WhatsApp just released version 2.18.100 of its app for iOS. The update includes some major changes like support for the iPhone XS Max, but there are far more interesting changes below the surface.
WABetaInfo has found evidence that WhatsApp is working on Touch ID/Face ID support and a Dark Mode. People have been requesting both for years now and it’ll be exciting to see this finally happen soon. As of now, the two are in the alpha stage of development, meaning they need some improvements before everyone gets it.
How WhatsApp’s Touch ID Feature Works
Once it does get enabled, Touch ID/Face ID will show up as an option under Settings > Account > Privacy > Require Touch/Face ID. Activating it will prompt WhatsApp to ask for Touch ID or Face ID authentication every time you open the app.
If Touch ID or Face ID doesn’t work, WhatsApp will ask for your iPhone’s passcode. This indicates that the app won’t ask you to set a separate WhatsApp password specifically for such cases. It’s not clear why, since some people might prefer having separate codes for WhatsApp and unlocking their iPhone.
WABetaInfo has a possible explanation for this. It seems no data about a user’s fingerprint, face, or passcode is sent to WhatsApp because of how restricted the iOS APIs are. This means that the authentication process is handled by the iPhone’s system itself and doesn’t leave the device.
There are apps out there which allow folks to utilize Touch ID and set a password though. Perhaps WhatsApp will change this before releasing the security feature to the public. The report says the unlocking process works, but the response time is a bit slow at the moment.
Lastly, WhatsApp has been working on a Dark Mode for quite some time now, but no one has seen what it’s going to look like. There are now a couple of screenshots available to hint at what’s to come. The background might be colored in gray and the cells within in black. Incoming messages are painted in gray and outgoing messages in dark green.
The keyboard apparently automatically switches to dark gray as well. WhatsApp might choose to change these shades at a later stage in the development process. It might even allow users to change colors for bubbles and buttons. None of these changes have appeared in the Android version of the app yet, but they should eventually migrate there.