WhatsApp’s two-step verification: here’s how to enable it

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Without much fanfare, Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp has rolled out its two-step verification system for users on both Android and iOS.

But what does that mean? Well, for one, it brings WhatsApp’s security in line with the likes of Google, Apple and Microsoft — three companies who already support the system on their services and devices. Moreover, it will also be a lot harder for baddies to gain access to your account.

WhatsApp explains that it will remain an optional feature, that users can switch on if they so desire. But we recommend you do.

How to enable WhatsApp’s two-step verification system

It can be found by heading over to the app’s Settings menu, then Account, tap on Two-step Verification, and finally tap Enable. You’ll be prompted to fill in a six-digit verification code twice. We suggest you write this number down just in case.

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If you don’t quite fancy leaving parchment with your precious codes in your house or office, the company offers another solution.

“Upon enabling this feature, you can also optionally enter your email address,” WhatsApp explains. “This email address will allow WhatsApp to send you a link via email to disable two-step verification in case you ever forget your six-digit passcode, and also to help safeguard your account.

As a bit of a concern, WhatsApp states that it doesn’t verify the mailing address — so you’ll have to ensure that you type in your correct one.

Like your passcode, you’ll be prompted to fill the mailing address in twice, to avoid errors.

And that’s all there is. The next time you login to WhatsApp on another device you’ll be prompted for the code.

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You can however disable it if you’re finding it to be too much trouble, or change the email address or passcode once. But you’ll need to either use your registered email address, or your original passcode.

Words of warning

Although two-step authentication is a step in the right direction for the service in terms of user privacy, you can also lock yourself out of your own account.

If you forget your six-digit pin and neglect to add a mailing address to the system, “you will not be permitted to reverify on WhatsApp within 7 days of last using WhatsApp,” the company explains.

“After these 7 days, your number will be permitted to reverify on WhatsApp without your passcode, but you will lose all pending messages upon reverifying – they will be deleted.”

If you neglect to reverify your account after 30 days, your account will be deleted by the service.

The app will ask you to use your six-digit code “periodically” to ensure that you remember it — a feature that cannot be disabled. So keep that in mind too.

The feature is now available on Android, iOS and Windows.

Andy Walker, former editor


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