How to Lock a Chat on WhatsApp

Key Takeaways

  • To lock a WhatsApp chat, open settings an individual, tap “Chat Lock,” then turn the toggle on. Keep in mind that device authentication like fingerprint or face ID must be set up before you can use the Chat Lock feature.
  • You’ll find your locked chats in a separate folder. To open the locked chats, swipe down on the WhatsApp Chat home screen and select the “Locked Chats” folder, and you’ll be asked to confirm your identity.

You value your online privacy as much as offline, and why WhatsApp has features like end-to-end message encryption to protect your data while you are online. But what if you leave your phone unattended? Prying eyes might want to spy on your chats or even steal your data. Here’s how you can protect yourself with a chat lock.

What is WhatsApp’s Chat Lock?

In May 2023, WhatsApp introduced the Chat Lock feature. This feature lets you secure your chats with a fingerprint or face ID. It forces you to verify yourself before opening or replying to those chats. When you lock a chat, it will go to a different “Locked Chats” folder at the top of your chat list. You will see simplified message notifications for these chats; the message content and the contact name will remain hidden.

To be clear, WhatsApp’s Chat Lock is different from the app lock feature, which lets you lock the entire app with a fingerprint or face ID. With the app lock enabled, you can still see the notification content and contact name for all regular chats. But you will see only the notification for locked chats, while the notification content and chat name remain hidden.

WhatsApp’s Chat Lock is also different from WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption feature, which serves a different purpose. Chat Lock protects your chats from unauthorized access on your device. Meanwhile, end-to-end encryption protects your chats from being intercepted or accessed by third parties on the network. Chat Lock lets you secure your chats with a PIN, fingerprint, or face ID so that only you can open them on your device. End-to-end encryption ensures that your messages and calls are only readable or audible by you and the person you are talking to.

How to Lock a Chat on WhatsApp

The Chat Lock feature is available for both Android and iPhone. To use Chat Lock, first set up fingerprint or face authentication in your smartphone’s settings. Also, make sure the latest version of the WhatsApp application is installed.

With all of that confirmed, open WhatsApp and select the chat you want to secure.

A list of chats on the WhatsApp mobile app and an individual chat is selected

Then, tap the name of the contact to open chat settings.

A WhatsApp chat is opened and an individual chat settings are opened

Scroll down and tap on Chat Lock.

Chat lock button along with other individual chat settings

Toggle the “Lock this chat with fingerprint” button in the case of Android, and for iPhone toggle the “Lock This Chat With Face ID” button.

The chat lock button is turned off inside the chat lock settings

Tap OK and confirm your device password (fingerprint) or face ID.

A popup to get permission to lock a chat

You will see a message, “This chat is now locked.” To access the lock chat folder, tap on “View.”

A popup that describes the chat is locked and gives the option to view all locked chats

Repeat these steps for any other chat that you want to lock.

To lock archived chats, first unarchive them. WhatsApp doesn’t support the Chat Lock feature for chats currently in your archive.

How to Lock a WhatsApp Group Chat

Like a normal chat, you can also lock a group chat on WhatsApp. But remember, there are some differences when you secure a group chat.

The group Chat Lock feature is limited to your smartphone. You can lock or unlock a group chat only for yourself—not for the rest of the group. Also, the other group members won’t know that you have locked a chat.

To secure a group chat, open the conversation, and then tap on the group name.

WhatsApp group chat is opened in the WhatsApp chat application

From group settings, tap on the Chat Lock option.

Group settings are opened which shows the chat lock option

Toggle the Chat Lock button to enable this option for the respective group.

Toggle button for chat lock inside the chat lock settings

Even if a group chat is locked, you will still receive calls showing the caller’s identity and group name. But for group messages, you will not be able to see the message content or sender name until you unlock the group chat.

How to View Locked Chats on WhatsApp

To view your locked chats on WhatsApp, you need to access the Locked Chats folder at the top of your chat list.

First, open WhatsApp and swipe down from the top of the chat list.

Representation of a swipe-down gesture on the WhatsApp Chats menu

Now select the Locked Chats folder. After that, confirm your identity using a fingerprint or face ID.

A Locked Chat folder popping up

Tap on any chat that you want to view or send messages.

All locked WhatsApp chats inside the chat lock folder

How to Turn Off WhatsApp Chat Lock

If you want to turn off WhatsApp Chat Lock for any chat, you can do so by following the below steps:

From the locked chat folder, open the chat that you want to unlock. Next, tap on the contact name or group name to access the chat setting.

All WhatsApp-locked chats are listed.

Select the “Chat Lock” option.

An individual WhatsApp chat settings with a chat lock option enabled

Toggle off “Lock this chat with fingerprint” or “Lock this chat with face ID”.

The Toggle button is enabled for chat lock

Verify your phone fingerprint or face ID to unlock the locked chat.

Limitations of WhatsApp Chat Lock

Chat Lock is a handy feature in WhatsApp. But it does come with some important restrictions you should be aware of. First, if you use WhatsApp on more than one device, you won’t be able to lock your chats on those additional devices. This feature only works on your phone. Secondly, the Chat Lock only works for individual chats and group chats. It does not lock broadcast lists and status updates.

After locking a chat on WhatsApp, the media content in that chat will not be saved to your phone’s gallery. To save media from the locked chat, first remove them from the locked chat list.

Also, keep in mind that locked chats hide only the message notifications of that chat. Calls will still be visible, even if they are from a locked chat contact or group. Archive chats cannot be locked using Chat Lock, you will need to unarchive the chat first.

If you restore or back up your chat history to a new phone, your locked chats will remain locked. However, you must have device authentication (like fingerprint or Face ID) configured before you can access your locked chats.


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