Millions of people around the UK use Facebook Messenger for chatting with mates, family members and romantic partners.
But like many apps, if someone gets into your phone then there’s no way to stop them opening it up and having a scroll through your messages.
Thankfully, Facebook appears to have realised its users may crave a little more security for their conversations. The company has pushed out an update to Messenger called App Lock that adds an extra layer of protection.
Simply put, it engages the biometric security settings of your phone to open the app. So, if you use an iPhone with FaceID, the same security can be added to Messenger. If you’re an Android user with a fingerprint scanner, then you can use that instead.
‘App Lock lets you add another layer of security to your private messages and helps prevent other people from accessing them,’ said Facebook’s Jay Sullivan.
‘This optional feature gives you the confidence to know that if a friend or family member needs to borrow your phone, they won’t be able to access your chats.’
At the moment, the feature is only available for the iOS (iPhone) version of the app, but Facebook confirmed the Android option will be arriving ‘in the coming months’.
How to turn on App Lock in Facebook Messenger
Make sure you’ve got the latest version of Facebook Messenger installed on your iPhone. To do that, check under your profile in the App Store where you’ll be able to see if the app needs upgrading.
Once that’s taken care of, open the Facebook Messenger app and go into the new Privacy Settings option. In there is where you’ll find the option to toggle on App Lock.
The app will then automatically apply whichever security method (FaceID or TouchID) you usually use to unlock your phone to the app.
More changes in the future
Facebook says it will be adding more changes to Messenger further down the line.
‘People tell us that they want more controls over their inbox and calls,’ the company explained.
‘This will be similar to the work we have partnered with Instagram on, and we’ll share more details when we starting testing these controls.’
Some of the options users will have access to include deciding who can call or message you directly and who gets funnelled into your requests folder. There will also be the option to block people from calling or messaging you at all.
Messages sent into your requests folder will also have any images blurred by default. That means you can choose whether or not to view pictures sent from a stranger.
We can think of many, many occasions when this will be extremely helpful.
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