How WhatsApp two-step verification works

WhatsApp recently launched two-factor authentication in the stable version of its smartphone app after beta testing it for three months.

“Two-step verification is an optional feature that adds more security to your account,” said WhatsApp.

“When you have two-step verification enabled, any attempt to verify your phone number on WhatsApp must be accompanied by the six-digit passcode that you created using this feature.”

  • To enable two-step verification, open WhatsApp > Settings > Account > Two-step verification > Enable. Type a 6-digit passcode and enter an email address (optional).

The optional email address lets you disable two-factor authentication in case you forget your passcode.

WhatsApp warned that it does not verify the email address to confirm its accuracy.

“If you receive an email to disable two-step verification, but did not request this, do not click on the link. Someone could be attempting to verify your phone number on WhatsApp.”

To help you remember your passcode, WhatsApp said it will periodically ask you to enter it. There is no option to disable this without disabling two-step verification.

Time delays

To ensure that a number cannot be permanently locked out of WhatsApp if someone stops using it, WhatsApp implemented timeout periods.

You will not be able to reverify on WhatsApp within 7 days of last using the service without your passcode, or without disabling two-step verification over email.

After 7 days, your number will be permitted to reverify on WhatsApp without your passcode, but you will lose all pending messages upon reverifying.

If your number is reverified on WhatsApp after 30 days of last using WhatsApp, and without your passcode, your account will be deleted and a new one will be created upon successfully reverifying.

WhatsApp two-step verification enabling

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How WhatsApp two-step verification works