WhatsApp’s new ‘secret codes’ add an extra layer of privacy for your locked chats

WhatsApp is rolling out a new “secret codes” feature that adds another layer of privacy to your locked conversations on the messaging platform. The app launched locked chats earlier this year to help people hide sensitive conversations, and is now adding a way to further protect those chats and make them harder to find if someone has access to your phone.

Instead of having all of your locked chats displayed in a folder, you can now choose to hide them behind a password that is different from what you use to unlock your phone. Your secret code can include letters, numbers, special characters and emojis. If you hide the locked chats folder from your chatlist, they can then only be discovered by typing your secret code in the search bar. The idea behind the feature is to prevent people who have access to your phone from even knowing you have a locked chats folder. 

“Rolling out secret code to Chat Lock on WhatsApp so you can protect your chats with a unique password,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today 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.”

It’s worth noting that you don’t have to use a secret code, and can still choose to have your locked chats appear in your chatlist if you would like.

Secret codes start rolling out today, and will be available globally in the coming months.

WhatsApp rolled out Chat Lock back in May to let users lock chats and put them in their own folder that can only be accessed with your device password, face ID or fingerprint. At the time, Meta said it planned to allow users to create a custom password for their chats so they could use a unique password different from the one they use for their phone. Now, six months later, the company has fulfilled its promise.

The launch of the new feature comes a few weeks after WhatsApp rolled out a new Discord-like voice chat feature for large groups called “Voice Chats.” The new feature is designed to be less disruptive than a group call, which rings every member in a group. Voice chats are started quietly without any ringing involved with an in-chat bubble that you tap to join.