The beleaguered WhatsApp has just debuted a new feature to its WhatsApp Web and Desktop apps that adds an extra layer of protection to your messages. WhatsApp Web and WhatsApp Desktop are the web-based and Mac and PC desktop apps that allow you to access your WhatsApp account on your computer instead of just your phone.
Both apps are handy as, if you’re having a long WhatsApp text conversation, it’s generally much easier to type it out using your computer’s keyboard than your smartphone’s touch screen. In order for a user to link their WhatsApp account from their mobile app to the web or desktop apps, they have previously only had to scan a QR code via the WhatsApp mobile app.
The drawback to this has always been that anyone with access to your mobile phone (such as someone in your house or workplace) could sync all your WhatsApp messages to the WhatsApp Web and Desktop apps on their own computer. But not anymore. That’s because WhatsApp has announced it’s added a new security feature that will require biometric authentication from the user when setting up a new web or desktop sync.
Today we’re starting to roll out a new security feature for WhatsApp Web and Desktop: face and fingerprint unlock when linking devices.
WhatsApp does not see your face or fingerprint data.
— WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) January 28, 2021
Now when you sync your WhatsApp mobile app with the desktop or web app you’ll be asked to authenticate with the biometrics built into your smartphone (such as Face ID on an iPhone or a fingerprint on your Android device) before being allowed to scan the QR code linking your device. As WhatsApp notes, “this will limit the chance that a housemate or officemate (when we have those again) can link devices to your WhatsApp account without you.”
While not a major new feature, it’s a nice extra layer of security to keep your messages that much safer. If you’ve never used WhatsApp desktop sync capabilities before, you can follow WhatsApp’s full instructions to set the feature up.