WhatsApp’s new security feature allows you a simple way to restrict people who have access to your phone from reading your messages.
It launched last week, so here’s how to enable it on your iPhone.
Currently WhatsApp only supports this additional security feature on Apple devices. An Android equivalent is in the works and should launch reasonably soon.
To use the feature you’ll need to ensure you’re using the latest version of WhatsApp. You can check this by going to settings and pressing “help”.
You’ll see the screen below with the version number listed at the top – you need to have version 2.19.20.
If you don’t have the latest version, head to the iOS App Store and hit the update button. You’ll see the version number listed below the “What’s New” section in the store.
To enable the new authentication feature you’ll need to open WhatsApp and head to the settings page.
On iOS this can be found by opening the app and looking for, sensibly enough, “Settings” on the row of icons on the bottom of your screen.
Once in settings press the “account” menu item, then head to “privacy” from within the new menu that appears.
The type of iPhone defines how you unlock WhatsApp. The iPhone X, XS, XS Max and XR will all show “Face ID”. Those phones that use a fingerprint scanner instead will see “Touch ID” instead.
The setting you want is in “screen lock”. It’s toggled off by default, so turn it on. When you do that you’ll be presented with a set of options.
You can either have WhatsApp lock itself as soon as you move to a different app, or you can select some different times.
I’d advise against using “immediately” unless you really think it’s the right decision, because it can become tedious unlocking WhatsApp each time you flip to a new app.
Picking the times allows you some grace before you have to re-authenticate.
This added level of authentication is useful for people who want to let other people use their device but don’t want anyone accessing their messages.
With it turned on you can let people use your phone without them being able to read your WhatsApp messages.