WhatsApp gains biometric security support on iOS

iPhone users can now protect their chats with Touch ID or Face ID

WhatsApp Touch ID

Facebook has added biometric authentication to WhatsApp, allowing users to better prevent unauthorised access to their conversations.

The new feature is currently only available to iOS users, and can be accessed by updating the app to version 2.19.20 from the Apple App Store and going into the settings menu and selecting 'account', 'privacy' and then 'screen lock'.

Android users, meanwhile, are still restricted to version 2.19.17, which does not include biometric support. According to info from WAbetainfo.com, however, the feature is set to be introduced to Android devices with version 2.19.3.

The app now supports both Touch ID and Face ID, meaning that even if your device is unlocked, snoopers won't be able to read your messages - although message previews and quick replies in notifications will still be accessible, assuming you've activated this feature. The feature uses an app-wide locking system, which means that you can't protect individual chats with fingerprint or face recognition - just the whole app.

The new security features follow CEO Mark Zuckerberg's announcement that Facebook was planning to merge the backends of WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger into a single platform, raising the possibility that biometric security could soon be introduced to Facebook's other apps.

WhatsApp is currently the only major Facebook-owned app to support biometric authentication, although rumours indicated that it was being internally tested for Facebook back in 2017. WhatsApp also uses end-to-end encryption to secure chats, which Instagram and Messenger currently do not. Data protection authorities have already started expressing "urgent" interest in what the potential merger could mean for data privacy.

Featured Resources

Managing security risk and compliance in a challenging landscape

How key technology partners grow with your organisation

Download now

Evaluate your order-to-cash process

15 recommended metrics to benchmark your O2C operations

Download now

AI 360: Hold, fold, or double down?

How AI can benefit your business

Download now

Getting started with Azure Red Hat OpenShift

A developer’s guide to improving application building and deployment capabilities

Download now

Most Popular

SolarWinds hackers hit Malwarebytes through Microsoft exploit
hacking

SolarWinds hackers hit Malwarebytes through Microsoft exploit

20 Jan 2021
How to recover deleted emails in Gmail
email delivery

How to recover deleted emails in Gmail

6 Jan 2021
What is a 502 bad gateway and how do you fix it?
web hosting

What is a 502 bad gateway and how do you fix it?

12 Jan 2021