Popular Facebook-owned chat service WhatsApp has updated its iOS app, on Tuesday, 05 February with support for biometric authentication, allowing users to ‘lock’ the app with Face ID or Touch ID.
To activate the new feature, you’ll need to head to the settings inside the app, then hit “account,” “privacy,” and “screen lock.” There, you can choose to activate Face ID or Touch ID, though of course the available option will depend on your model of iPhone — Touch ID exists on the iPhone 5S through to the iPhone 8 / 8 Plus. Face ID replaced Touch ID from the iPhone X onward.
Once the feature is activated, you can stipulate if you prefer Face ID or Touch ID used immediately or after 1 minute, 15 minutes, or 60 minutes of inactivity.
Interestingly, WhatsApp hasn’t added the option to add a separate passcode and users will have to rely on biometrics like Touch ID or Face ID only which is used to lock the iPhone or iPad.
Previously, WhatsApp made headlines when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that merging Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram would create a safer experience. He compared the possible merging of the services to iMessage.
Allowing users to lock down WhatsApp behind a biometric authentication system could certainly help that broader mission, and it seems the company is preparing something similar for its Android app, as evidenced by a beta build that recently emerged.