After quite a few months of wait, WhatsApp has finally gotten around to adding a native fingerprint lock feature to its Android client. The company had rolled out a similar feature to its iOS client with Touch ID/Face ID support a few months ago. For Android, the feature is still in beta, though it should be rolled out to the public version soon.
Fingerprint lock in WhatsApp is pretty straightforward to use. As it has been currently implemented, the feature lacks a lot of necessary customization options. This includes the inability to lock WhatsApp using Password/PIN or using face unlock instead of fingerprint lock. Nonetheless, WhatsApp should get around to adding these features to its Android app within the next few months as well.
Before you follow the steps below, make sure that you are running the latest WhatsApp Android beta. You can sideload the APK from here.
Enable Fingerprint Lock in WhatsApp
Step 1: Open WhatsApp, tap the 3-dot overflow menu button on the top-right and select Settings. From there, select Account -> Privacy. Scroll to the very bottom and tap Fingerprint lock.
Step 2: Enable the Fingerprint Lock toggle. You will now get some basic customization options related to the feature. This includes the time after which WhatsApp should automatically lock itself and whether you want your WhatsApp notification content to be masked or not.
One issue with fingerprint lock in WhatsApp is that it will still end up showing a preview of your chats and on-screen content from the Recent Apps screen. If you unlock WhatsApp, exit it, and then bring up the Recent Apps overview, the WhatsApp card will provide a glimpse of all your chats or any open conversation. This is definitely an oversight from WhatsApp which the company will hopefully get around to fixing soon.