WhatsApp for Android is getting this killer upgrade

(Image credit: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images)

WhatsApp on Android phones will soon let you unlock the app with facial recognition as well as with a fingerprint.

WABetaInfo has shared details of this feature after examining the newly released beta v2.20.203.3. Although already present on the iOS version of WhatsApp, working with both Face ID and Touch ID, the current live Android version of WhatsApp can only secure itself with a fingerprint.

You can't use the feature yet, even if you download the beta, but the presence of the menus in this version suggests that there will be a usable version soon.

WhatsApp Android Biometric Lock

(Image credit: WABetaInfo)

You are already able to secure WhatsApp with a fingerprint, and that option remains. However the feature has been renamed from Fingerprint Lock to Biometric Lock in order to reflect the wider variety of options. It will work even if you have only facial recognition enabled without a registered fingerprint.

All modern Android phones are capable of facial recognition. However without additional sensors to scan the shape of the face as well as the image, these solutions are less secure than Apple's Face ID, which uses an infra-red dot projector. The only comparable Android alternatives are Face Unlock on the Google Pixel 4, or 3D Face Unlock on the Huawei Mate 30, P40 series or the newly revealed Mate 40 Pro.

The other new feature introduced in this beta build is Join Missed Calls. This lets you join a chat group's voice call more easily if you declined initially, but later open the app while the call is still live. Like Biometric Lock, this feature is also not yet usable, but looks to be well on the way to going live.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.