WhatsApp is making the experience of using its instant messaging platform on desktop a tad more secure by adding support for fingerprint and face unlock. The new security feature has been enabled for both the WhatsApp Web client and the desktop app. And while the company is at it, the Facebook-owned company is sending the message in easy and comprehensible language – it will NOT store fingerprint or face unlock data of users. The biometric authentication experience for the desktop client can be enabled by linking a device.
Here’s how you can apply the added layer of biometric security in WhatsApp’s own words:
|1. Open WhatsApp on your phone.|
For Android: Tap the more options (three-dot button) in the top right corner
For iPhone: Go to WhatsApp Settings.
2. Tap WhatsApp Web or WhatsApp Web/Desktop.
For Android: Tap LINK A DEVICE. Follow the on-screen instructions if your device has biometric authentication.
For iPhone: Tap Link a Device > OK. On iOS 14 and above, use Touch ID or Face ID to unlock.
3. Select the checkbox next to Keep me signed in on the QR screen on your computer or Portal to stay logged in on this device.
4. Use your phone to scan the QR code on your computer or Portal.
5. If prompted, tap or select Done.
Circling back to the security aspect here, WhatsApp notes that the biometric authentication process – both facial and fingerprint – is handled by the connected smartphone, and that the biometric data is stored locally on the phone. “WhatsApp can’t access the biometric information stored by your device’s operating system,” the company says on its FAQ page.
Just for the sake of clarification, it must be noted that the facial recognition or fingerprint sensing hardware for Windows Hello login on your laptop won’t play a role here. It will be limited to the device lock or unlock process, and won’t be linked with how biometric security is handled while using the WhatsApp web client or its desktop app.