WhatsApp’s New Per-Chat Biometric Lock: A Step in the Right Direction for Privacy

Several popular Android OS skins, like Xiaomi’s, let you lock certain apps and stop unauthorized people from using them by using biometric authentication. Even though there are some stability issues, this feature can also be added to vanilla Android through Play Store apps. Even though WhatsApp conversations are private, Meta’s latest changes show that adding a biometric lock to each chat is a step in the right direction.

Surprisingly, despite its emphasis on privacy and security, WhatsApp lacks in-app biometric authentication solutions. According to WABetaInfo, the current WhatsApp beta update (version on the Play Store indicates that a new feature that allows users to lock specific chats using a passcode or fingerprint is in development. The fingerprint unlock option is already enabled, and a passcode is intended to be set up as a backup.

Screenshots of the feature show that private group conversations can be hidden from the page with information about the group. Encrypted discussions will be moved to a separate virtual vault from regular conversations, which only needs one login. Nevertheless, what would happen to the chats’ material is still being determined as to how alerts from these chats will be shown and how many topics can be locked. If users forget their passcode, WhatsApp will destroy the discussion if they try to force it open, according to WABetaInfo.
Telegram, for example, has offered passcode or fingerprint unlock since approximately 2018, but only for the program as a whole, not for single chats.

As development and beta testing continue, more information about the functionality should become available. It may be preferable to use OS-level or third-party program lock utilities.

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