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Facebook testing Face ID and Touch ID authentication for Messenger on iOS

Facebook Messenger on an iPhone XS
Facebook Messenger on an iPhone XS (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Facebook is testing improved security on iOS.
  • It's looking to add support for Touch ID and Face ID to Messenger.
  • Users would need to unlock their Messenger app separately from their phones.

Facebook is reportedly testing the use of Face ID and Touch ID as a means to make its iOS Messenger App more secure.

According to Engadget:

Facebook is testing a new feature for Messenger that allows users to better protect their messages from prying eyes. When enabled, users will need to authenticate their identity using Face ID, Touch ID, or their passcode before they can view their inbox, even if their phone is already unlocked. (The feature relies on your device's security settings, so however you unlock your phone normally is how you'll unlock the Messenger app.) You can also set a designated period of time after leaving the app for when you'll need to re-authenticate.

Facebook Face Id

Facebook Face Id (Image credit: Facebook)

Screenshots reveal that users would be able to toggle the new security feature on or off and that you can choose the timing of the feature from the following options; 'After I leave Messenger', '1 minute after leaving', '15 minutes after leaving', 1 hour after leaving'. The feature is being tested amongst "a small percentage of Messenger's iOS users' but could soon be available more widely, as well on Android. Facebook says it wants to "give people more choices and controls to protect their private messages." Users would still be able to respond to messages directly from their notifications and answer calls whilst the Messenger app is locked. Facebook also notes that no Face ID or Touch ID info is transmitted to or stored by Facebook.

If you had the choice, would you secure your Facebook Messages with an extra layer of security on iOS?

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.