WhatsApp’s stepping up its security portfolio with two-step verification, adding it as an optional feature for its Android and Windows beta apps. The extra layer of defense is meant to act as a shield against hackers and thieves trying to get access to your account.
Two-step verification has begun showing up in WhatsApp for Android beta version 2.16.341 and Windows 10 Mobile beta version 2.16.280 as of now. The company has even put up an in-depth FAQ page explaining the new security measure in detail.
You can activate two-factor authentication by heading to Settings, tapping on Account, selecting Two-step verification, and hitting Enable. You’ll then have to come up with a 6-digit code which you’ll have to enter every time you try to verify your phone number on WhatsApp.
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You’ll also be asked to submit an email address which WhatsApp can send a link to. This url will disable multi-factor authentication in case you forget your code. Note that WhatsApp won’t check the email ID for legitimacy, meaning you have to submit an accurate address when setting up two-step verification.
This is vital, because WhatsApp has strict measures in place if you forget your passcode and didn’t submit a proper email address. The app won’t let you re-verify within 7 days of last utilizing the application without your password. After this, you’ll be allowed to re-confirm your number without your code but will lose all pending messages since it’ll be deleted.
It gets even worse if you choose to re-verify your number after 30 days of last using WhatsApp without a passcode. The company will delete your account and create a new one after you log in. Given the dire nature of what happens if you forget your key without any fail-safe, it plans to periodically ask you to enter your password so that you remember it.
You can download WhatsApp beta for Android here and Windows here.