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WhatsApp brings biometric authentication to its web and desktop apps

You'll now have to unlock your phone before you can log in to WhatsApp Web.

What you need to know

  • WhatsApp is adding biometric authentication to its Web and Desktop clients.
  • You will now use have to unlock your phone with your fingerprint or face when linking a device.
  • WhatsApp says it does not see your face or fingerprint data.

Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp today announced a new security feature for its Web and Desktop clients. You will soon have to use fingerprint or face unlock on your phone to use WhatsApp on other devices. WhatsApp says the new security feature will "limit the chance that a housemate or officemate (when we have those again) can link devices to your WhatsApp account without you."

Until now, all you had to do to log in to your account on WhatsApp Web, WhatsApp Desktop, or Portal was to scan the QR code using your phone. While WhatsApp hasn't changed the process completely, there is now going to be an added step.

On devices that support biometric authentication, you'll be asked to touch the fingerprint sensor before you can scan the QR code and link a device. WhatsApp says it doesn't see your face or fingerprint data, since the authentication is handled by the device's operating system.

Needless to say, you'll be able to log in to WhatsApp Web or WhatsApp Desktop just by scanning the QR code if your device doesn't have a fingerprint sensor or you haven't set up the fingerprint lock feature.

The new security feature will be rolling out to users globally in the coming weeks.

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