WhatsApp is rolling out a new Secret Code feature for locked chats. The Chat Lock feature announced by the company earlier this year has now been extended and allows you to hide your locked chats behind a secret code. As a result, you can hide your sensitive conversations with other users from view when you’re passing your phone to a friend, or if your phone falls into the wrong hands. Alternatively, you can continue to protect your chats with your phone’s PIN or passcode, or by scanning your face or fingerprint.
On Thursday, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the rollout of the new Secret Code for Chat Lock feature that lets you select a chat and lock it behind a password or a phrase. Chats hidden behind a secret code will not be visible in the main chat list and can only be accessed when the secret code is entered, adding another layer of safety to the messaging platform.
Gadgets 360 was able to test out the feature on the beta version of the app for Android smartphones. After you open the list of locked chats and tap the three-dot menu at the top > Chat lock settings > toggle Hide locked chats and enter a secret code that you can remember easily, your locked chats will no longer be visible in the main chat window — currently, WhatsApp shows a shortcut for locked chats when swiping down on the chat screen — these can be accessed using your fingerprint or Face ID.
After you’ve set a secret code, there’s only one way to reveal your locked chats on WhatsApp — you must enter the same secret code in the search bar on the app. This will show conversations protected by the Chat Lock feature, but only until you exit the app.
If you don’t need to hide the presence of your chats on WhatsApp, you can revert back to the original Chat Lock feature by opening the list of locked chats using your secret code, then tapping on the three-dot menu > Chat lock settings > toggle Hide locked chats off to disable the Secret Code feature.
WhatsApp also says that you won’t have to enter individual chat settings to lock a chat — you can simply long press a chat to lock it. While the secret code feature has begun rolling out to users, it will be available globally in the coming months. There’s no word on when — or whether — WhatsApp will bring the secret code feature to WhatsApp for Desktop.