How To Enable Biometric Authentication on WhatsApp

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Whether it’s under the display or below the rear camera, modern smartphones now come with a built-in fingerprint sensor, or 3D face scanning hardware in the front, giving users the ability to protect their privacy with an extra layer of security. Not only it helps you easily unlock the device but also lock specific apps on your device.

Now, over the past few months, the popular online messaging app WhatsApp has brought plenty of new features with regular updates to the beta channel, waiting to get added to the stable version. A couple of weeks ago, WhatsApp rolled out one of the most anticipated features focused on security with an update to the beta version of the app. Users can now secure their chats using the fingerprint sensor on Android devices, or Touch ID and the advanced Face ID on iOS devices.

This is particularly exciting as you don’t have to rely on third-party privacy apps anymore that stays active in the background, consuming resources. This can potentially slow down your smartphone and affect battery life in the long run. But now with the addition of the security layer, you can enable biometric authentication and lock WhatsApp to secure your private chats away from prying eyes.

If you are considering locking your WhatsApp chats, continue reading this article to learn how to enable biometric authentication on WhatsApp.

Enable Biometric Authentication on WhatsApp

  • On Android
  • On iOS

On Android:

For Android users, this security feature is available on the most recent version of the WhatsApp Beta (2.19.259, at the time of this writing). To get the beta version of WhatsApp, you have to opt-in for the WhatsApp beta program. Here’s how to do it:

  1. First, open the Google Play Store on your device, and search for WhatsApp. You can also do it from a web browser by clicking here. You will be redirected to the WhatsApp beta test page, where you need to log in with your Google account that you use on your Android device.
  2. When you get into the WhatsApp download page on Play Store, scroll down past the app description and similar apps section, locate the ‘Become A Tester’ section and tap on ‘I’m in’. It will again ask you to confirm; tap on ‘Join’. For those who are trying to opt-in for the beta program using a web browser, you will see a button labeled ‘Become A Tester’.
  3. If you have done it correctly, you will soon receive an update for WhatsApp. Sometimes it might take some time to get the beta update, so check back after an hour or two.

Note: In case you want to rollback to the public build of WhatsApp, you can leave the beta program by following the same steps. However, make sure you have everything backed up, as you have to uninstall the beta version to install the public version of WhatsApp.

If you are done installing and setting up WhatsApp Beta, here’s how you can enable WhatsApp’s ‘Fingerprint Unlock’ feature on Android:

  1. First, set up fingerprint unlock on your device if you haven’t already.
  2. Now open WhatsApp, tap on the three-dot menu in the top-right corner and head to the Settings.
  3. Inside the settings menu, tap on Account.
  4. After that, tap on Privacy and search for ‘Fingerprint Lock’.
  5. Tap on it to toggle on the lock feature. You will be asked to verify your identity by using your registered fingerprint. After you successfully do it, WhatsApp will ask for authentication every time you open the app.
  6. You will also get the option to show or hide content in notifications and set auto-lock timer in the Fingerprint Lock settings of the app.

Note: If you don’t see the ‘Fingerprint Lock’ option in WhatsApp settings, wait for it to show up after some time or reinstall the app.

‘Fingerprint Lock’ on WhatsApp for Android

On iOS:    

iPhone users don’t have to go through the hassle of joining the WhatsApp Beta program. The lock feature was introduced way back in February in WhatsApp Beta for iOS, which is finally available in the stable version of WhatsApp. iPhone users can download and install Whatsapp Messenger (2.19.92, at the time of this writing) from the App Store.

Here’s how you can use Apple’s Touch ID or Face ID to lock WhatsApp:

  1. First, make sure you have set up Touch ID or FaceID on your iPhone.
  2. Now launch WhatsApp, head over to the Privacy section found under settings.
  3. Scroll down to locate ‘Screen Lock’ and tap on it to set the toggle on.
  4. Once you have enabled screen lock, every time you open WhatsApp, it will ask to verify your identity using TouchID or FaceID.

Note: Currently, Face ID is only available on iPhone X, XR, XS, XS Max, iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max.

‘Screen Lock’ on WhatsApp for iOS

Conclusion

When WhatsApp lock is enabled, it is still possible to see and reply to messages, and answer WhatsApp calls from the notification shade. To tackle this, you have to toggle off ‘Show content in notifications’ from the Privacy options in WhatsApp settings. With an update, we would like to see WhatsApp developers keep it disabled by default when you enable the lock feature.

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