WhatsApp has been introducing several new features to its apps, catering to the needs and demands of its users. Over the past year, some of the notable additions include the ability to transfer data between Android and iOS smartphones and the option to use the same WhatsApp number on multiple devices. Now, the company is addressing another highly requested feature: Chat Lock for individual threads.
In an official blog post, WhatsApp announced the rollout of a locking mechanism for individual chat threads on its Android app. This feature, in addition to app lock, provides an extra layer of security. When a chat thread is locked, it is removed from the regular chat list and placed inside a folder called Locked Chats. Accessing this folder requires a password or a biometric authentication method like a fingerprint. Furthermore, WhatsApp hides notifications received from locked chat threads.
The Chat Lock feature proves particularly useful when you want to keep a conversation hidden from family members or when someone else temporarily uses your phone. To lock a chat, simply tap on the name of a one-to-one chat and select the lock option. It’s worth noting that this feature currently doesn’t work with group chats, and it would be beneficial for WhatsApp to work on extending this functionality in the future.
WhatsApp has plans to introduce additional Chat Lock options, including the ability to lock chats on companion devices and the option to create custom passwords for individual chat threads. The Chat Lock feature is currently being rolled out, and users can update to the latest version of WhatsApp on their Samsung phones through the Play Store.
Chat Lock joins WhatsApp’s growing list of privacy features, including end-to-end encryption, encrypted backups, disappearing messages, screenshot blocking, and controls over the visibility of your online status.
WhatsApp believes this feature will be beneficial for users who occasionally share their phones with family members or find themselves in situations where someone else holds their phone when an important chat arrives.
In the coming months, WhatsApp plans to introduce more Chat Lock options, such as locking for companion devices and the ability to set custom passwords for individual chats, allowing users to use unique passwords different from their device passwords.
To lock a chat, simply tap on the name of a contact or group and select the lock option. To access locked conversations, slowly pull down on the inbox screen and enter your device password or use biometric authentication.
The Chat Lock feature allows users to protect their most private conversations with an additional layer of security. When a chat is locked, not only is the conversation hidden, but the sender’s name and message content is also concealed. Even if someone else is holding your phone, your locked chat will remain private. This locking mechanism moves the chat to a separate folder and can only be accessed with the device password or biometric authentication.
While WhatsApp continues to work on new features, it is crucial to address a significant bug that requires immediate fixing. According to reports from several users, there is an underlying bug causing WhatsApp to continuously access the microphone even when the app is closed. This issue seems to affect various Android smartphones, including those from Samsung and Google.
A Twitter engineer shed light on this WhatsApp microphone bug, sharing a screenshot from Android’s Privacy Dashboard, displaying frequent microphone activity by the WhatsApp app. Furthermore, the microphone activity was noticeable through the green dot notification on the Android status bar.
In other WhatsApp news, the messaging app is rolling out a new feature for macOS users, enabling them to make group calls. This feature, currently available to some beta testers, will be gradually extended to more users in the upcoming weeks. WhatsApp continues to enhance its native desktop applications, with recent improvements focusing on icons, the app header, and a new green tint color.
The latest update aims to improve group calls, as previously the button to initiate group calls was either disabled or non-functional. However, the update introduces functional call buttons, enabling users to start group calls. In some cases, users might notice a different icon within the chat header, combining group calling and video calling into a single button.
Users can also create new group calls with participants who are not part of the same group by accessing the calls tab and selecting the individuals they wish to add. Initially, up to seven people can be selected from this section, but later, up to 32 people can join the call. However, it’s important to note that the limit for video calls in groups might be different.
WhatsApp continues to innovate and enhance its messaging app, addressing user needs by introducing features like Chat Lock for added privacy and improving the overall user experience with functionalities such as group calling on macOS.