Android users will soon get a new way to secure their WhatsApp accounts and protect their chats from unauthorized access. Android phone users can already use a fingerprint to unlock the app, but soon they’ll also be able to use their phone’s facial recognition sensor – or any other biometric sensor their handset just happens to have.
iPhone users have been able to unlock WhatsApp at a glance for a while now thanks to app support for Apple’s FaceID, but this is the first time the feature will be available for Android devices.
The new option was discovered by researchers at WABetaInfo, who specialize in digging WhatsApp beta versions to find new features that are in development but not yet released. They have discovered a redesigned privacy settings page for Android that replaces the current ‘Fingerprint Lock’ option with ‘Biometric Lock’.
“When enabled, you must use fingerprint, face, or other unique identifiers to unlock WhatsApp,” the new page explains. You can still answer calls when WhatsApp is locked.
Try it first
There is no way to know exactly when biometric locking will be available for Android, but if you want to be the first to try it, you must join WhatsApp’s beta program.
To participate in the Android beta program, visit the WhatsApp Beta page on Google Play and enter your details. If you have already installed the public version of WhatsApp, it will automatically update to the beta version within a few hours.