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Google Extends Client-Side Encryption for Gmail Mobile App on iOS and Android

Google has announced a significant expansion of its client-side encryption (CSE) security feature for the Gmail application on iOS and Android mobile devices within Workspace corporate accounts.

Client-side encryption provides an additional layer of protection for data and attachments in Gmail emails since the company cannot access decryption keys, ensuring that the content remains private. Google’s encryption is managed within the client’s browser before data transmission or storage on Google Drive’s cloud servers.

CSE was initially introduced in December 2022 in beta form for Workspace administrators and users, including Workspace Enterprise Plus, Education Plus, and Education Standard accounts. In February of the current year, Google officially incorporated CSE into the web version of Gmail for these Google Workspace clients.

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Now, Google has announced the expansion of client-side encryption in Gmail to the iOS and Android app versions, enabling users to read and send encrypted emails directly from their mobile devices.

In a statement on its blog, the tech giant emphasized that this implementation allows users to “work with their most confidential data from anywhere,” as they can do so from their mobile devices.

Google also noted that Gmail’s mobile apps “natively support encrypted email,” eliminating the need for multiple applications or external portals to access encrypted messages.

To utilize the CSE feature, users need to tap on the padlock icon located on the right side of the email subject bar. Subsequently, they can select the option for additional encryption. However, it’s worth noting that Gmail’s client-side encryption is currently unavailable for standard Google accounts; it is exclusively available to corporate Google Workspace accounts.

Furthermore, this feature needs to be activated by administrators of Google Workspace Enterprise Plus, Education Plus, and Education Standard accounts through the CSE administration interface to grant users access.

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To enable this feature, administrators should navigate to the ‘Admin’ tab and select ‘Security.’ From there, they can click on ‘Access and Data Control’ and, finally, ‘Client-Side Encryption.’ The configuration steps of the identity provider should then be followed.

This expansion of client-side encryption in the Gmail mobile app represents a significant step forward in securing sensitive email communications for Google Workspace users, ensuring that confidential information remains protected, even when accessed from mobile devices.

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