WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging app, now supports the biometric authentication technologies of Apple. According to the Tech Crunch report that people updating to the latest version of WhatsApp on iOS will see the new feature in the Privacy menu, enabling them to add an extra layer of security. Apple’s biometric authentication technologies allow users to need either facial biometrics or touch biometrics to unlock the app.
The report noted that the upgrade addresses a security hole in the WhatsApp messaging app, which does not have a native lock option. WhatsApp also doesn’t offer users with the capability to set a passcode for the app, forcing them to use a third-party app to lock the messaging service for them.
WhatsApp is also apparently upgrading the version for Android users to comprise fingerprint scanning. Money Control spotted the feature in a WhatsApp beta version for Android. The fingerprint scanner will only be used to unlock the app itself, and not for anything inside the messaging app.
In addition to fingerprint scanning and Apple biometric authentication technologies, in late December Bloomberg reported that Facebook is looking to create a digital token to help WhatsApp users transfer money. Sources told the outlet it is working on a stablecoin, or one that is tied to the value of the U.S. dollar, and is setting its sights on the remittance market in India.
WhatsApp’s security upgrade arises at a time when business is growing for Facebook’s messaging app. In January, App Annie announced that WhatsApp exceeded Facebook in terms of monthly active users as of September.
However, App Annie did not provide detailed numbers, both Facebook and WhatsApp have close to two million active monthly users, with WhatsApp slightly in the lead. WhatsApp has the most users in India, with Brazil, Mexico, Turkey and Russia rounding out the top five markets.