WhatsApp is getting a new “Chat Lock” feature intended to make it easier to keep conversations more private. The new locked chats will live in a password- or biometrics-protected folder, and notifications from those conversations won’t display the sender or the actual message content. If you’re familiar with Apple’s hidden photos feature for iCloud, Chat Lock sounds like it will work similarly.
You can get an idea of how it will all look in this video from WhatsApp.
WhatsApp is already well-known for its end-to-end encrypted messages, but that won’t block somebody who already has your unlocked phone that’s opened to WhatsApp from potentially seeing a message with their eyes. Chat Lock adds an extra layer of protection that could be useful if you regularly have to share your unlocked phone with somebody. (You can also lock WhatsApp entirely behind biometric authentication if you want.)
Chat Lock is rolling out now, and there will be additional upgrades to look forward to in the future. “Over the next few months we’re going to be adding more options for Chat Lock, including locking for companion devices, creating a custom password for your chats so that you can use a unique password different from your phone’s,” Meta wrote in a blog post.