Facebook is testing a new way for users to secure Messenger on iOS devices, with Face ID or Touch ID.
Messenger users on iOS may soon be able to secure their messages with Face ID or Touch ID, as Facebook is reportedly working on including this functionality in a future update of the app. According to reports, users will be able to choose whether the authentication will be required each time they open the app, or after a certain time without using it – from one minute to one hour.
Biometric authentication is already available on WhatsApp, as is app-wide end-to-end encryption. So far, Messenger has neither, but does offer a “Secret conversation” feature that is encrypted – that’s about it. A Face ID and Touch ID feature will only secure the app itself – hiding all messages from prying eyes – not specific messages.
When contacted, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed the test, explaining:
“We want to give people more choices and controls to protect their private messages, and recently, we began testing a feature that lets you unlock the Messenger app using your device’s settings. It’s an added layer of privacy to prevent someone else from accessing your messages.”
Facebook is currently running the test with a small number of users and there is no indication as to when it might make the feature available more widely.
Until biometric authentication becomes available on Messenger I guess the best way to keep people from snooping throught your messages is to keep your phone locked.