Although WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, it’s probably more trustworthy than most of the other social networks available. WhatsApp has launched an update that enables iOS users to make use of a new biometric authentication feature. Unlocking Whatsapp now requires Face ID or Touch ID authentication.
WhatsApp is about to add a new feature that will be first tested out by iPhone users. Android users, however, will have to wait a while before they get a similar update. According to WABetaInfo, beta testers have had access to a new menu option that allows them to enable authentication before WhatsApp opens and shows messages. This means if your unlocked phone is in someone else’s possession, they won’t be able to access your WhatsApp chats without your own authentication. Better yet, incoming messages won’t be automatically shown.
The usefulness of this feature depends on what you wish to protect yourself from. Are you that privacy-conscious? It’s a pretty useful security feature that would prevent snoopers from accidentally messaging people, deleting chats, or basically just reading them. Banks have taken a similar approach to reduce thefts and security breaches of that sort.
How to Start the WhatsApp Feature
In order to use the new authentication feature, you’ll need version 2.19.20 of the iOS app. This option can be accessed by navigating to Settings > Account > Privacy within the application and enabling the Screen Lock feature. By doing so, users can add an extra layer of security to their WhatsApp conversations. Whatsapp launched this feature for iOS beta users last week. Now, it has rolled out to iOS users across the world and this includes South African users.
iPhone securely manages TouchID and FaceID. So, data is never sent to WhatsApp. The program itself simply asks the phone if you have access, iOS will either confirm or deny allowing WhatsApp to let you in. iOS users who want to preview new features like this could apply to the Testflight for WhatsApp. Unfortunately, it’s in high demand, and only a small number of beta testers are allowed at any one time.
Undoubtedly, Android users will make use of this feature soon. The system for protecting Android devices is the same as Apple’s, with the device managing the permissions. While it’s still unclear when this feature will roll out to users, we don’t expect it to take long.