The Facebook-owned messaging service announced it will allow users to add the extra layer of security, which will require the device owner’s fingerprint to be confirmed before the app opens fully.
A similar feature was added to Apple’s iOS platform earlier this year, which only unlocks the app when the fingerprint or face scan associated with the device is logged using Apple’s Touch ID or Face ID biometric security features.
WhatsApp did not mention a facial recognition unlock for Android in its announcement, meaning owners of devices such as Google’s Pixel 4 – which uses facial recognition rather than a fingerprint scanner as its biometric security – will not be able to use the feature.
The feature is being rolled out to WhatsApp users worldwide who have a fingerprint-scanning capable Android smartphone, the company confirmed.
Once active, it can be reached through the Settings section of WhatsApp, with users able to specify when their device asks for the biometric unlock – immediately, after one minute or after 30 minutes.
The messaging service has more than one billion monthly active users.