Facebook-owned WhatsApp is reportedly working on developing a fingerprint authentication feature similar to the iOS Touch ID for Android users for an extra layer of security – but there’s a twist.

The biometric authentication layer for mobile phones was first introduced by Apple for its flagship devices including iPhones and iPads, which is now adapted by a number of Android users too. Inspiring from that, WhatsApp teams are currently working on developing the fingerprint authentication at application level for Android users. The feature is currently under its alpha development stage and has been disabled within the beta version of Android 2.19.3 via the backend, but it will basically be similar to the concept of biometric Apple Touch ID.

Photo by WABetaInfo

Once and if launched, the fingerprint authentication feature for WhatsApp will add an extra authentication layer by requiring user fingerprint input to access the app. However, the twist about this feature is that the fingerprint authentication will most likely be required only to log in to WhatsApp account along with the OTP code, and not for every time the app is opened. Hence, the feature is not meant to protect access of app and its notifications, but it is for avoiding unauthorised login of any WhatsApp account on certain device.

Initially, the fingerprint authentication will be launched only for smartphones running on Android 6.0 Marshmallow or above, since the lower Android OS do not support biometric features. And needless to say, to enjoy an added layer of security to log on to your WhatsApp, you will need a smartphone which has the fingerprint sensor. WhatsApp has neither confirmed about the feature, nor about when the feature will be available, but we should expect to see it soon on Android phones, and later on iOS devices which are already TouchID enabled.