WhatsApp has launched a new “secret codes” feature that adds a layer of privacy to your locked conversations on the messaging platform. The app launched locked chats earlier this year to help people hide sensitive conversations, and now it’s adding a way to further protect chats and make them harder to find if there’s one with access to your phone.
Instead of displaying all your locked chats in a folder, you can choose to hide them behind a password different from the one you use to unlock your phone. Your secret code can including letters, numbers, special characters and emojis. If you hide the locked folder of chats from your chatlist, they can only be discovered by typing your secret code in the search bar. The idea behind the feature is to prevent people from having access to your phone even knowing that you have a locked chat folder.
“Chat Lock secret code rolled out on WhatsApp so you can protect your chats with a unique password,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today in his WhatsApp Channel. “Now you can set your locked chats to be visible only when you type the secret code in the search bar, so no one can ‘accidentally’ discover your most private conversations.”
It’s worth noting that you don’t need to use a secret code, and you can still choose to have your locked chats appear in your chatlist if you want.
The secret codes are starting to roll out today, and will be available worldwide in the coming months.
WhatsApp launched Chat Lock in May to allow users to lock chats and keep them in their own folder that can only be accessed with your device’s password, face ID or fingerprint. At the time, Meta said it planned to let users create a custom password for their chats so they could use a unique password different from the one they use for their phone. Now, six months later, the company has fulfilled its promise.
The launch of the new feature comes a few weeks after WhatsApp launched a new Discord-like voice chat feature for large groups called “Voice Chats.” The new feature is designed to be less disruptive than a group call, which rings every member of a group. Voice chats are initiated silently without any ringing associated with an in-chat bubble that you tap to join.