WhatsApp is finally introducing a fingerprint lock security feature for Android phones. The utility is available as part of the recently released 2.19.221 beta version of the Android platform, and allows users to configure their WhatsApp settings to require a fingerprint scan to open to the app on compatible smartphones.
Even with the feature enabled, users will still be able to receive and respond to WhatsApp notifications and answer calls, so the fingerprint scan is specifically applied to attempts to gain access the app itself. However, users can choose to hide the content of messages in the notification bar.
They can also choose their desired level of security. If constant biometric authentication is too much of a hassle, the app can be set up to request a new scan only after a one minute or thirty-minute interval has passed.
The fingerprint lock feature has been in the works for several months, and brings the Android version of the app closer to its iOS counterpart, which gained Face ID and Touch ID authentication back in February. The authentication process is handled by the Android system itself, so WhatsApp does not have access to the user’s fingerprint information and the biometric data is never sent to the company’s server.