WhatsApp, the most widely used instant messaging app, has begun rolling out two-factor authentication (aka two-step verification) feature for users. The new optional feature is currently available to users of the beta app on Android and Windows, and it adds brings security to the account. To recall, Facebook-owned Instagram added two-factor authentication at the beginning of this year.
Considering the two-step verification feature is available just for beta users, we can expect it to be rolled out to all users in coming weeks. On Android, beta app users running version 2.16.341 or above will be able to enable the two-step verification.Nokia Power User notes that Windows 10 Mobile beta users, running version 2.16.280 of WhatsApp can enable the security feature.
Users on WhatsApp for Android and Windows betas can enable the two-step verification under Settings > Account > Two-step verification. WhatsApp stresses that the two-step verification feature is an optional feature. It however clearly mentions that if two-step verification is enabled, any attempt to verify phone number on WhatsApp must be accompanied by the six-digit passcode that was created using the feature. WhatsApp also requests for an email address which will be used to disable two-step verification if needed.
"Upon enabling this feature, you can also optionally enter your email address. This email address will allow WhatsApp to send you a link via email to disable two-step verification in case you ever forget your six-digit passcode, and also to help safeguard your account," WhatsApp team explains in a Support page.
In case a user forgets six-digit passcode, WhatsApp won't permit re-verifying the account within seven days of last using WhatsApp.
"After these 7 days, your number will be permitted to re-verify on WhatsApp without your passcode, but you will lose all pending messages upon re-verifying - they will be deleted. If your number is re-verified on WhatsApp after 30 days of last using WhatsApp, and without your passcode, your account will be deleted and a new one will be created upon successfully re-verifying," notes WhatsApp team.
Apart from two-step verification, WhatsApp for Android beta also brings a new feature that lets users play audio messages in the background. Android Police points out that the new feature will let users play audio messages stored in WhatsApp even when they switch to other apps. We tried using the feature in our Android beta app (version 2.16.343) but the audio messages didn't play in background when we closed a conversation, so your mileage may vary.