WhatsApp adds biometric authentication for logging on desktop
Linking your WhatsApp account to your computer’s web browser or desktop app is getting a little more secure. Soon, if you’ve got biometric authentication enabled on your phone, you’ll have to unlock the app before you can link your account.
The company says the new system is intended to ensure that should someone else gain access to your phone, they won’t be able to link your account to their web browser (which, in turn, would allow them to see any messages you send or receive).
To be clear: WhatsApp (and Facebook) aren’t getting access to your fingerprints or facial recognition scans
The new system will be enabled by default on any iPhone devices running iOS 14 with either Touch ID or Face ID, and any Android devices that have biometric authentication enabled. That means users will have to use it to link their accounts unless they disable biometric authentication for their entire device. Users who don’t have a biometric authentication setup on their phone (or have it turned off) will be able to link their account as usual.
As with any other use of biometric security on modern smartphones, the new system does not mean that WhatsApp is accessing or collecting your facial scans or fingerprints. Rather, it’s just using the same biometric data APIs every other app does in order to access the on-device security system as an extra measure of authentication before it allows users to connect their accounts.
So in the same way that using a fingerprint reader to log in to your banking app doesn’t grant Chase or Bank of America your fingerprint scans, using the new biometric unlock system here to link your account to your computer isn’t giving WhatsApp (or Facebook) your personal information either.
WhatsApp says that the new update should be rolling out for compatible devices in the coming weeks.