A new version of WhatsApp for iOS is currently rolling out bringing a new and somewhat anticipated authentication feature. According to the new information, the authentication feature allows iOS users to lock WhatsApp behind another wall of security to prevent unauthorized access to the app. The feature allows both Touch ID for older iOS-powered devices and Face ID for modern devices. Talking more about the feature, it is present in a new “Screen Lock” section in the “Privacy” section in “Accounts Section”. As previously reported, as part of the feature, users will need to unlock the app by unlocking it so that people can’t snoop in on their conversations.
According to the report by WABetaInfo, users can also set the time duration before which the app locks down WhatsApp. Currently, there are four options available for the user including the app locking “immediately”, “after 1 minute”, “after 15 minutes”, and “after 1 hour”. It is worth noting that in case WhatsApp is not able to authenticate with the help of Face ID and Touch ID then users can use the passcode for their device to unlock the app.
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The report also added that users can still reply to messages from notifications or receive WhatsApp calls without the need for authentication. Getting into the details about the feature, iOS users need to be running version 2.19.20 for iOS. The app will also prevent users from checking the preview out in the multi-tasking window if and when the authentication feature is enabled.
WhatsApp will not send any bio-metric information including fingerprints or facial data to its servers for this feature to work. This is because all such data is stored on encrypted and stored on your device and the app can not extract it. To clarify any privacy concerns about the authentication process, the actual authentication is handled by iOS instead of WhatsApp. It is likely that the company will soon roll out this feature for Android users as well. Though, there is no fixed timeline on when we may see the update.