Facebook Messenger could soon add Face ID support to protect your conversations from nosy neighbors.
The feature would prevent access to Messenger until it is first unlocked with your face. It seems like a useful addition to the app for the security-conscious, but it’s still in development for now.
Facebook Messenger currently relies on your iPhone’s security protections to keep your conversations private. If someone happens to discover your passcode, then, they also have access to your messages.
It seems Facebook is planning an extra level of protection that will allow users to lock the Messenger app with Face ID — and presumably Touch ID on older devices.
Facebook Messenger to get Face ID support?
Developer Jane Manchun Wong discovered references to Face ID support hidden within an existing Messenger build. The screenshot below explains how it might work, and reveals some security options.
Facebook Messenger is working on "Face ID" app lock
It can be enabled right after the user leave Messenger or after a duration
It seems Face ID will NOT be sent to, or stored by Facebook’s servers, according to the description shown in the screenshot pic.twitter.com/pqBQAjOrnd
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) January 23, 2020
“When enabled, you will need to use Face ID to unlock the app,” the description reads. “You can still replay [sic] to messages from notifications and answer calls if the app is locked.”
The lock can be applied immediately after Messenger is closed, one minute later, 15 minutes later or one hour later. Facebook is also keen to mention that your Face ID data “is not transmitted to or stored by Facebook, Inc.”
It’s not ready yet
Wong actually discovered the screenshot in the Android version of Messenger — despite the mention of Face ID. But it’s obviously in the early stages of development (that explains the typo). That means there’s no guarantee the feature will ever make its way into a public Messenger build. Still, many users likely would welcome an extra level of protection for their messages.
We’ll need to wait and see what future versions of Facebook Messenger bring. We contacted Facebook for comment and will update this post if we get a response.