WhatsApp’s new account security feature might have gone un noticed but it provides a simpler way you could restrict on who has access to your chat history by requiring either a touch id (fingerprint) or face id (facial recognition) depending on the type of security implemented on your iPhone. Sorry android folks; at the time of launch, this feature was yet to be implemented on your platform – will update once available. Having gone live early this year (2019), you can easily enable it on your device – that’s if you have the latest version of WhatsApp. As mentioned earlier, this feature is currently supported on iOS devices alone; therefore, any reference here is based on iPhone variant and might differ with Android when and if its enabled.
Android users might not need to envy those on iOS after all, we are reliably informed that an android equivalent is in the works and should launch reasonably soon. As we’ve stated at the beginning of this guide, you can only use this feature if you’re running the latest version of WhatsApp.
Here is how to check WhatsApp version installed on your device
- Head over to the “Settings” tab at the bottom-right in your WhatsApp app
- Then press on “Help” your app version will understandably appear at the top
- You need to have at least version 2.19.20 or later installed on your iPhone
- For those who have an older version, worry not as you can easily update by going to the App store and pressing “Update” button
Now let’s head over to the good stuff for those in dire need to secure their WhatsApp messages on iPhone.
Below are the steps on how you can lock your WhatsApp messages using Touch ID or Face ID
- First, you’ll need to launch your “WhatsApp” APP
- Press on “settings” option at the bottom right in your application
- Once in settings head over to “account” menu item
- Then proceed to “privacy” from within the new menu that appears
- Choose “screen lock” at the very bottom of the list
- Sensibly enough, there are a few options you can choose on how long WhatsApp takes before requiring a new authentication; you can choose; Immediately, After 1 minute, After 15 minutes or After 1 hour
Since newer iPhones have since moved on from “Touch ID” to “Face ID”, the type of iPhone you have defines how you unlock WhatsApp. The iPhone X, XS, XS Max and XR will all show “Face ID” while older iterations will feature “Touch ID” instead.
In my case, 15 minutes or 1 hour seemed sufficient and I would strongly advise against using “immediately” unless you really think it’s the right decision, the process of accessing your chats could become tedious if every time you move to a different app, you’re to unlocking WhatsApp each time you come back. Choosing a longer period gives you an ample time before you have to re-authenticate.
WhatsApp’s new security feature is useful to people who often let others use their devices but don’t want to expose their chat conversations. If you have cheeky kids for example, it’ll prevent them from calling your boss on a Saturday and say something that will get you fired. This would come in handy to persuade some users to enable this feature, I’d imagine.