Published On: Thu, Nov 30th, 2023

There’s a new way to keep your WhatsApp chats hidden and private

WhatsApp, one of the most popular text chat apps in the world, is adding a new way to help keep your most private chats even more safe from prying eyes. The app introduced Chat Lock back in May, which allows you to filter any number of sensitive chats into a folder at the top of your chat list, only viewable if you enter your phone’s passcode, or unlock it using your fingerprint or with Face ID on iPhones.

Today, WhatsApp is rolling out a new feature for the app on Android and iOS called Secret Code for Chat Lock. This lets you create a secret password that needs entering to view your chats rather than using the passcode, fingerprint, or face unlock you also use to unlock your phone.

WhatsApp says this is to add “an extra layer of privacy”.

“With a secret code you’ll now be able to set a unique password different from what you use to unlock your phone,” it said in a blog post. “You’ll have the option to hide the Locked Chats folder from your chatlist so that they can only be discovered by typing your secret code in the search bar. If that doesn’t suit your needs, you can still choose to have them appear in your chatlist. Whenever there’s a new chat which you want to lock, you can now long press to lock it rather than visiting the chat’s settings.”

Secret Code could come in handy this holiday season if you’re planning a surprise party or a big gift for someone who regularly uses your phone and you don’t want them to see what you have planned. You may also just not want your personal chats to be seen if your phone is on your desk at work or if you hand it to a friend to look at some photos, for example.

“Rolling out secret code to Chat Lock on WhatsApp so you can protect your chats with a unique password,” Mark Zuckerberg said on his WhatsApp Channel. “Now you can set your locked chats to only appear when you type the secret code in the search bar, so no one can unintentionally discover your most private conversations.”


WhatsApp, which is owned by Meta, the firm that also owns Facebook and Instagram, said researchers had also highlighted the importance of such privacy features being widely available for vulnerable people. Secret Code might turn up on your phone today, but for most it will be available globally in the coming months. Go and update your WhatsApp app in the app store to see if you have the new version yet.

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