WhatsApp is rolling out a new “secret codes” feature that adds another layer of privacy to your locked chats. The messaging app launched chat locking earlier this year to help people hide sensitive conversations, and now it’s adding a way to further protect those chats and make them harder to find if someone has access to your phone.
Instead of all your blocked chats appearing in a folder, you can now choose to hide them behind a different password than the one 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 chats list, they will only be discoverable by typing your secret code in the search bar. The idea behind this feature is to prevent people who have access to your phone from knowing that you have a locked chats folder.
“With a secret code you will now be able to set a unique password different from the one you use to unlock your phone to add an extra level of privacy for your locked chats,” WhatsApp explains in a blog post. “You will have the option to hide the locked chats folder from your chats list, so they will only be discoverable by typing the secret code in the search bar.”
It is worth noting that it is not essential that you use a secret code and that you can choose to have your blocked chats appear in your list of chats if you wish. The ability to add secret codes is being rolled out progressively as of this week and will be available worldwide in the coming months.
The release of the secret codes comes shortly after WhatsApp rolled out a new Discord-like voice chat feature for large groups called “audio chats.” The new feature is designed to be less annoying than group calls, which ring the mobile devices of everyone in a group. Audio chats start silently, with no notification sounds, appearing as a bubble in the chat that you can tap to join.