Facebook-owned WhatsApp has received an iOS update adding a feature that has been much requested by privacy-conscious users. The new addition of biometric security, via either Touch ID or Face ID, means that users of the instant messaging app can now select to have the app protected.
Unfortunately, the update stops short of allowing users to turn biometric security on for individual chats, with an all-or-nothing approach locking the entire app without authentication taking place.
Anyone wanting to turn the new feature on can head to Settings > Account > Privacy, and then turn on the Screen Lock feature.
While undoubtedly a step in the right direction, even with WhatsApp 2.19.20 installed users will likely notice that the new security isn’t entirely watertight. Depending on how iOS is set up, users may still be allowing people to read their incoming message notifications, and instant replies are also active.
That’s disappointing and leaves chats open to being tampered with in some instances. However, the addition of new biometric security does ensure that nobody can go idly thumbing through chats to see what they can see.
The new update to WhatsApp is available as a free download via the App Store.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed that the company is looking into th possibility to merging WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram to allow people to send messages cross-platform, rather than have them be siloed as they are today. Zuckerberg did say that we shouldn’t expect that to happen until next year at the earliest, however. Quite what that will mean for security remains to be seen, given Facebook’s love of vacuuming up as much data as possible.
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