable to potential intercepts.