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WhatsApp Enhances Privacy with New ‘Protect IP Address in Calls’ Feature

2 Mins read
  • WhatsApp now allows users to hide their IP address in calls
  • WhatsApp calls are peer-to-peer by default for optimal quality
  • peer-to-peer calls can reveal IP addresses and general location

WhatsApp, one of the most popular messaging platforms globally, is introducing a new feature designed to bolster user privacy during calls. The ‘Protect IP address in calls’ feature is the latest addition to WhatsApp’s robust set of privacy settings, aimed at empowering users to safeguard their personal information.

Meta’s engineers explain the new feature in a post on the company’s engineering blog, stating that the new ‘Protect IP address in calls’ setting changes how calls between two users are connected on WhatsApp.

This new feature addresses a critical aspect of privacy: IP addresses. In standard peer-to-peer calls, both parties can see each other’s IP addresses. While this peer-to-peer connectivity is essential for call functionality, it inadvertently exposes sensitive information. IP addresses can reveal approximate user locations and, in some cases, even details about their internet service providers. For individuals concerned about safeguarding their privacy, this information sharing is far from ideal.

Peer-to-peer Call diagram and How Meta IP address hide feature will work.

Relay servers will hide call participants’ IP addresses                                                                                                           Image credit: Meta

The ‘Protect IP address in calls’ feature takes a novel approach to address this issue. Rather than establishing direct peer-to-peer connections during calls, WhatsApp will reroute calls through its secure servers. This effectively conceals users’ IP addresses, enhancing their privacy during voice and video calls.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to enable this new feature:

  1. Update Your WhatsApp: Make sure you have the latest version of WhatsApp installed on your device. You can download the latest version from your device’s app store.
  2. Access WhatsApp Settings: Open WhatsApp and navigate to the settings menu.
  3. Privacy Settings: Within the settings menu, select “Privacy.”
  4. Advanced Privacy Options: Scroll down to find the “Advanced” section.
  5. Enable ‘Protect IP Address in Calls’: In the “Advanced” section, you’ll find the “Protect IP address in calls” feature. Toggle the switch to enable this privacy-enhancing feature.

By enabling this option, you are choosing to prioritize your privacy during WhatsApp calls. It’s important to note that, while the feature offers enhanced privacy by rerouting calls through WhatsApp’s servers, it may marginally impact call quality since calls are no longer exclusively peer-to-peer. However, WhatsApp assures users that all conversations will remain end-to-end encrypted, meaning only call participants can access and listen to the call content.

The ‘Protect IP address in calls’ feature is a valuable addition to WhatsApp’s privacy toolkit. It demonstrates the platform’s commitment to enhancing user privacy and ensuring that WhatsApp remains a secure and trusted space for communication. This feature, while available to all users on iOS and Android, is particularly beneficial for those who prioritize safeguarding their personal information in an age where digital privacy is paramount.

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