After being rumoured for months, WhatsApp has finally started rolling out a native fingerprint authentication feature through the latest beta update. The feature works similarly to how Face ID or Touch ID authentication works on iOS, a feature which was rolled out to iPhones in February this year.
The latest feature comes in the form of WhatsApp Beta version 2.19.221 on Android. After the update, a new Fingerprint Lock feature will be displayed inside WhatsApp > Settings > Account > Privacy. Fingerprint Lock will allow users to lock their chats and messages allowing them to be opened by registering their fingerprint on the phone.
Fingerprint Locking will work on Android phones running Android 6 Marshmallow or above and will require a device with a fingerprint sensor built-in.
Even with Fingerprint Lock enabled, users will be able to reply to messages from notifications or answer WhatsApp calls since both the actions happen without needing to open WhatsApp’s main interface.
In addition to Fingerprint locking, WhatsApp also allows users to set a time for automatically locking the messages. Users can toggle between ‘immediately’, ‘after 1 minute’ and ‘after 30 minutes’, depending upon the frequency at which they want to lock their chats.
Prior to this, users were only able to secure apps like WhatsApp through third-party app lockers or the phone’s inbuilt app locker. With the latest update, WhatsApp can be protected with a fingerprint lock natively through the app. Another thing to note is that WhatsApp’s fingerprint authentication is done locally through the Android system, meaning no fingerprint information is sent to Facebook or WhatsApp.