WhatsApp adds fingerprint lock feature for Android users

PHOTO: Whatsapp

Instant messaging service WhatsApp introduces a Fingerprint Lock feature for Android OS phones, giving users privacy against others sneaking a peek at their chats.

On its blog, WhatsApp said the feature - which follows Touch ID and Face ID for iOS, introduced earlier this year - will provide an extra layer of security for users.

To enable it, go to Settings, then Account, Privacy then Fingerprint Lock. There, turn on Unlock With Fingerprint and confirm your fingerprint.

The fingerprint will be the same as the biometric ID used to unlock the user's phone. This feature requires users to have their fingerprint ID already added to the phone's security settings.

Once enabled, users will need to scan their fingerprint to unlock the app after exiting the app, or after a fixed amount of time.

When locked, attempts to load the app will bring up a screen that states "WhatsApp locked. Touch the fingerprint sensor".

https://twitter.com/WhatsApp/status/1189957891773460480

However, users can still pick up WhatsApp calls without unlocking.

Users who multitask between it and other apps can change the automatic lock from "immediately" to "after one minute" or "after 30 minutes". This way, users will only need to unlock once in that time frame.

Another option in Fingerprint Lock is Show content in notifications. This toggle allows users to either preview the content of messages in new message notifications or opt to hide the content in notifications.

When turned off, the preview message will only state how many incoming messages are coming in from how many different chats. Users cannot reply from outside the app.

iOS users need not feel left out as there is already a similar biometric unlock feature for the WhatsApp app. To enable it, go to Settings, then Account, Privacy, and Screen Lock. There, turn on Require Face ID and choose to launch the automatic lock "immediately", "after one minute", "after 15 minutes" or "after one hour".

The extra layer of privacy only affects the app on mobile devices. Users will still be able to use the browser-based WhatsApp Web without any restrictions.