Android users will soon get a new way to secure their WhatsApp accounts and protect their chats from unauthorized access. Users with Android phones can already use a fingerprint to unlock the app, but soon they’ll be able to use their phone’s facial recognition sensor too – or any other biometric sensor their handset happens to have.
iPhone users have been able to unlock WhatsApp with a glance for some time thanks to the app’s support for Apple’s FaceID, but this is the first time the feature will be available for Android devices.
The new option was discovered researchers at WABetaInfo, who specialize in digging into WhatsApp beta releases to find new features that are in development but not yet released. They have discovered a redesigned privacy settings page for Android that replaces the current ‘Fingerprint Lock’ option with ‘Biometric Lock’.
“When enabled, you’ll need to use fingerprint, face or other unique identifiers to unlock WhatsApp,” the new page explains. “You can still answer calls if WhatsApp is locked.”
There’s no way of knowing exactly when biometric lock will become available for Android, but if you want to be the first to try it you’ll need to join WhatsApp’s beta program.
To join the beta program for Android, visit the WhatsApp Beta page on Google Play and enter your details. If you already have the public version of WhatsApp installed, it will be updated to the beta version automatically within a few hours.