In January, Microsoft began testing end-to-end encryption for Skype conversations. That feature has finally been enabled for customers, MSPoweruser pointed out last week.
Skype users on Android, iOS and desktop platforms can now switch on end-to-end encryption for both calls and text chats. If your intended recipient accepts your invitation, the technology will better shield your conversations from eavesdroppers hoping to intercept chat traffic or snoop on your device.
It’ll even hide content in notifications and the chat list to prevent someone from casually glancing at your sensitive discussions.
There are restrictions that come with the feature. You can only maintain one Private Conversation per device at a time. You can switch conversations to other devices, but you’ll only see the messages sent and received on a given device. And of course, it’s optional — unlike services such as WhatsApp, you can’t default to end-to-end encryption.
Still, this gives you a reason to stick to Skype for your most sensitive discussions instead of having to split your attention between apps.
Skype has previously offered 256-bit AES encryption, but end-to-end encryption is more secure, as only the people involved in the conversation can read the messages.
Here’s how to start a private conversation on Skype:
Start a new chat on mobile by tapping the New Chat button, then hit Private Conversation. On desktop, you can do this by clicking on the new Chat+ button, then selecting New Private Conversation.
Next, choose the contact you want to start the conversation with. They’ll get an invitation, which will be valid for seven days. It’ll expire if they don’t accept by then, and then you’ll have to send a new one.
After your friend accepts the invite, the private conversation will be available through the device that they accepted your request from. If either of you wants to have the conversation on another device, you’ll need to accept an invitation from that device.
You can switch between a Skype and private conversation by hitting the Skype or Private tabs up at the top.
You’ll also be able to start a private conversation with someone you’re already talking to by selecting New Private Conversation from their profile.
If you want to start a private call:
Begin a new private conversation, or choose one that already exists.
Hit the Private tab at the top of the conversation.
Select the Private Call button.
To delete a private conversation:
Click the chat header.
Go to Chat settings
Select Delete private conversation.
From that window, hit Delete. This will remove messages in that conversation from your device.
To end a private conversation:
Click on the chat header.
Go to Chat settings.
Select End private conversation.
From that window, hit End conversation. If you want to start another private conversation with that person, send them another invite.
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