WhatsApp today announced that it is rolling out two-step verification for all its 1.2 billion users across iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone. Not to be confused with end-to-end encryption, two-step verification will let WhatsApp users enhance the security of their account by adding an extra verification process during the setup process.
Right now, if you install WhatsApp on a new device, you simply need to enter your number and wait for an SMS for verification purposes. However, with two-step verification enabled, you will have to enter a six-digit passcode once your number is verified for additional security.
Unlike similar two-step verification systems, WhatsApp doesn’t generate these passcodes for you—each and every user is required to create their custom passcode for two-step verification. As a fallback mechanism, you can provide a rescue email address where WhatsApp will send you a link to disable two-step verification if you forget the passcode.
WhatsApp notes in its FAQ that if once two-step verification is enabled, users will not be allowed to reverify their number on WhatsApp within 7 days of last using the app without their passcode. This means that if you forget your six-digit passcode and did not provide an email ID to disable two-step verification, you will be locked out of your own WhatsApp account for 7 days. Additionally, to make sure that you remember you passcode, WhatsApp will periodically ask you to enter the six-digit passcode.
How to enable two-step verification on WhatsApp
1) Launch WhatsApp on your iOS device.
2) Tap the Settings tab at the bottom of the screen.
3) Tap Account → Two-Step Verification.
4) Tap Enable.
5) Create and confirm your six-digit passcode for two-step verification.
6) Now enter your optional rescue email address, then confirm it.
Tip: The system doesn’t verify your email for accuracy so be sure to type it properly.
You’re wholeheartedly recommended to provide a rescue email address so that you can disable the two-step verification feature if you ever forget your passcode.
IMPORTANT: Should you receive an email from WhatsApp containing a link to disable two-step verification, but did not request this, do not click on it because someone could be attempting to verify your phone number on WhatsApp.
7) Tap Done to finish setting up two-step verification.
Congratulations, your WhatsApp account is now protected with two-step verification!