Over the weekend, WhatsApp for iPhone was updated to version 2.19.20. This update will allow iPhone users to access WhatsApp via Apple Face ID and Touch ID.
To enable the new function, you have to locate the “Settings” option inside the app, then tap “Account,” “Privacy” and “Screen lock.” At this screen, you can select either the Touch ID or Face ID. However, the option available will depend on the version of your iOS device- for example, iPhone 5S through to iPhone 8/8 Plus support Touch ID while Face ID works on iPhone X upwards.
After choosing your selected unlocking option, you can also set the time you want the Face ID or Touch ID to begin working. It can be after 1 minute, 15 minutes or 60 minutes of idle time.
However, as this setting is not enabled by default, this might make the feature invisible to users that have no idea of data privacy.
As WhatsApp does not support passcodes, the biometric option will provide added security. But third-party apps can be installed to support password authentication, that is if users choose to ignore the potential security concerns.
One of the advantages of WhatsApp is the presence of end to end encryption via its Signal Protocol. This means that no third-party including WhatsApp can see your messages. As a result, the Facebook-owned platform has received complaints from countries across the world. This is because it prevents their security agencies from accessing the communications between suspected criminals.
Instead of bowing down to pressure, Facebook has increased efforts on the encryption front. This action is evident as the tech giant plans to integrate end to end encryption on a proposed single messaging platform that will include Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp apps.
Enabling users to lock WhatsApp with biometrics would help increase the apps privacy features on iOS devices. Apart from iPhones, there are indications that Facebook plans to integrate a biometric authentication system in its Android version. This is expected since WhatsApp for iPhone now has the feature.
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