Whatsapp - App security

Whatsapp offers some security features which are good to enable. It's also worth reviewing the permissions given to the app. This guide looks at fingerprint lock, security notifications, Whatsapp web and app permissions.

Last modified
23rd November 2020
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Fingerprint lock

If there are chances that your device might be accessed while unlocked you might want to add this second security layer. Enabling it means that to open Whatsapp you'll need to provide your fingerprint, the same way you might already unlock your phone. This isn't a perfect solution, as you might be compelled to unlock the app. If you think this may happen, you should consider clearing your history often to avoid giving access to personal and sensitive information.

To set a fingerprint lock:

  • Open Whatsapp and tap the three dots in the top right corner
  • Tap Settings > Account > Privacy > Fingerprint lock
Fingerprint lock

Show security notifications

We suggest you turn this feature on. It will alert you when one of your contact’s security code changes. If one of your contact changes his phone, his security code will be changed. But such code change can also happen in case of hacking. Seeing this notification in a conversation should be a red flag and you should ensure that the person you are communicating with is who they say they are

  • Open Whatsapp and tap the three dots in the top right corner
  • Tap Settings > Account > Security
Security notifications

Whatsapp Web

Whatsapp web allows you to use Whatsapp from a desktop in a browser by scanning a QR code. If you use this feature, you need to make sure you disconnect afterwards so that people won’t be able to read your conversations. We recommend you use Whatsapp web in private mode so that it will automatically delete your session when you close the window. You can always see the list of devices accessing your conversation by tapping looking at “Whatsapp Web” in the menu. This list should always be empty if you’re not currently using a desktop. Tap “Log out all devices” if you see something you don’t recognise here.

Whatsapp web, this list should be empty if you are not using a desktop

Apps settings/permissions

On first use Whatsapp will ask for permission to use the phone. This is used to for the verification process but shouldn’t be used later on. However, if you don’t change this permission, Whatsapp is theoretically able to make phone calls on your behalf. Broadly speaking, we recommend you check the app's permissions to disable anything you don’t use, such as permission to access phone or location. You will likely find this in your phone settings rather than the app.

To access permissions:

  • Hold press on the Whatsapp icon
  • Tap the "info" icon
  • Tap permission

Alternatively:

  • Go to your phone settings
  • Look for permissions
  • Find Whatsapp
Whatsapp permissions in Android