Mark Zuckerberg announces ‘Locked Chats’ for WhatsApp

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has officially announced the Locked Chats feature for WhatsApp. File picture: Lionel Bonaventure AFP

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has officially announced the Locked Chats feature for WhatsApp. File picture: Lionel Bonaventure AFP

Published May 16, 2023


Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg officially announced the anticipated WhatsApp feature, Locked Chats, allowing access to specific chats through a passcode or fingerprint only.

Zuckerberg, whose company Meta also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, announced the feature on his first social network, Facebook.

“New locked chats in WhatsApp make your conversations more private. They’re hidden in a password-protected folder, and notifications won’t show sender or message content,” he said in the Facebook post.

IOL first reported speculation of the feature’s arrival to one of the world's biggest instant messaging apps after independent WhatsApp blog WABetaInfo said the function was discovered among some beta testers.

The WhatsApp beta version for Android,, was the first version of the app discovered to support the Lock Chat functionality. It was seen that after adding a chat to the list of locked chats, it would be only available within the Locked Chats screen.

Once locked, these chats can only be accessed using the user’s fingerprint or passcode, adding a further layer of security around private conversations on the app.

“To protect your privacy, a locked chat cannot be opened without a fingerprint or passcode. In addition, if someone tries to access your phone and fails to provide the necessary authentication, they will be prompted to clear the chat to open it,” WABetaInfo said.

It is also expected that the new feature will easily be able to hide chats from the regular WhatsApp home screen, making them only accessible by unlocking the device.

“We’re sure that users can have an extra layer of security by using this feature, keeping their sensitive conversations safe from prying eyes,” the blog said.

The Locked Chats feature is also expected to help keep media private by ensuring that media files, such as photos and videos, sent in a locked chat are not automatically saved to the device's gallery, with this kind of functionality set by default.

After Zuckerberg’s announcement, it is expected that the new feature will be available for all WhatsApp users on Android, iOS and desktop.

Last week, further speculation arose around WhatsApp making its way to smartwatches on Wear OS, providing ease of use from the wrist.

WABetaInfo reported that the Meta-owned platform will see enhancements making it easier to navigate, read, and reply to messages from a Google-enabled smartwatch.

“In the latest update, some users noticed that the app was listed to be compatible with their smartwatch, particularly with Wear OS. Wear OS is an Android operating system designed for smartwatches, and the latest update of WhatsApp beta for Android is finally compatible with it,” the blog said.

IOL Tech