Image: Flickr user Christoph Scholz//CC 2.0

When one considers the fact that Meta has been testing end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for Messenger since 2016, it would not be unreasonable for them to assume that E2EE has been made default in Messenger chats. Unfortunately, reality is often disappointing, and six years down the line, E2EE is still not the default option in Messenger.

Now finally though, the Facebook-parent announced that it is expanding its E2EE tests as it is testing a new “secure storage” feature for backups of all Messenger chats that have end-to-end encryption. Starting this week, the participants of the test on both Android and iOS will notice that their most frequent chats on Messenger will have end-to-end encryption by default.

“People want to trust that their online conversations with friends and family are private and secure. We’re working hard to protect your personal messages and calls with end-to-end encryption by default on Messenger and Instagram,” the company announced in a blog post.

“Today, we’re announcing our plans to test a new secure storage feature for backups of your end-to-end encrypted chats on Messenger, and more updates and tests to deliver the best experience on Messenger and Instagram,” the post read, adding that Meta will not have access to chats that are securely stored.

Having end-to-end encryption on chats by default will assuage the concern of many users, and it has been long in the coming. Three years after Meta started working on E2EE, Mark Zuckerberg promised that it will be coming on all of its chat apps. Later, it announced that E2EE would be made default across group chats and calls on Messenger.

And while E2EE is enabled by default on WhatsApp (also owned by Meta), it is yet to become the default option in Messenger chats – you have to enable it every time you wish to have a private, secure chat on Messenger.

The secure storage currently being tested will have your chats backed up in case you lose your phone or restore your chat history on another device. You can restore your messages via any number of ways. Creating a PIN or generating a code, and availing third-party cloud sources for restoration are the two end-to-end encrypted options Meta will provide to access your backups.

“We will continue to provide updates as we make progress toward the global rollout of default end-to-end encryption for personal messages and calls in 2023,” the company said.

The next few weeks are bound to be exciting, as the Facebook parent is going to launch multiple tests and updates on E2EE chats. This will include the removal of the “Vanish” mode on Messenger, unsending messages and replying to Facebook Stories, E2EE calls to the Calls Tab on Messenger.

Additionally, Meta will roll out Code Verify, its new security feature that automatically verifies the authenticity of the code when users are using Messenger, as well as expanding the test of opt-in E2EE messages and calls on Instagram.