Google Fi gets end-to-end encryption for phone calls, but there's a big catch

Google Fi is the search giant's affordable MVNO cellular service, where it piggybacks off of the T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular networks. Despite being a Google service, it is actually compatible with Apple iPhone devices too. In other words, it is not an Android-only affair. While Google Fi is not wildly popular, many of its users speak favorably of the service -- it is apparently quite good.

And now, Google Fi is getting even better. You see, the search giant has introduced end-to-end encryption for phone calls -- a huge benefit for privacy. Unfortunately, there are some caveats here. For the calls to be encrypted, the speakers on the call must both be using Google Fi service -- that should be fairly obvious. However, there is one very big catch that might surprise you -- this feature is only compatible with Android devices. In other words, iPhone users with Google Fi are being left out of the encryption party.

"End-to-end encryption is a complex term for a simple idea: that no one besides you and the person you're talking to should be able to hear what you're saying over the phone. End-to-end encryption has become an industry standard for real-time communications such as messaging -- and now, we're bringing it to phone calls, right from your Phone app," says Daniel Chak, Product Manager, Google Fi.

Chak further says, "With this feature, you'll notice new audio and visual cues to let you know that your calls with other Android phones on Fi are protected with end-to-end encryption. When placing an eligible call, you'll hear a unique ringing tone and see a lock symbol on the screen just before being connected. You and the person you’re calling will also see a lock symbol on their screen during the call."

Ready to start making phone calls with end-to-end encryption? Well, you may not be able to do so today. Google says the feature will be rolled out "in the coming weeks," so you will need to be patient. It is unlikely that Apple iPhone users will ever get this functionality with Google Fi.

Image credit: CRYSTAL RICKETSONShutterstock

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