(Pocket-lint) - Following similar moves by Apple and Google, WhatsApp has started encrypting data.
Apple And Google encrypt data stored on iPhones and Android devices by default, and now the world's most popular messenger - or at least the Android version - will do the same.
Although it is a significant feature, it's not the only new thing to come from the Facebook-owned app in the last few months. Keep reading to learn all about what's new in WhatsApp.
What is WhatsApp?
Technically called WhatsApp Messenger, WhatsApp is a Facebook-acquired texting app available for iPhone and other smartphones.
It uses 3G or Wi-Fi to let you send and receive messages, pictures, audio notes, and video messages. You can use it for one year at no cost, but later must pay $0.99 USD every year after.
WhatsApp has a new feature that lets you view whether your messages were read, thanks to ticks.
More specifically, whenever you send a text now, a single tick mark will appear by it to indicate your message was sent. If you see two ticks, it means your message was delivered, and two blue ticks means your massage has been read.
After some outcry, WhatsApp quietly introduced another new feature that allows you to disable the blue ticks/read receipts. Both new features are only available to all users.
WhatsApp's Android app now offers end-to-end encryption. The new feature is switched on by default and being described as the strongest security offering out there by any major texting app.
WhatsApp teamed up with Open Whisper Systems, which developed apps like TextSecure, and used open source code to add encryption. The feature means WhatsApp won't be able to decrypt messages (even if law enforcement pressures the company), which is something more than 600 million users of the app will most likely appreciate.
It's not clear when end-to-end encryption will land for iOS, but Open Whisper Systems told The Verge it took six months to ready the code for a large deployment, and that everything started right after WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook.
WhatsApp's iOS app has also received some love in recent times.
A few months ago it added the ability to archive chats and groups, caption photos and videos, share slow-motion videos, trim videos, share location, and more, for instance. But more recently it added support for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.