WhatsApp was working for a lot of months on a new feature that is in high demand.
No, we are not talking about the Dark Mode, that will be available in the next months, but about the Fingerprint lock feature, previously called Authentication or Screen Lock feature.
After enabling the Screen Lock feature for iOS beta users (more than 3 months ago), WhatsApp is finally ready to release it for all Android users!
Let’s explain, again, how the Authentication feature works ..

  • You need to update your WhatsApp version to the 2.19.221 Android beta version in order to use the Fingerprint lock feature.
  • Previous update might get the feature as well, but WhatsApp is always used to enable features in recent updates (that might contain bug fixes and improvements for the feature), so you should install the 2.19.221 update as above mentioned.
  • If you have already updated but you don’t see the feature, please back up your chat history and reinstall WhatsApp if you don’t want to wait more.
    Every time you reinstall WhatsApp, the most updated configurations from the server are downloaded, enabling the feature for you.
  • If you have reinstalled the app and the feature persists to not be enabled, don’t worry: if your device meets the requirements, the feature will be automatically visible in the next updates very soon!

After showing its first tracks in the 2.19.3 update, WhatsApp is finally rolling out, for all Android beta users (having Android Marshmallow or newer and a fingerprint sensor), the Fingerprint lock!
If you want to enable it, you need to open WhatsApp Settings > Account > Privacy: here you can find a new option called Fingerprint lock.

If you open Fingerprint lock, you can verify that’s finally possible to enable the feature. If you choose to enable the Fingerprint lock feature you can still reply to messages from notifications and answer WhatsApp calls, because the authentication is only required when you want to open WhatsApp.

The recent updates include important improvements for the Fingerprint lock feature: WhatsApp now offers the possibility to choose when the user has to authenticate his identity in order to use the app.

After configuring the feature, you are ready to test it. For example, if you chose “Immediately”, WhatsApp will ask to authenticate your identity every time you open WhatsApp:

“Immediately” is the best option to select, if you care your privacy, but it’s very annoying because WhatsApp will always ask your fingerprint every time you want to access to the app.
In my opinion, 15 minutes is a good option.. but WhatsApp has reserved it for the iOS version..
Recent improvements of the feature also show a new option called Show content in notifications, so you can decide if you want to show or hide message and sender preview when the Fingerprint lock is enabled.

When you enable the Fingerprint Lock feature, the widget content is hidden by default:

I can say that it’s safe for your privacy to enable the Fingerprint lock feature because WhatsApp, as any other app, cannot access to your fingerprint data: the authentication process is managed by the Android system: WhatsApp uses official Android APIs, so no information is sent to WhatsApp/Facebook Server.


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