How to Set Up WhatsApp Passkeys and Go Passwordless Today

WhatsApp has added support for passkeys to its Android app. Here's how to set up and use the new security feature right away.

Following hot on the heels of Google’s recent introduction of passkeys, WhatsApp has revealed it too is now rolling out support for passkeys, with Android devices the first to get the new feature on the popular messaging app.

It’s another potential nail in the coffin for the humble password, with passkeys widely being hailed as the future of online account security. Their main advantage is that they’re considerably more user-friendly than traditional password security, which can easily become unmanageable given its increasingly complex demands.

Instead of complicated alphanumeric combinations, passkeys promise to let you log in to your accounts with nothing more than your face, fingerprint, or a physical mobile device. It means you’ll be able to access your messages more quickly than ever, so let’s take a look at how to setup passkeys on WhatsApp for Android. We’ll update this guide to include other platforms as the functionality becomes available.

How To Set Up Passkeys on WhatsApp for Android

Surfshark logo🔎 Want to browse the web privately? 🌎 Or appear as if you're in another country?
Get a huge 86% off Surfshark with this special offer.See deal button

WhatsApp, the widely used messaging platform owned by Meta, announced that it was phasing in passkeys on X (formerly Twitter). Independent user reports indicate that the new passwordless security feature is up and running for select users.  If that’s you, or you want to find out if you’ve got support yet, here’s how to setup passkeys on WhatsApp for Android.

  1. Ensure you are logged in to your Google account and have a lock screen enabled
  2. Open WhatsApp on your Android phone
  3. Navigate to Settings > Passkeys
  4. Select “Create Passkeys”
  5. Follow the instructions to connect your phone’s lock screen to WhatsApp
  6. Choose what type of new passkey to create: PIN, fingerprint, or facial recognition

A final caveat that the you’ll need to be using an Android device running Android 9 or above. Your mileage with biometric security will also vary depending on your device, so if you don’t get the option for facial recognition (for example) that’s probably because you don’t have a compatible handset.

A screenshot of WhatsApp introducing passkey security to its Androind app

WhatsApp adds that it is rolling out passkey support over the coming “weeks and months,” so if you don’t see the option to create a passkey in WhatsApp, don’t worry: your number probably just hasn’t been called yet.

How Do Passkeys on WhatsApp Actually Work?

As we’ve mentioned, passkey security works by utilizing the biometric sensors that are integrated into many current smartphones, or harnessing a preset PIN number on your handset. This data is stored locally (e.g. physically) on your cell or other mobile device, so your authentication is “secured” by the fact you have to be in possession of the hardware to successfully complete the log-in process.

They are an alternative to the long, often absurdly complicated passwords that are required to secure all manner of online accounts and services these days – measures that have now gone so far, they’ve spawned a highly successful spoof in The Password Game.

If you go off the idea, then you can easily revert to using a traditional password on WhatsApp and other platforms that now offer passkey security. However, you might be like us and quite excited about the prospect of a passwordless future, even if we’re not quite ready to announce its total demise just yet.

Are Passkeys the Future of Online Security?

Google and WhatsApp are two of the biggest names to have joined the passwordless revolution, while the likes of Apple and Microsoft have also committed to creating a new online security standard based around passkeys. You may also have encountered the option to setup passkeys on platforms like eBay and Uber.

As such, there’s little doubt that passkeys are part of the future of online security. However, it’s important not to overestimate their promise, as many online accounts will still almost certainly require 2FA (two-factor authentication), especially for work and business users.

Here, passkeys can potentially supplant the password element in two-factor security, while stopping short of replacing the 2FA process entirely. While passkey technology continues to take root, it’s still good general advice to use one of the best password managers if you want to simplify your online security whilst ensuring you stay on right side of best practice.

Did you find this article helpful? Click on one of the following buttons
We're so happy you liked! Get more delivered to your inbox just like it.

We're sorry this article didn't help you today – we welcome feedback, so if there's any way you feel we could improve our content, please email us at

Written by:
James Laird is a technology journalist with 10+ years experience working on some of the world's biggest websites. These include TechRadar, Trusted Reviews, Lifehacker, Gizmodo and The Sun, as well as industry-specific titles such as ITProPortal. His particular areas of interest and expertise are cyber security, VPNs and general hardware.
Explore More See all news
Back to top
close Building a Website? We've tested and rated Wix as the best website builder you can choose – try it yourself for free Try Wix today