WhatsApp now allows locking individual chats behind a passcode/fingerprint

As time goes on, WhatsApp is adding new features that will make alternative versions like GB WhatsApp less necessary. While the official version of WhatsApp is sufficient for most users, some people who value privacy may still prefer GB WhatsApp for its unique features. One such feature that WhatsApp is currently developing is the ability to lock individual chat conversations. This means that in addition to being able to secure the entire app with a passcode or biometric authentication like fingerprint or FaceID, users will also be able to add an extra layer of security by locking specific chats. To access these locked chats, users will need to enter their passcode a second time.

Steps on how to lock chat

  • Open the chat you want to lock
  • Tap on their name
  • Scroll down and tap on ‘Lock chat’
  • Note: you will have to unarchive the chat to be able to lock it

When you choose to lock individual chat conversations on WhatsApp, they will no longer be visible in the main Chats list. This means that if someone glanced at your phone, they would not be able to see any chats you have chosen to keep private. As a result, you can feel more secure when scrolling through your chat list.

Instead of appearing in the main Chats list, locked chats will be in a separate section called “Locked chats.” To access this section, you will need to go to the top of the Chats tab and swipe down. The “Locked chats” tab will appear above the “Archived chats” tab.

Privacy and mischief

To access locked chats on WhatsApp, you will need to enter a passcode or use biometric authentication like fingerprint or FaceID. This is the main difference between locking a chat and archiving it. While you do not need to enter a passcode to view archived chats, you need to do so to view locked ones.

You will receive a notification when you receive a new message from a locked chat, but the message preview will be hidden. You will only be able to see who sent the message, but not its content.

To view the message, you will need to enter your passcode twice: once to open WhatsApp and again to access the locked chats. This extra layer of security can provide additional privacy for users.

However, it is important to note that simply locking chats may not be enough to keep certain information completely hidden. The presence of a “Locked chats” tab may raise questions and require an explanation.

While there may be some valid reasons for wanting to lock chats and make them appear as if they do not exist, for true privacy, WhatsApp would need to allow users to set a unique method for accessing the locked chats tab.

One potential solution for accessing locked chats on WhatsApp could be to send a code to oneself in a message. After entering the code, the user could delete the message and access the locked chats without anyone else knowing.

Additionally, it may be beneficial for WhatsApp to disable message notifications for locked chats. This would prevent potentially awkward situations where a redacted notification appears while someone else is looking at your phone.

Instead, notifications for locked chats could be handled in the same way as archived chats, where they do not appear at all.

It is important to note that the locked chats feature is currently only available in the Beta version of WhatsApp. It will be rolled out to the stable build in the coming weeks, so if you do not see it yet, do not worry.

By Shamiso Miracle

Shamiso Miracle completed her degree in journalism and media studies at the University of Zimbabwe before honing her skills at Savanna News. She then went on to work at iHarare News, becoming a voice for everyday SA citizens who wanted to share their stories. When she's not writing news that entertains and inspires ,Shamiso is an avid reader and a wellness bunny.

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