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Fingerprint unlock finally comes to WhatsApp on Android

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Looks like today is the day of all things fingerprint unlock on Android.

On the same day that we got to know that Google is enhancing the security experience on Android by allowing users to log in using their set local biometric credentials like fingerprints, version 2.19.221 of WhatsApp also started rolling out to those who’ve registered to beta-test Facebook’s popular messaging app.

The update, available immediately through the Google Play Store, brings with it a feature that has been available on the iOS version of the application since February: the ability to use one’s set fingerprint to unlock the app as well.

While iOS users have a choice between Face ID (their fancy way of referring to face unlock) and Touch ID (fingerprint unlock), Android users will have to make do with the latter which is the only supported option.

Another departure to how the feature, dubbed Screen Lock, works on iOS is the difference in the options available for when the fingerprint lock kicks in. On Android, as can be seen in the screengrabs below, users have only 3 choices: immediately, after a minute or after half an hour. iOS users have an option for 15 minutes, a sweet spot, as well.

Another application that plays in the same space as WhatsApp, Telegram, has had a similar feature for quite a few years now.

By making it to the public beta, all WhatsApp users on the Android platform can expect the same feature to show up on their devices in the coming weeks once WhatsApp is done with its testing.

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For now, those who are part of the beta are able to use it immediately after updating their apps. Those that are enrolled in the beta but still don’t have the “Fingerprint lock” option in Settings > Account > Privacy after updating, should just delete the application (after backing up chats, obviously) and re-install. As the hawk-eyed spotters at WABetaInfo, who first broke this news, note, “Every time you reinstall WhatsApp, the most updated configurations from the server are downloaded, enabling the feature for you.”

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