WhatsApp is rolling out a new security feature for WhatsApp Web and Desktop in India that lets users link a WhatsApp account to PC or web using biometric information. The WhatsApp feature builds on the existing biometric authentication that is stored on the user’s smartphone. Also Read - WhatsApp: Top five WhatsApp security tips to keep your account safe
“Today we’re putting even more security into WhatsApp Web and desktop, adding an additional layer of protection when you want to link your WhatsApp account to your computer,” WhatsApp said in a press release. WhatsApp also hinted that it will add a lot more functionality to its apps for Mac and Windows, as well as the Web. Also Read - WhatsApp testing a 24-hour disappearing messages feature: Here's how it will work
Using the new authentication for Web and Desktop, users will be able to add in fingerprint or face recognition to use WhatsApp on desktop or web by linking it to their mobile app. The privacy feature will be used in addition to the existing QR code authentication. Of course, those who do not have biometric authentication enabled on their smartphone will not be able to use this new feature for the Web version. Also Read - WhatsApp to stop working on all iPhone running iOS 9: Report
Users will now need to use their face or fingerprint unlock on their phone before scanning a QR code from the phone to link their device. The security feature will likely reduce the chances of someone else linking a user’s WhatsApp account without them.
The messaging app has clarified that it can’t access the biometric information stored by a user’s device’s operating system. Do note that the feature will work on iPhone devices running iOS 14 and above with Touch ID or Face ID, whereas, on Android, it will work on any device that is compatible with biometric authentication.
How to enable biometric authentication on WhatsApp Web
Here’s how to log in to WhatsApp on WhatsApp Web, WhatsApp Desktop, or Portal:
• Users will need to log in using the phone to scan the QR code.
• Open WhatsApp on your phone.
• Tap More options (for Android), while iPhone users need to go to WhatsApp Settings.
• Tap WhatsApp Web or WhatsApp Web/Desktop.
• Android users will need to tap LINK A DEVICE and follow the on-screen instructions. Make sure your biometric authentication is enabled.
• iPhone users will need to click on Tap Link a Device > OK. In this case, Touch ID or Face ID to unlock needs to be enabled.
• Select the checkbox next to Keep me signed in on the QR screen on your computer or Portal to stay logged in on this device.
• Use your phone to scan the QR code on your computer or Portal.
• If prompted, select Done.
The new security update for linking devices will be rolling out over the coming weeks. WhatsApp will also release a visual redesign to the WhatsApp Web page on phones as well.