WhatsApp to Add Fingerprint Authentication on Android Smartphones

Written by Bill Toulas
Last updated September 25, 2021

According to reports by WhatsApp beta testers, the latest testing version of the popular messaging and VoIP application on Android shows that the developers have started working on a fingerprint-based authentication feature. This comes right after the implementation of Face ID and Touch ID features, which are still held under the hood for development reasons.

WhatsApp is looking to implement additional security features in their app, which is currently plagued by easy account access problems. For example, if a phone is unlocked, anyone can launch the WhatsApp application and check out anything they want, from previous conversation history to account information. This is just not safe enough, so WhatsApp developers decided to add an extra authentication step. The obvious and “classic” choice for this extra step is a PIN code screen, but the fingerprint is much faster and convenient, especially when considering that many WhatsApp users will have to take this step multiple times a day. For now, the PIN lock will be offered as an alternative way to unlock the app in case that the user has trouble with the fingerprint reader.

The new feature is currently in alpha development stage, meaning that it will take quite some time before we see it getting rolled out to the stable version branch, but hopefully, in a couple of months, owners of Android devices running OS version 6.0 and later will be able to use their fingerprint sensor to lock their WhatsApp application. Until then, people who own OnePlus 6, Samsung Galaxy S9, and Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro can use the inbuilt app fingerprint locking feature that is already implemented in their devices. The rest of the approximately 1.3 billion users of the app will have to wait and be careful with those around their unlocked device.

WhatsApp is currently the most popular messaging app, and Facebook’s acquisition of it and inclusion in its long list of subsidiaries since 2014 played a vital role on that part. Right now it competes with apps like WeChat, Viber, and LINE, boasting superior functionality, more friendly and simplistic user interface, and more advanced security and encryption features. That said, the development direction taken to implement fingerprint and Face ID authentication steps makes perfect sense in strengthening their position by solidifying one of the main pillars of their success.

Are you a WhatsApp user worried about your privacy? Let us know of your opinion in the comments section below, and also share your thoughts on our socials, on Facebook and Twitter.

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