Join gaming leaders online at GamesBeat Summit Next this upcoming November 9-10. Learn more about what comes next. 

WhatsApp is finally rolling out fingerprint unlocking to Android phones, some 10 months after the feature was first teased in an early Android beta build.

It’s worth noting that WhatsApp has already introduced biometric security to its iPhone app, having added support for Face ID and Touch ID back in February. Touch ID, which involves using your fingerprint to authenticate an app, is available on the iPhone 5S to the iPhone 8 / 8 Plus, after which Apple replaced Touch ID with its facial recognition system.

So while we already knew WhatsApp was adding biometric unlocking, today’s announcement finally brings it to the masses. This is a notable development for WhatsApp, given that one of its core selling points is the security it offers through end-to-end encryption. Fingerprint unlocking makes things even more secure as it encourages users to lock the app down even if the device itself is unlocked.

How it works

To activate the feature, head to the app’s settings, then to “account” and “privacy.” Toggle the “fingerprint lock” switch and then choose when WhatsApp should automatically lock itself: immediately, after 1 minute, or after 30 minutes.

Users can also choose to view the messages in push notifications, which means anyone else would be able to view it, too, though they wouldn’t be able to open the WhatsApp app itself.

Above: Activate fingerprint unlocking on WhatsApp (Android)

All that’s really missing now on Android is the ability to unlock WhatsApp using facial recognition technology. While Android phones have in the past offered “face unlock” features to unlock devices, Google’s new Pixel 4 takes things to the next level by allowing users to authenticate themselves in a handful of third-party apps, including password managers and banking services.

As more Android device makers add face unlocking smarts, we can likely expect WhatsApp to embrace this functionality in the future. However, a spokesperson told VentureBeat that they couldn’t comment on future plans.


VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact. Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:
  • up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
  • our newsletters
  • gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform 2021: Learn More
  • networking features, and more
Become a member