WhatsApp, the popular messaging service, is introducing a new feature that provides users with the option to log in to their accounts using biometric authentication on their smartphones. This feature will allow users to create a passkey, eliminating the need for passwords, and securely access apps and services using facial recognition or a fingerprint scanner.
The passkey feature was recently spotted by WABetaInfo, a feature tracker, in the WhatsApp beta for Android 22.214.171.124. While the feature is currently being rolled out to a limited number of beta testers, not all users who have updated to the latest beta release will have access to it. Gadgets 360, for instance, was unable to access the feature on two different Android smartphones enrolled in the beta program.
Passkeys offer a simple and secure way to sign in to WhatsApp and potentially other devices through secure authentication on the primary device. This concept is not new, as Google already allows users to log in to new devices using fingerprint-based biometric authentication. In this case, passkeys are stored securely on the device and used for authentication when biometric data is provided.
According to the screenshot shared by WABetaInfo, WhatsApp will store the passkey in the device’s password manager. For most users, this would be the default password store managed by Google, with autofill support. For iOS users, it is expected that the passkey will be stored in the iOS Keychain. However, it remains unclear whether WhatsApp will also support storing passkeys in third-party password managers like Bitwarden, 1Password, or Dashlane.
While the passkey feature is currently available only to a limited number of beta testers, it is expected to be rolled out to more users in the beta program. Eventually, it will be available on all smartphones through the stable channel.
WhatsApp’s introduction of biometric authentication through passkeys offers a convenient and secure method for users to log in to their accounts. By eliminating the need for passwords and relying on well-established biometric authentication methods, WhatsApp aims to enhance the security and user experience of its platform. As the feature becomes more widely available, it will undoubtedly provide users with greater peace of mind and simplify the login process across various apps and services.