By Sophie Curtis For Mailonline
Published: 14:51 GMT, 31 October 2019 | Updated: 08:45 GMT, 1 November 2019
WhatsApp is introducing a new feature for Android users – a fingerprint lock that will prevent your friends and family from sneaking a look at your private messages when you leave the room.
If Android users choose to enable the new feature on their phone, then anyone attempting to open WhatsApp will be required to scan their fingerprint before they can read the messages stored in the app.
A similar feature was introduced on WhatsApp for iOS earlier this year, giving iPhone users the ability to protect their messages using either the phone's fingerprint reader (Touch ID) or Apple's facial recognition system (Face ID).
However, this is the first time the feature will be available on Android devices, providing an 'extra layer of security' for WhatsApp users who own devices running Google's software.
WhatsApp users who enable the feature will have to authenticate their identity using the fingerprint reader on their Android smartphone
WhatsApp did not mention a facial recognition unlock for Android in its announcement, meaning owners of devices such as Google's Pixel 4 - which uses facial recognition rather than a fingerprint scanner as its biometric security - will not be able to use the feature.
The feature is being rolled out to WhatsApp users worldwide who have a fingerprint-scanning capable Android smartphone, the company confirmed.
Users of WhatsApp for Android can enable the new feature by opening the WhatApp app and going to Settings Account Privacy Fingerprint lock.
Here they can turn on the 'Unlock with fingerprint' feature, and choose whether the lock activates immediately, after one minute, or after 30 minutes.
As well as preventing nosy friends from reading your private messages, the new feature could potentially make it harder for police, intelligence