WhatsApp Web rolls out new screen lock feature to boost privacy

WhatsApp has announced its new screen lock feature for its WhatsApp Web platform to boost user privacy when not on your smartphone.
Christopher McFadden
Screenshot of WhatsApp Web's new screen lock feature.

WhatsApp Web 

WhatsApp's online Web application now comes with a screen lock to enhance user security when accessing their messages. Currently only available to WhatsApp Web beta users, the new feature will block unauthorized access to the app without knowing the account password. The screen lock feature was first announced last year but is now officially being rolled out.

Great for security

The company, owned by Meta, has announced that the upgrade will be made available once again to those who have enrolled in the Beta program. "Last year, we shared an article regarding the screen lock option, a feature for WhatsApp Desktop Beta," WhatsApp reported in a blog post.

"With this feature, it would have been possible to protect the app from unauthorized access with a password. When we announced this feature, it was under development so it was not ready for beta testers," they added. "However, after a long time of testing, WhatsApp is now releasing this feature to some beta testers that use the latest version of WhatsApp Web and joined the official beta program!" explained WhatsApp.

If this sounds interesting, and you are a WhatsApp user, you can check if the feature is available by going to "WhatsApp Settings" and then checking under the "Privacy" tab. Once active, additional settings should be customized when the lock is activated. If, for whatever reason, you've forgotten your password, you'll need to log out of WhatsApp to reset it or scan the QR code from your Smartphone app (as you need to do when first using it).

If you want to disable it, you can also do that through the same menu on the app's settings. Depending on the level of security on your smartphone app, you may need to authorize any changes using a password, face scanning, or your fingerprint.

The new feature not only dramatically enhances user security by blocking access to message feeds, but push notifications are also disabled when the screen is locked. This is great, as popups from received messages are often accessible to anyone viewing the screen beyond the user. If you use WhatsApp Web at work or in public, this feature is highly recommended to maintain the confidentiality of your conversations and protect your privacy from prying eyes.

Boosts user privacy

"In our opinion, this definitely helps users maintain the confidentiality of their conversations by enhancing privacy and preventing unauthorized users from viewing their personal information," explained WhatsApp. For non-beta test users, this feature will be available to more users in the upcoming weeks.

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