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WhatsApp on Android finally gets enhanced security, months after iPhone

WhatsApp is finally bringing Android users the ability to secure their chats with a fingerprint sensor, months after the biometric security was added to the iPhone app.

Once the new feature is enabled, Android users have an extra layer of security beyond the main means of locking their handset. It means that even if the phone is unlocked, prying eyes won’t be able to get access to the messages without the requisite digit.

That offers the same protection as many of the financial apps we’ve become accustomed to, which demand a secondary level of authentication.

In announcing the feature, WhatsApp says users can choose to automatically lock the app immediately, after one minute, or after 30 minutes. Even with the feature enabled you’ll still be able to answer WhatsApp phone calls and videos without needing to use the fingerprint sensor.

Of course, you’ll need a phone with a fingerprint sensor, but if you have an applicable handset you can enable it via Settings > Account > Privacy > Fingerprint lock. You’ll need to turn on Unlock with fingerprint, and confirm your fingerprint.

Related: Best smartphone 2019

Back in January, WhatsApp announced fingerprint and face unlock authentication would be coming to the app for both iOS and Android. However, while iPhone users received the update way back in February, Android users get some of it on Halloween.

Earlier this week, WhatsApp also brought a small but significant update for iPhone users. The latest version of the app prevents icon badges appearing for muted chats. In the release notes for Version 2.19.110, WhatsApp says: “Muted chats will no longer display notification based on the app icon when you receive new messages.”

While WhatsApp looks much the same as it always has, it’s been a pretty big year for the Facebook-owned firm, in terms of new features. The most significant is probably still to come, with the full roll-out of the retina-aiding dark mode expected any time now.

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