If you use Google's stock Messages app to send your text and SMS messages, we have good news — your chats can now be completely secured from prying eyes! We'll show you how to enable end-to-end encryption in the Google Messages app so that you don't have to worry about your private messages potentially falling into the wrong hands.
How to enable and use end-to-end encryption in the Google Messages app
End-to-end encryption is currently in Beta for Google Messages users and only works in individual chats at the moment. Until this feature is more widely available, you'll want to become a Google Messages Beta tester.
- Search Google Messages in the Play Store app.
- Tap on Beta signup.
- It may take some time for your Beta signup to go through, so keep refreshing your Google Messages app.
- Open the Google Messages app.
- Tap on the three-dot menu in the top right corner.
- Tap on Settings
Tap on Chat features.
- Tap to toggle on Enable chat features.
- Once you're successfully enrolled in the Beta Program, or the feature is completely rolled-out, end-to-end encryption should be automatically enabled for Google Messages users.
- Open an existing chat or start a new one.
You should see a lock icon above the message bubble. Tap on Learn more to read about the feature.
Send a message to your contact who is also using Google Messages.
- You should see a lock icon after the Sent or Delivered notification, below the chat bubble.
Note that this end-to-end encryption will only work for messages where both the sender and receiver are using the latest version of the Google Messages app. This is similar to the way that iMessage works for iPhone users, in that if an iPhone user sends a message to an Android user, the message is not encrypted.
While this is certainly a welcome feature for Google Message users, many of the best messaging apps on Android and iOS also use end-to-end encryption, so you may want to use one of these like Signal, Telegram, or WhatsApp to ensure cross-platform encryption.
Our top equipment picks
All of the best Android phones running the latest OS release are secure, but if you want the most timely security updates and ongoing feature support, you're going to want a Google Pixel device. One of the best and most affordable is the Pixel 4a.
Lock it down
Google Messages (Free at Google Play)
Google's official messaging app supports SMS, MMS, and RCS and now supports end-to-end encryption between users.
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