With each passing day, WhatsApp is introducing features that will make GB WhatsApp and its friends redundant. The official WhatsApp is good enough for me, but for the super private (sketchy?) among us, GB still offers some must-have features.
WhatsApp is working on introducing one such feature – the ability to lock individual chats.
You can lock WhatsApp behind a passcode or fingerprint/FaceID and WhatsApp will now allow you to lock individual chats too. Meaning you will have to input a passcode twice to view locked chats.
To lock a chat,
- Open the chat you want to lock
- Tap on their name
- Scroll down and tap on ‘Lock chat’
- Note: you will have to unarchive the chat to be able to lock it
When you lock individual chats they will not appear on the Chats list. So, if anyone casually peeps, they won’t see that ‘Belinda’ chat they have no business seeing. Meaning you can scroll through your chat list in peace.
Instead, locked chats will live in their own ‘Locked chats’ section. To access the locked chats you will have to go all the way to the top on the Chats tab and then swipe down. The ‘Locked chats’ tab will appear above Archived chats.
Screenshots showing Locked chats tab
Privacy and mischief
You will need to input a passcode or use your fingerprint/FaceID to get access to the locked chats. That’s the main difference between locking a chat and archiving one. You don’t need to enter a passcode to view archived chats but you do to view locked ones.
When you receive a message from a locked chat, you will get a notification but the message preview itself will be hidden. You will only be able to tell that so-and-so messaged you.
To view the message you will have to passcode to open WhatsApp and then passcode to open locked chats. The lengths people will go to have a little ‘privacy.’
If you intend to hide evidence of your infidelity from a loved one then locking chats will not quite cut it. Just the mere presence of a ‘Locked chats’ tab will raise questions. You may be asked about it and you will have to come up with an explanation.
I don’t condone infidelity but there are some other valid reasons one may want to lock chats and make it seem like they don’t exist. To truly allow for that, WhatsApp would have to allow users to set some unique way to get access the locked chats tab.
Something like messaging oneself a code that tells WhatsApp to bring it up would be good. You would then delete the message, access the locked chats and go about your business. No one would know with any certainty that you have locked chats.
I also think WhatsApp should disable message notifications for locked chats. Imagine you’re showing someone something on your phone when you get a redacted ‘message from Belinda’ notification. You will have to explain.
Locked chats message notifications should be like archived chats notifications – non-existent.
Anyway, the locked chats feature is in the Beta version of WhatsApp for now and will be rolling out to the stable build in the coming weeks. Don’t fret if you don’t see it yet.